Monthly Archives: August 2007

About Sitting Meditation: what is waking up

If we say sitting meditation is to wake up. Then what is waking up? When do you feel you are not awake?

Below is just my take on this:

I feel not awake when I forgot my past experience. For example, friends are very important to me. I spend my whole life making friends. But sometimes I forget my experiences of friendship. We often forgot our past important experience. When we realize that, we ask ourselves why we got lost again. Another example is that I told myself that I will never be afraid of taking any pain. But sometimes I forget that.

I feel lost when I realize I forget the basic truth that I am going to die. I am not intimate with the fact that I am going to die. When I am intimate with that fact, I feel awake, and I can take on any hardship, and do what I feel is really important for me no matter how difficult it is.

I feel lost when I am not at the present moment. I feel awake when I am fully aware the full dimensions of the current space. Abstract things, no matter how good or how right they are, are still abstract. The details at the current moment is what matters, and is really fun. We are often afraid of death, afraid that we cannot listen and see anymore. But when we are alive, are we listening? Are we seeing? True seeing is to see with your whole body.

I feel lost when I feel that I forget the big things and get trapped in many small things.

To be the present moment is to play. Being intimate with past experience is to remember the experience of friendship and love. Being intimate with the death is to work hard, enjoy every moment of life, and be intimate with life. Be at the present moment, and enjoy the details of the thing you are doing. When you really play, you are awake. When you play, you have to be totally awake.

When you play, you find the same peace you have in sitting meditation. Totally awake.


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More about space

Space within, use the space within to follow the space activity outside. That is the space people can feel most strongly. Feel the joy of this space.

But each of us are limited. We need to use other space around this small personal self. Then we become bigger. To grow bigger, in a sense, is to learn to make the outside space inside, part of Me, to claim the space that we originally belong to.
See with your whole body

Learning and space.

Just do what you are doing now. There are a lot of dimensions to pay attention to the current space. Learning, however, focuses on one dimension from multiple space. Too much learning will ignore all the rich dimension of the present space, and thus lose the whole purpose and essence of learning.Compulsory schooling, is to make people lose touch with the present space.

Some places’ walking meditation is more about building space of themselves. While in other places, walking in step is to practice doing group activities, e.g. using our inner space to follow the bigger space the inner space is in. We use a different time to build the personal space. We do need personal space. That is why solitude experience is important. Sometimes we need to be alone. But we also need to interact with others, to go out.
space, culture, common space, make outside space inside.

Emotions are the response to the space.
When no thinking, the response is compassion, your true self.
Anger, desire… always have some thinking involved in the response to space, thus illusionary

Layer by layer: strong feel of space, jumping around

(To be revised.)

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Software like buildings

Columbia has quite some beautiful buildings. I got inspired by them and felt it quite applies to software as well.

When I look at those buildings, I know instantly that there are a lot of complexity there. But I feel very comfortable looking at the whole. Just a glimpse, I know what is going on there. I feel very comfortable to look at the whole and then look at each part to appreciate the beauty and how the complexity is put together. The whole building gives me a very consistent feeling.

I feel software should be like this. Even though there is a lot of complexity, software should be made to allow the complexity to be comfortable accommodated, just like looking at the beautiful buildings.

Most modern buildings, however, you know there is not much complexity there with just a glimpse.

Of course, there are a lot of simpler construct in Columbia that are simple, concise and beautiful. For example, the street lamps, the benches. Everything flows naturally on these simple things. When they don’t have to have a lot of complexity, they stay simple and beautiful.

This applies to the viewing of web interface for webapps. It also applies to the viewing of source code. With the source code, we often rely on IDE to show the structure of the code beautifully. Sometimes we also rely on some simple figures to show the overall construct of the code.

Of course, in software, all these tied into the object oriented programming.

Not just software, I feel human organizations should also be like this. It is all about space.

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Pick up girls in Barnes & Noble

Do people start to pick up girls in Barnes& Noble? Is this becoming a trend or something? Last weekend, I just stood in B&N for one hour and I heard two instance of guys trying to pick up girls.
One of the conversation ended like this:

The guy: we should get a cup of coffee sometime.

The girl: oh, I have a boyfriend.

The guy: oh, you can get your boyfriend, and I will get my girlfriend, and we can have coffee together.

I was laughing. All my lung, stomach, and intestines were exploded into pieces. Sorry, a little exaggerating.

When I told my coworker who just broke up with his girlfriend recently, he told me that his friends actually suggested him to go to B&N to pick up girls.

I googled Barnes & Noble pick up girl. B&N does seems a hot place for some people to pick up girls.

If you want to know which section these happened, it was in the philosophy section of B&N. BTW, I don’t read philosophy at all. Way past that a long time ago.

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Eric Cartman Gone Wild

For people having a hard time acknowledging people like Hitler has Buddha nature, you can think of Hilter as Eric Cartman gone wild.

South Park is fun.

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Immigrants and English

All this “immigrants have to speak English” thing, I definitely support it. I also think to support this initiative, US government should allow foreigners to be able to stay in US for at least one year without having to work here. Thus they will have free time to study English. All our time is fully spent building a better America. We really don’t have time to study English.

It seems to me that Americans didn’t pay attention to the immigrants speaking their own language and how they had suffered not able to speak English, until one day they found that there was a large group of Spanish speaking people in US speaking a language Americans cannot understand. Then Americans freaked out and started talking about immigrants having to speak English.

It is really not we don’t want to learn English. It is also not that we are too old to learn English. It is just we are too busy building a better America that we don’t have time to study English. America has to give us free time to study English if America wants us to speak English.

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About desire

The topic of discussion in theIDProject these weeks is about desire.

I have no desire to write this article. But I am happy to.

For me, it is very simple. I am only doing three things in my life: learn, play, and create. But Mahayana practice means to understand other people and to help them. So I need to play with the context here.

Desire is OK. I guess I have a very strong desire. For me, life is too short, and I like playing so much. Thus I was decided at a very young age to strive hard to get the most of my life. So if I was too much occupied with Coffee, for example, I will miss a lot of other wonderful things (quote). Coffee is just a too small thing for me to focus on. If I have to focus on something (a lot of times we need this because we need to work within a space), I would like that thing to be something big, that can combine many other aspects of my life together, can allow me to connect with many other people, and it needs to be something that is big enough and challenging enough for me to spend my whole life in. That is something I call the art of life, and I believe everyone should find his/her art of life. Coffee is too small to consume my whole life with.

One guy mentioned his conflicting mind on making goals for himself because he felt setting a high goal for himself making him ignoring other people’s needs. This is a tough guy and has a strong drive. As one grows, one will realize that to grow bigger one has to help other people to achieve themselves. That is what makes oneself bigger. So the real high goals should be making other people happy. And he is in that position to be able to make other people happy (If I heard correctly, he is the boss of his company). Many people want to help other people, but are not in the position to be able to help a lot of people. He is already in that position. As what is said, can one just save himself without saving other people? Can one just save other people without saving himself? If making other people happy actually makes you happy, why would you say they are not you?

My brother is now helping a childhood friend to pursue his singing potential. It is amazing to see how much time and efforts my brother put into this to help this friend. Sometime in our lives, we will realize that we want to help other people achieve their dreams. Likewise, if we work hard and have talents, we also want other people to cheer for us. That is a lot of fun. When we do that, we grow bigger.

In Buddhism, we say that the origin of the universe is the pitch darkness. There was nothing. It was totally emptiness. (Attention, I said total emptiness) (It was said that the westerners don’t like to hear this. What the heck! From my experience with the westerners, I think the westerners are very much truth-loving people. Anything, as long as it is truth, has endless beauty.) Out of that original source arise many things, including ourselves. When something rises from Zero, it is always the result of plus and minus opposing force working together. When you have desire, you recognize yourself, and your recognize the outside world that you are interacting with. This is plus. As plus arises, the minus follows immediately, which means this recognized self is at the same time in connection with everything else and one with everything else. Only by recognizing both plus and minus force, can we use our body to follow the flow, to help all other beings. When we do that, because human being have feelings, we can say we are really playing, or we can say we are really in love. Love is this experience with our original source. When you are really playing or you are in love, you lose yourself and you become the space. And that is your true self. Living as the space is your true happiness. This is a very brief summary of the emptiness and plus and minus. I will talk about this more in the future posts.

Understanding this and conduct our daily life according to it is something I call spirit of being rational (or any better expression?). Being rational means doing what you should do at the moment instead of being dragged around by the desires. Deeply you know that is what you want to do, and if you don’t do that you will regret and feel lost and not awake, and mostly importantly only by doing what you should do at the moment, can you grow.

People who are attached to desire often mistakes this body as their body. Actually this body is not their body. When you sit in great pain, you can still keep your consciousness very clear. So this body is not your body. Then what is your true body? If you can put down your thinking self in your meditation, you will see clearly your true body. And that is the source of your happiness. So don’t be attached to desire. It poisons your mind.

Whatever your desire, the bottom line is: do no harm to other people.

The group discussions in theIDProject always help me understand more of Americans and get into context here. Otherwise I will only have the very abstract things left in my memory. For this, I owe them big. And this post is for them. It is a lot of fun to get back into rich context. Actually living is all about those details.

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