Still, Void & One

“Stillness in Motion:
Things come in motion,
stillness is developed.”
Chuang Tzu

waves.jpg

“The spirit awaits things to come to it in void.
Tao comes together in the void.
Mind fasting is being in the void.”
Chuang Tzu

“Void Room Illumines.”
Chuang Tzu

Void Room Illumines

“Tao Interchanges in One.”
Chuang Tzu

Tao Interchanges in One ArcherPoint’s ERP Tao.

“The sage harmonizes conflicts
and rest in the balanced Law of Nature;
this is called dual path. ”
Chuang Tzu

Law of Nature.jpg Vincent van Gogh

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity
but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”
Thomas Merton

snow mountain Wang Shu
Still Leisure, Void Illumined
Rest the heart with no fetters.
Soul and nature in art.
Let wild wind embraces body.
Watch thoughts in clouds.
where self knowledge and one’s nature are.

Cloud, Mountain, Water.jpg Wang Shu

Void Stillness
Unconcerned, pick a remote place,
A tranquil self at ease.
Retreat from worldly fetters in silent void,
intimate with tree and grass.
Poetic art can enlighten.
Fleeting life comes from my spirit.
See nothing in what comes and goes.
Know: experience innocence.

Chinese Mountains.jpgWang Shu

Nature’s Mind Image
Nature is a collection of amazing  poetry,
natural scenes bring wonders in love for art.
Transform harmony into mind image,
accommodate this life in void.

Wang Shu
(national artist of Austria, also taught Chinese philosophy in Germany)
Wang Shu is a dear friend who inspired me to embark on the long journey to study Taoist philosophy of Lao Tzu and then Chuang Tzu. Hope his art and poetry translated in English from Chinese facilitate your appreciation for Chuang Tzu’s teachings.All his poems are in Chinese but some in German.

Quotes on People

“Don’t ever push people too hard,
they respond with the ill-natured heart
and don’t even know how it comes about.
When they don’t know what they are doing,
how can they know the consequences?”
Chuang Tzu

Don't Push Too Hard

“Consumed by anger or joy
when nothing is lost in real terms.”
Chuang Tzu
Monkey Parables and Metaphor

anger.jpg

“Animals kill only when something goes against their nature.”
Chuang Tzu
Deal with Difficult People like the Tiger Feeder

No Different from Each Other

“Whether alike or different,
we still belong to a certain group,
and then we are really no different from each other.”
(Chuang Tzu)

Jane Goodall's quote
Jane Goodall

Carl Sagan.jpg
via More Trees Less Assholes

Thich Nhat Hahn’s “Please Call Me by My True Name” comes to mind with terrorists’ attacks in Belgium and Pakistan, the refugee children in Europe and the four-year-old girl decapitated by a random killer near a Taipei MRT.

“I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his ‘debt of blood’ to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.”
“I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda”.

Starving Children

Zen in Numbers (Four,Six, Eight)

The pictogram of the “Four” evolved from four horizontal strokes to a picture of mouth and nose connected,and then to mouth or square as radical and nose became the character of “Eight” representing divide. Air comes in and out of the mouth and nose divided by two nostrils.

FourSixEight

“Eight” can be divided into two “Four”s and “Four” can be divided into two “Two”s. The pictogram of “Six” looks like “Four” except for a dot on top. In the pictogram of “Six”,
the top part denotes an underground cave with a pathway’s lower base below. The pictogram evolved into the radical of “Eight” below with the cave evolved into a dot on top of a horizontal stroke.

Knife Divides

The character of “Knife” started out as a complete knife and then evolved into half a knife.

The pictogram of “Eight” has two strokes,one on each side. Eight can be divided into two fours and fours can be divided into two twos.

The character of “Divide” is made up of “Eight” and “Knife”. The pictogram shows the knife in the middle separating the two strokes.

Knife divides into two. Zen is “No Twos” or no duality of right and wrong, good and evil, gain or loss. One is the root in Tao. We are all one mankind in one universe.

Sengai Universe

The founding fathers of Zen, Bodhidharma and Huineng, both emphasized two characters: “No” and “TWO” (No Duality) and being “ONE” with all.The ultimate reality, is the circle above in Sengai’s universe, that is, the formless form in Tao. We generally hold a dichotomous view of existence, form and formless, object and subject, matter and spirit, and think they contradict each other and are mutually exclusive. Zen, however,is opposed to this view and holds that what is form is formless or empty, that is, they are identical.

The bodily existence is represented abaove by a triangle which symbolizes the human body in THREE aspects, physical, oral (or intellection), and mental (or spiritual).

Sengai stated that “Zen is …..direct and immediate and to the point without indulging in verbalism. Zen in this respect is the most effective medicinal drop for the eye that is still wandering on the level of intellection. It replaces this kind of eye with ……..the divine eye which looks directly into the secrets of the ultimate reality. The opening or awakening to this order is abrupt and beyond verbal demonstrations of any sort.”
So it is all empty, there is nothing!

The square is fabricated from two triangles. The FOUR sides of quadrangle in Sengai’s universe represents the objective world which is composed of the four great elements, earth, water, fire and air. Lao Tzu calls Tao,Man, Earth the Great Four in Tao Te Ching.

(Chuang Tzu uses the numbers of four, six and eight frequently in the Inner Chapters but it would be harder to understand without more involved explanations.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Science of Right & Wrong

Many years ago, it was my job to translate scientific papers into marketing communication literature disguised as health education initiatives leading a team of nurses turned marketers at Johnson & Johnson in Taiwan. Our target audience included expecting mothers, nurses, gynecologists and pediatricians in hospitals and clinics or young girls expecting menstruation, teachers and nurses in schools. The range of products included talcum powder, baby oil and shampoo or sanitary napkins and tampons.

The talcum lawsuit in the news brought back memories from a couple of decades ago and then I remember a documentary on Australian victims on hip replacement with products from a subsidiary of J&J. That was shocking since the credo was a big thing when I was working there. It was appalling that the orthopedic team  knew about the problems but “managed perception”. The following is a clip of the documentary “Walking Wounded”.

Elizabeth Holmes who founded the legendary startup of diagnostics had been a media darling for years until the recent problems erupted. Not only is it astounding to find that she has not even filed any patents or published any data on her hyped technology in scientific publications, but her lab does not even comply with government regulations.

Theranos-Fortune.jpg

“Right may not be right, being so may not be being so.” Chuang Tzu.

Biotech has been in the limelight in Taiwan since our new President-Elect selected a scientist trained in epidemiology-genomics at Johns Hopkins as  Vice-President to demonstrate her determination to promote the industry. Stocks of biotech companies had been rallying up and down but recently a star company’s value tumbled as their cancer drug did not meet the primary efficacy end point of progression-free survival in their clinical trial.

The value of another so called “biotech company” star (with a extremely expensive fermented soy extract product acquired from Japan) had increased in folds and the journalist founder made great profits selling his company to one of the richest and renowned businessmen in Taiwan. When he first started out decades ago I drafted the technical document with a mechanism I speculated for application patents, I left because I could not honestly go along with the clinical trials of efficacy claims for bacteremia, appetite and fatigue in chemotherapy.Many had called me a fool but even now that they are just upholding the appetite and fatigue claims I still consider the scientific evidence as flimsy. They still use the speculated mechanism in marketing without any further research to ascertain it.

One time I chased after a chemistry professor heading R&D for scientific papers supporting his cancer cure claims at another dietary supplement startup with fungal components until he felt so stressed out that he had a motorcycle accident. The founder of the company was a mechnical engineer with no bioscience knowledge, he was puzzled why no product materialized after four years and hired me for marketing, unfortunately upon review of the scientific papers the chemist finally produced there was no viable claims even from the marketing perspective let alone scientific merits.

A pesticide company spinned off a biotech start-up developing a microbial biopesticide, I was suddenly called to go on a business trip to China with a consultant evaluating field trials when the vice president with respectable experience in agricultural science was fired. The consultant was a retired field trial professional with many decades of experience at Monsanto. He considered my function as the corporate wallet to pay for wine and dine because of my marketing position but I was trained in plant pathology even though my experience had mostly been in labs and greenhouses on microbes or disease forecast. After visiting the fields and hearing how the commissioned agricultual scientists tweaked the experimental design and evaluation for the desired claims, I quit the job upon return to Taiwan.

Since then I had stayed away from any biotech ventures even after a couple of decades’ aspiration and attempts to get involve in Taiwan’s biotech development in private or public sector. When I hear the merge between Syngenta and ChemChina, the China field trial memories surfaced along with Monsanto ingenious breakthrough in marketing and science with seeds of evil from genetic engineering and patenting a couple of decades ago. Who has dominion over nature?

“Do not use man’s mind to harm Tao, or man’s way to help the Universe.”Chuang Tzu.

If even US has problems with its biotech giants and startups, how can we expect to develop the biotech industry properly with limited capital, talents and resources on the small island of Taiwan without the innovative strengths of Israel but most important of all integrity (in teachings of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu)?

 

Why Meditate?

“Mind Leveled, Why Meditate?
Actions upright, why keep precepts?”
(Huineng, Sixth Patriarch of Zen)

See character and pictogram of mind and heart. In Chinese, mind and heart are the same character. The second character of “leveled”, “equal” or “balanced” is actually made up of the character of “war”. The pictogram is a weapon, When the pointed ends of the weapon are inverted, it becomes a flat table where people can sit and communicate as equals with balanced minds. It is then the pictogram of leveled, equal or balanced.

Mind Levled
The character of “walk” can mean “conduct”, “actions” or “behavior”. The pictogram has a foot or leg on the right and left depicting walk.

Action Upright

The character or pictogram of “straight” is made up of an eye and a cross of a vertical and horizontal stroke to represent the eye assesses if the lines are straight or not, The curve below represent lines.

When one walks a straight path, his conduct, actions or behavior would be upright.

In Chuang Tzu‘s terms, a balanced mind is one of “Dual Path” that is “not engaged in being right but dwell in the common“. “Sit and Forget” so there is “No Self,No Merit, No Name” and “No Self-Interest“. “Fast the Mind” so it is “Clear as Morning” or “Void“. Being in the common or on dual path is to “harmonize right and wrong” in “One“. When you are “Void” and “One“, you can have “Peace amidst Chaos“.

“Integrity” in Taoist philosophy literally is depicted by its pictogram which  has the radical of “Walk” (the drawing of the left foot) and “Straight” depicted by its pictogram (except with the drawing of the eye turned ninty degrees so it’s on its side in the modern character ) above the “Heart”pictogram or drawing of a heart.

Walk Integrity.png

If you can void your mind of right and wrong so it is one with all and walk straight from the heart, you have a free easy mind. Why meditate or keep precepts?

 

Zen Tao in Language & Numbers

According to an article in Huffington Post about bilingual kids, conflict inhibition is thinking outside the rules, brain flexibility and problem-solving skills are developed in learning different languages. The ability to disregard the rules one learns in one language also applies to non-language tasks. In conflict inhibition, one has to ignore certain information.western kids learning Chinese numbers

Pictograms on numbers would be a good start to think outside of various language rules since numbers are universal. The photo above shows the Chinese characters from one to ten.(A series on Zen and Tao in pictogram numbers will be posted.)

Zen’s “Not founded in words” is not dependent or attached to words and symbols or concepts that are created by man merely to facilitate understanding.

“Language has never had any norms.For the sake of being right, there are limitations.” Chuang Tzu.

If language and conflict inhibition were indeed true, one would wonder about the Europeans or the highly educated who usually know many languages would be plagued by conflicts.