Author: cheok hong chuan
Date: 04-25-12 18:28
In a recent blog Tin-Kay said to me, amongst other things – “In the midst of all the contending religions and philosophies of Life, my view is that everyone has his own inclination and preference. After all, as the Japanese Hoku poets write with their last breaths, the sincerest view is one nearest death. Needless to say, I respect the Cheok Hong Chuan interpretation of Life, for only Hong Chuan can deeply understand his reasons. As for myself, I am resigned to be an Agnostic, for God is a personal matter beyond my true understanding.”
As both Tin-Kay and I and some of the other ‘seasoned’ forumites, might appreciate, we are no longer ‘young’, in the sense that we are closer to the end than from our date of birth! So, in that sense I, and presumably other ‘oldies’ as well, hope that our views are ‘sincerest’.
I like to take this opportunity to briefly explain my ‘interpretation’ of life or rather, should I say, the ‘modus operandi’ in how I interpret life.
I started like all or many others with a worldly mind, an intellectual mind, perhaps even a beautiful academic philosophical [at least in Socratic terms] life. Where I got lost was in my ‘ego’ of ‘self’ until I realised that only ‘life’ can interpret ‘life’. And even then an individual experience of life i.e. tainted with ‘ego’, cannot interpret life; as ‘life’ in general [without an ‘ego’ of ‘self’] can interpret ‘life’.
Like others I was learning by ‘rote’ in worldly terms and sense rather than by silent, passive, detached, contemplative and reflective spiritual observation; without bias, without pre-emptive notions, without concepts, without words, without critical or hypothetical analysis, without obsession, without objective, without desire for achievement or attainment.
I was reading the Bible in blind faith to the literal words. Christ was salvation! Obey the Ten Commandments etc. I did the same with Buddhism – the 5 Precepts and the 8-Fold Noble Path, Morality Wisdom and Meditation, Emptiness etc.; and with Taoism – Yin and Yang, 5 Elements, 5 Virtues, Essence and Sense, Stillness etc.
Years and years of practice got me nowhere but despair! Until, I finally got to the point where or when I suddenly realised; that nothing worldly, whether knowledge or being or human, can express the inconceivable. Words are just words, ideas are just ideas, notions are just notions, sign posts are just sign posts, pathways are just pathways, recipes are just recipes, manuals are just manuals, commandments are just commandments, tenets are just tenets! How many gets to Christian Sainthood, Buddha-hood or to be a Taoist Immortal? Mother Teresa? The 6th Patriarch? Lu Tung Pin?
For the rest of us, it comes down to a matter of actual true ‘heart and soul’ ‘practice’, whatever it is! How can you love God and yourself and your neighbour and your enemy in a Christian sense when you are still worldly in attachment and have a worldly ‘ego’ of ‘self’? How can you get anywhere in terms of Buddhist ‘Metta’ – ‘loving-kindness’ and actively helping others to ‘the other shore’ when you are sitting comatose under the banyan tree? The Buddhist concept of no ‘ego’ means that we are one and several with others; so what are we doing sitting ‘solo’ passively under the coconut tree, away from the community and divorced from ‘life’? How can you say that you are practising the Tao when the 1st stanza in the Tao Te Ching says that if you can conceptualise it, it is no longer the Tao. And yet we still go ahead inventing Taoist funereal rituals and techniques, Sun Tzu Art of War, I-Ching, without telling practitioners that they are all still ‘provisional’ worldly concepts subject to ‘wu-wei’ – action in non-action; which is incomprehensible unless you do not have an ‘ego’ of self’!
This is the dilemma! “you” have to ‘practise’; but you have to lose yourself [your ‘ego’] to find yourself [that is without an ‘ego’] to ‘attain’ or ‘achieve’. But when you so ‘achieve’ or ‘attain’, because there is no ‘ego’ of ‘self’, nothing is achieved or attained! That is understanding the God of Adam before the Fall of Adam and his ‘ego’! That is understanding the Emptiness of the Heart Sutra, of no birth, no death, no Nirvana! That is understanding Taoist ‘wu-wei’ and Taoist ‘being beyond the world while being in this world’