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.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

Sitting Meditation Zen

MEDITATION and NATURE

“Meditation: see the unmoving innate nature inwardly.” Huineng, Sixth Patriarch of Zen.

“The sage lets NATURE enlighten him and follow what is.” Chuang Tzu.
(Nature includes innate nature of living and nonliving things, self and others, people and circumstances or the nature of what is.)

“One who cultivates the unmoving state does not notice whether other people are right or wrong, good or bad, or whether they have other faults. It is UNMOVING in the INNATE NATURE.”Sixth Patriarch of Zen.”The mind’s thoughts do not arise with respect to any good or evil external state. That is what ‘sitting’ is.”

Meditation and Nature
“The Way is awakened from the mind. How could it be found in sitting?”
Huineng, Sixth Patriarch of Zen.

Sengai Frog

Eco-Spirituality & Science of Oneness

To illustrate teachings of Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu as well as Zen,the following is excerpted from
The Relationship between Science and Spirituality By Fritjof Capra on Monday February 15th, 2016

Ecology and spirituality

“We are deeply connected to nature. All living beings are members of ecological communities, bound together in networks of interdependencies. Connectedness, relationship, and interdependence are fundamental concepts of ecology; and also the essence of spiritual experience.”Fritjof Capra.

“Tao interconnects in One” Chuang Tzu. “All existence and I are one”science-spirituality_deep-ecology

“When we look at the world around us, we find that we are not thrown into chaos and randomness but are part of a great order, a grand symphony of life. We belong to the universe.We are members of the Earth Household, plants, animals, and microorganisms that form the vast network of relationships that we call the web of life.” Fritjof Capra.

“Heaven, Earth and I coexist (or arise together)” Chuang Tzu.

science-spirituality_web-of-life (1)

“we share two communities to which we all belong.
We are all members of humanity,
and we all belong to the global biosphere.” Fritjof Capra.

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

“Our body will not die but will live on, again and again, because life lives on.”Fritjof Capra.

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

Science, Spirituality and Religion

“The sense of oneness, which is the key characteristic of spiritual experience, is fully confirmed by the understanding of reality in contemporary science. While scientists try to explain natural phenomena, the purpose of a spiritual discipline is to facilitate experiences that will change a person’s self and way of life. Spirituality is a way of being grounded in a certain experience of reality that is independent of cultural and historical contexts.”Fritjof Capra.

“Religion is the the intellectual interpretation with words and concepts to understand spiritual experience or the sense of belonging as the source of moral guidelines for the religious community and celebrate the belonging in rituals.”Fritjof Capra.

“Whereas the Church Fathers repeatedly asserted the ineffable nature of religious experience and expressed their interpretations in terms of symbols and metaphors, the scholastic theologians formulated the Christian teachings in dogmatic language and required from the faithful to accept these formulations as the literal truth. Christian theology became more and more rigid and fundamentalist, devoid of authentic spirituality.”Fritjof Capra.

(Most people think Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism are religions with rituals and strict moralistic codes, but the teachings of Buddha ,Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu are more on way of life and spirituality.Confucianism has a lot of moral and ritual elements but not so much on spirituality, it is more a philosophy than religion.)

The Science and Spirituality in Zen and Tao

Chuang Tzu’s teachings of ONENESS are more eco-spirituality while Lao Tzu’s teachings of polarity are actually science of homeostasis or dynamic equilibrium in nature or universe applied to human practice that is called INTEGRITY. The concept of “Cause and Conditions” in Zen or  Chuang Tzu’s “Flow” and “Energy” are similar to the chemical reaction. Science strives to clearly define everything but may be proven wrong in future while Zen and Tao kept it ambiguous or unknown.The Second Law of Thermodynamics such as “nothing is created or destroyed” can be traced in Zen and Tao teachings. Zen and Tao are about nature, free and easy but Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism or Taoism are about rigid rituals or morality (Buddhism) and irrational immortality with alchemy (Taoism) mixed with folkloric supersition sometimes.

 

 

 

I only know contentment

May I offer you a contentment coin and a scoop of refreshing water from the contentment well. More on “I only know contentment”

I pictogram

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?

Only Pictogram
The character of “Only” is made up of “Mouth” and “Bird”. The “Bird” pictogram is literally the drawing of a short tail bird.

The bird only has one mouth, it eats very little.

Know Pictogram
“KNOW when to stop. That’s superb”. Chuang Tzu.

The character of “Man” on top of the character of “Big” constitute the character of “Arrow”. The character of “know” or “wits” is made up of “arrow” and “mouth”. Man who considers himself as big uses his mouth like an arrow. In other words, the person with a big ego talks sharply to hurt others.

The pictograms of “man” is a drawing of a body with a long arm and leg while “big” is a man with arms stretched out so he looks big. The drawing of a pointed end on a device for shooting an arrow is the “arrow” pictogram. The drawing of the mouth is obvious as the “mouth” pictogram.

In Buddhsim, mindfulness of body, speech and mind are very important in the practice.Zen practitioners have very few words, they eat and talk very little. Wits and knowing are key teachings of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu.

Remember not to use the mouth to talk like an arrow to hurt anyone.
Enough Pictogram

The character of “Enough” or “Foot” is made of “Mouth” and “Stop” or “Still”.
Interestingly the “Stop” or “Still” pictogram is a drawing of three toes representing the five toes.

The toes are still when our feet are still or stop. When we have enough food or material things, we stop our mouths whether it is eating or complaining.

Now all together.

i-only-know-enoughThe empty square in the middle represent the mouth. The pictogram on top is five and make up the character of “I” with the mouth below it. The “Bird” pictogram on the right make up the character of “Only” with the mouth on its left. The “Arrow” pictogram on the left make up the character of “Know” with the mouth on its right. At the bottom is the “Still” or “Stop” and make the character of “Enough” or “Foot” with the mouth on top.

Viola! “I only know enough.” May you be content!