Carefree in Minimalist’s Life

“The tailor bird builds her nest in deep woods,
she uses no more than one branch.”
Chuang Tzu

Bird

“The mole drinks off the river,
it can only fill one belly.”
Chuang Tzu

mole.jpg

Live with less,
then you can live with loss.

Autumn.jpg Wang Shu
Carefree
Take a light walk leisurely in autumn,
looking for what?
Wild winds blow in its own nature
with many wonder words.
Keep your heart carefree
to discover true meaning.
Love beyond material things,
then you’ll know the minimalist’s life.

Lone Boat.jpgWang Shu

Lone Boat
Everyone engages
in social life with passion.
Why not aspire
to seize gallantly
a lone boat,
reflect in leisure,
the deep green waters.

treesWang Shu

Red vs Green
If the red hot dusty world
can be less than the greenery,
that is happiness and harmony
for the universe.
But people all love
the red hot habit reaction,
they have become more and more
fanatic in rallying,
shouting “Communist Red”
and “Nationalist Red”.
Why not have fresh breeze
gently blows
and everywhere is luxuriant growth
dyed in vivid green.

Twilight.jpg Wang Shu
Worldly Status

Luck, whether chill or fervor,
rests in Heaven’s hands.
Wealth is transient and
not worth suffering for.
It does not matter who is poor
and despised in worldly status,
all end in a cup of dust.

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 will facilitate your appreciation for Chuang Tzu’s teachings.His poems are all in Chinese, some in German.

(To facilitate understanding of the western readers, I have taken liberty to excerpt from the poem“Slimming” and changed the title to “Lone Boat” as well as using “Communist Red”instead of “Orient Red” (a song of Mao’s Red China) and “National Red” instead of “Red all around the ground” (The highly  controversial national flag of Republic of China as the National Party is crumbling to pieces with pro-Taiwan- independence in power.”)

 

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Quotes on Life and Death

Our hearts cry for those who lost loved ones in Belgium’s terrorist attacks.May we all find consolation in Chuang Tzu’s teachings on death and loss.

“What we exhaust is the firewood,
it’s the fire that passes on.
It knows no end.”
(Chuang Tzu).

Candles

“Life and death is a matter of destiny,
just like day and night
is the law of the universe”.
(Chuang Tzu)

Yin Yang

“Let things change naturally
to cope with the unforeseeable change.
Go along with the change predestined. ”
(Chuang Tzu)

SeedlingWithered Branches

“Life and Death are One.”
(Chuang Tzu)
How would I know I wouldn’t regret longing to live after I die?
Chuang Tzu

“Everything has a reason for being so.”
(Chuang Tzu)
Violinist’s touching article on Four Weddings & a Funeral.http://bit.ly/1jqQNhB

violinist.jpg

“Nature gives us form,
belabors us with living,
eases us with old age
and lets us rest with death.
Therefore if life is good,
death is good as well.”
(Chuang Tzu)
http://bit.ly/1jqQNhB

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.

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.

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?

 

Tao in One, Two, Three

The characters  of the numbers one, two and three. are just one, two and three horizontal strokes. one two three.

Tao One Two ThreeTAO generates ONE (origin)
ONE (origin) generates TWO (poles)

Tao comes before the ONE origin of universe which gives rise to TWO polarities of feminine(yin) and masculine(yang) or negative and positive.

Yin Yang
TWO (poles) generate THREE (capacities)

The masculine gives rise to heaven and the feminine gives rise to earth. The masculine also gives rise to man and the feminine to woman; the two together make up mankind.

THREE (capacities) generate TEN THOUSAND things.

The THREE capacities of HEAVEN, EARTH and MAN
give rise to ALL existence in the universe.

Ten Thousand.png
ALL is depicted with the pictogram of TEN THOUSAND which is the drawing of a scorpion with infinite reproduction capacity. All existence is actually the two characters of “Ten Thousand” “Things” (See the pictogram of “Thing” which is actually made up of a drawing of cow and bird.)

Peace is blending TWO polarities into ONE and balancing the THREE capacities of Heaven, Earth and Man in harmony giving rise to the infinite.
ONE,TWO,THREE ! Freeasy Peace!

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.