From One to Eternity

One Ten Thousand.png

A horizontal stroke is the Chinese character “ONE”. It lies on the earth, the female symbol or Yin. When turned vertical, it is a man or masculine Yang. In ancient times, people tie a knot to represent ten and then the knot was flattened into a horizontal stroke to become the character “TEN”. Yin and yang together is perfect. There is a Chinese term “Ten Perfect, Ten Beautiful” meaning impeccable.

The pictogram of “Thousand” is an old man with very bent back to represent a hundred-year-old man on top of “Ten”. Thus ten centenarians would be a thousand.

One is the root for impeccable state and it evolves to thousands and then ten thousands to infinite numbers meaning all.

“All Things and I are One”
Chuang Tzu

Thousand Ancient

A horizontal and vertical “One” in Chinese character make “Ten”. A thousand is a centenarian over ten and the pictogram “ANCIENT” is made up of “ten” and “mouth” depicting stories passing through ten mouths or generations would be considered as ancient.

Su Shih is probably the best loved poet in the Chinese world past or present. His life stories are passed down through a thousand years and more than ten mouths. His poem of “ancient memories of Red Cliff” has a line lamenting how characters of millennium charm or “thousand years in ancient time of delightful wind and flowing stream”. In Chinese, “wind” and “stream” or “flow” are often used to describe men who can charm women into having affairs with them.Su Shih himself is also referred to as millennium charm

Metaphors of “Hundred”

Hundred

In ancient times, there were coins of a hundred in value. The pictogram of “Hundred” was  of “One” (a horizontal stroke) over a drawing of coin.

The characters of “hundred” and “ten thousand” would be the term “million” which is a hundred multplies by ten thousand.

Ten Thousand

Favoritism

“The hundred joints, the nine orifices (eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth, urinary tract and anus) and the six organs (liver, heart, spleen, lung and kidneys), they all exist in my body, which should I be closest to? Do you like them all the same? Is there a favorite one?”
Chuang Tzu

Small Minds, Big Minds

The cicada and the fledging dove laughed and said, “Once I decide to fly and I come across the elm or sandalwood, sometimes I don’t make it and fall on the ground. That’s all. Why bother to fly ninety thousand miles to the south? If we venture out into the wild, we just seek three meals and return.If you go for a hundred miles, you need to hull enough grain to stay the night. For a thousand miles, you have to gather enough grains for three months.” How can these two creatures know?
Chuang Tzu

Nine and No Fear in Original Nature

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In the beginning the ancestral folks used fingers and toes to count, they felt inconvenient after counting to ten. When they counted to nine they felt difficulty was approaching, therefore the shape of the pictogram was crooked and difficult to stretch out. The number of fingers and toes were running out. This was how the pictogram came about. See the fork representing the fingers and hand.

The Chinese character of “Nine” is similar to the somewhat crooked pictogram that evolved from the fork and highly bent hook.

The famous saying of “Nine Deaths One Alive” means nine chances of death and only one chance to live. It has the connotation of numerous or near death experience. The saying of “under nine springs” also means being dead and buried. Hell is “Nine-Level-Hell” and “Beyond Nine Heavens of Clouds” means rising above and forgetting it all.

“If one can preserve his original nature and be grounded in no fear, a single brave warrior can charge into nine troops like a hero.”
Chuang Tzu.

(Artwork “Roman Soldier vs Germanic Warrior” Peter Dennis
saved by Ornella on Pinterest.)warruirs.jpg

 

Parable of Seven

The Chinese character of “Seven” is like “Ten” except the lower half of the vertical stroke is bent. The pictogram “Seven” is an imperfect ten with the vertical stroke crooked at the bottom.

Seven and Ten

The parable of “Seven” Openings of Chuang Tzu

Change, Drama and Obscure were the names of emperors of the South Sea, North Sea and Center Terrain respectively. Change and Drama met at the land of Obscure who treated them very well. They wanted to repay his kindness and said to each other, “Man has seven openings to see, hear, drink, eat and breathe, but he does not. Let us try to bore out the openings for him.” They bored one opening each day, Obscure died on the seventh day.

“The true man uses not man’s mind to harm the Way, nor man’s way to help the Universe.” Chuang Tzu.

“FIVE” and “Mouth” make up “I”

The Character “Five” and “Mouth” constitute “I”, it is also the first character in a number of two-character surnames and is pronounced as “Wu”, a common Chinese surname, the same pronunciation as the ancient word for “I”.

The pictogram originally was five horizontal strokes and then evolved into a cross between two horizontal strokes.

So “I” have five mouths: a mouth to eat, talk, sing, yell or console.How do you want to use your mouth? What do you want your “I” to be?

Five and I.png

More on Zen Tao of Mouth“I Only Know Contentment”.

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.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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?