Monthly Archives: January 2008

Comments on the summary of learning

As I look back at the summary of learning I wrote 8 years ago, I feel I can understand it better now with my current knowledge.

In the summary of learning, a lot of emphasis is put on the feels (of space). When I was preparing for the Math exam intensively, I was thinking logically in a fast way and I learned the true function of the brain (or the thinking part). Thus I know for most other things in life (when I don’t need to do mathematical thinking) is not about thinking, but about feeling the space. Understanding this, I know better how to use my body and have a strong base of feels of space. So when you are not thinking, relax your brain, just work on your body, not your brain.

When you feel the breakthrough point, you also need to do some routine work to keep the feelings stronger instead of rushing ahead to have newer feels. You need some time to stabilize your feels and finally internalize the breakthrough. After some time you will feel you cannot progress as fast as before. Then is the stage for looking for the next breakthrough.

With good feels of space, it is much easier to find the breakthrough point (or the boundary), which if you work on can make you progress in neck breaking speed. To gain a better feel of space, many methods can be used. For example, a clear and operable goal or a project that can give you feedbacks on; a beautiful and quiet place where you can be with yourself and with your whole life experience; and meditation. In this sense, meditation is really about no thinking. Meditation is about just feeling the space, which is before the world of language and thinking arise and is beyond the world of language. Meditation is about just experiencing.


1 Comment

Filed under Chan/Zen, Learning, What is Learning

Obama doesn’t have audacity and he doesn’t offer any hope

Obama is not a true pacifist. He is not a real humanitarianist. If you are a peace organization and tend to endorse or campaign for Obama, I think one question is worth considering: will Obama change the situation of Military Industry Complex in US, which make huge profits from robbing American people and killing many people around the world and is the biggest factor of global instability and the biggest threat to world peace? Or more likely Obama will sleep in bed with those Military Industry Complex, and continue the killing of innocent people around the world and add more young people to the killing machine created by the Military Industry Complex.

As Gravel said, the worst thing you can do is to raise the expectation high and cannot deliver it. People will be more disappointed when he failed his promise. In this sense, Obama is the worst of the Democratic candidates.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Thoughts

Less posts recently

I was doing less posting recently, because I was making another effort to take on English. I need to put in a lot of efforts to make many breakthroughs in many aspects and many layers and internalize them within one or two months. This is my top priority right now. So there is no time to sit down to write long articles. But I still keep notes every day. If I have time, I might just post many very short ones. This will probably go on for two more months.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Thoughts

Comments on Think and Grow Rich

I think I got this book from my brother. After rushing through it (I didn’t read every chapter), here is what I think.

Generally speaking, the book author had done quite a lot of research on many greatly successful people. So even though I have different take on each of those steps, I agree those steps have a lot of factual basis, and pretty much summarize the important traits that made those people successful. So this book can be used as a very good checklist of abilities you need develop if you want to have a successful life.

I first read the chapter 11, the Mystery of Sex Transmutation. I recognize the phenomena that the author is describing here, and agree with the author’s highest praise for people possessing this capability. From Buddhism’s perspective, the so called Sex Transmutation can be understood very clearly in a very deep level. Briefly, it is about Buddha nature and love. I appreciate very much some scientific basis that the author is trying to provide. For example, people possessing this capability has a brain that operate on a highvibration of waves. I remember when I was in my last year of my undergraduate right before I came to the states, I arranged my weekly schedule like this: during the weekdays I was very much focused on my engineering project and study. I wasexercising my brain just like exercising my body with those math and engineering thinking methods. And I did it very focused and intensively. On the weekend, I will spend half a day browsing through all kinds of books in the bookstore, probably focusing on some subjects that I was focusing on in those weeks. Then I would spend half a day on Sunday in a beautifulscenery doing some free thinking. It worked marvelously well for me.

About the chapter Desire, I am not satisfied with the unrational explanation the author offered for the function of desire. Personally I would like a more rational explanation: the facts that so many great people achieve success with strong desires just show us the great potential of human being and how many opportunities you can pick up for your goal if you really focus on it, and because of that great potential if we focus on something in a certain period of time we are able to achieve great results that we probably dare not imagine conventionally. (This definitely applies to learning process as well). The evidences the author offered in the book just showed us how great that potential can be, which most people are not aware of. Another thing that I want to point out is that if you want to focus intensive on some goals over a long period of time, it is better to focus on some deeper goals instead superficial ones. I think in the process of pursuing your desire, people need to learn to discover more and more essential things, and have them as the desire in the process.

Yes, this is a book about thinking. For many people who think ALL THE TIME and unable to stop thinking and for people who passively talk about no thinking, this book is highly recommended. This book will teach you a lot about how to think better. A lot of people who talk about no thinking just don’t know how to think. A lot of people who think all the time and acknowledge thinking unconditionally don’t know how to think.

(to be continued)

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Thoughts

Life is colorful (English)

Note: The original Chinese version is here. I am not satisfied with the English version at all. I cannot feel well with English. The original Chinese version is very beautiful, and I am quite satisfied with it.

Life is colorful!

In my life, I have heard three most beautiful sentences. The first one is Life is Colorful. The second one is also this sentence. The third one is still this sentence. Even if I can forget all the sentences in the world, I will never forget this one.

I still remember you took a jump like a rabbit on the grass field. With that jump, you jumped into my heart. That is the most beautiful move I have seen in my life. Even if I can forget all other moves in the world, I will never forget that one.

In my time with you, you always gave me this kind of shocks, shaking me off all my hypocrisy, and bringing me back to my very existence itself.

“Existence”, now I think I can use this word to summarize my huge change these two years because of you. This is also the result of me trying to understand the meaning of “Life is colorful”. In these two years, you were like a great master, helping me to understand the meaning of this sentence through various angles on various levels. Before I could understand this sentence, I was afraid that I might give up striving hard after believing in this sentence. After I understood this sentence, however, I worked harder, and at the same time, I enjoyed the great happiness in the process, and never felt exhausted.

Because I started to understand, living in this world as a human being, there are probably only three things to do: grow (learn), have fun (play), and create.

Growing, just like all creatures grow, we also grow. But as human being, our growth is not only in term of body, but also in term of brain, e.g. to become smarter. Unlike the plants and animals, our bodies might stop growing and start weakening, but our brain can always keep growing. Understanding this, I don’t judge people by moral standard of good or bad anymore. Good people might not be able to good things. Smart people can actually do good things. I always say that my true nature is a gangster, and that I have to do some bad things occasionally. Otherwise, if I keep doing good things without doing bad things, I will be very imbalanced and might commit very bad things eventually.

Having fun, just like the plants enjoy the sunshine and the rain drops, we also need to enjoy the fun of life. Not only do we need to eat well and dress well, we also need to let our brains have fun, because the brain is the most advanced organ in the body to enjoy the fun. No matter what I do, it is not because of anything but because I like it. Just like when I was a kid, I was so deep into flying the kite, swimming, fishing. I think if there is any truth in this world, fun is the biggest truth. Please don’t tell me any kind of big ideas. As long as it is fun, it is the biggest idea. To enjoy the most advanced fun, we have to grow, to become smarter. Thus I have to work hard. But the process of hard working itself, is also full of endless fun.

Creation, the most fun, also needs the highest ability. Creation, I think is to connect knowledge in all different fields together, and find out that they are actually talking about the same thing. It is just some talk about it in an interesting way, some don’t.

Thus last semester, I was studying very efficiently. There is no exam, I don’t need to take courses, but this is a state of freedom, and I can make free choices. The question is whether I have the ability to make free choices. Throughout the whole semester, I was exploring how to study the most efficiently.

Finally, I found out that knowledge system can be divided into several domains. In each domain, it can be classified into various levels. Roughly speaking, it has three levels. At the bottom is the math and the physics thinking methods. In the middle level is the knowledge we learned in our majors. At the top level are various products and application of knowledge. It is the fundamental ideas in the bottom level that connect knowledge of different domains together. The knowledge in different levels are flowing everywhere. When they condense in a certain form of container, we have a subject or a product. The most efficient way of learning is to learn through doing a project (because it is best for understanding the knowledge), with the purpose of doing the project in the fastest and best way, through the means of systemic study and analyzing the flowing knowledge. Through one project after another, I can progress in different domains gradually. My thesis is my first project, and I got an excellence.

Everyday, looking at the knowledge flowing, continuously forming various subjects and products, it is really full of extreme happiness.

While I was applying for scholarship, I tried to build up mathematical models for various complex scenarios. It is really endless fun.

After the last time I called you in China, I had been through great ups and downs, great happiness and great sadness, and you missed all of them.

The dean wouldn’t allow me to quit the graduate school. To persuade her, I was forced to use my super power. I became super saiyan.

Sending classmates away, Zhe Da BME 95 doesn’t exist anymore. The party is over. Everyone was gone. Only I was left to watch the empty building.

Preparing for the visa interview and practicing oral English, I went on streets grabbing Americans to practice English with. On the day of interview, I spotted an American near the embassy, and wanted to grab him to practice my English. Later I found out that he is actually an official of the embassy.

Visa interview, I marched into the embassy singing the Whole River Red (Note: Man Jiang Hong, an ancient classic Chinese song by a famous general, a national hero). When I sang to “Feast on the flesh of the invaders. Laugh and chat and quench our thirst with Tartar blood“, I found my feeling. The visa official saw me, withdrew two steps immediately, asking me:” What… what do you want? ” At that moment, I saw from the window glasses that my eyes shooting out green lights. “I want to apply for a visa.” I said. “OK, OK, I give you visa. Here.” My visa application experience is the most smooth one among my classmates. Actually when I walked into the embassy I treated the visa officials like old friends, because I knew he would be the one who would give me the visa to let me go to America. When I saw that American official, immediately he reminded me young American guys I talked to in the English corners. So it is really like talking to old friends.

Going back to where I grew up, getting together with childhood friends again, my memory of my wonderful childhood is still very fresh. That kind of happiness disappeared since I went to middle school in the city. Until I went to college, until now, again I have that kind of happiness. At home, looking at me as a kid, and compare with the present me, I cannot believe if it is not you I can change so much.

I went to visit my most respectful Chinese teacher. He told me he always had a very high expectation of me because I gave him two impressions: the first is that I have a very high goal. The second is that I can take all kinds of pains and work very hard. I think, for the first one it is probably because I refuse death and mediocrity. And the second enables me to keep going beyond myself. In the past, I strived very hard and bitterly with these as my support, until you told me that life is colorful, and gave me great shocks through your natural flow of personality. Although I always try to go beyond myself, for this kind of change, if not for you, it would be almost impossible just through my own efforts. I think I am very lucky.

I had been trying very hard to understand the changes these two years and their causes. But it is really very hard. That is why I didn’t write a letter for a long time. Now I still cannot say I am able to see it very clearly. But I think I tried my best to truthfully write this letter.

I have learned so much from you. I believe I haven’t finished my study yet. I don’t want to drop out in the middle. I want to keep studying. Can I continue through distance learning? I want to get the graduation certificate and the degree certificate.

Talking about the graduation certificate, it reminds me of our graduation ceremony. In our stadium, bachelors, masters and ph.ds from four campus coming together, about 7000 graduates, forming a square (?), it is really awesome (?). It is the first time in Zhe Da’s history. After the ceremony, a classmate who missed it asked me what happened during the ceremony, I said that we all kept punching our fists into the air, and shouting loudly:”Qiu Shi Chuang Xin (Note: the motto of Zhe Da), unites the whole Jiang Hu (Note: if you watched Crouching Tiger and Hiding Dragon, you probably know what Jiang Hu means. :)), great president Pan, long live for ever.”

The photos were taken before we graduated. That was our last happy time together. The statue behind me is called “infinitely big”. I said that when I stood before that stature, it became “infinitely disgusting”. This is our dorm’s “Disgusting Culture”. Living in Zhe Da for 5 years, we become too bored and became spirits, and created the “Disgusting Culture” together.

The two super disgusting people in our dorm are “Heaven Disgusting Star” and “Guaranteed Disgusting Star”. “Guaranteed Disgusting Star” is a super pervert figure of our dorm. He can look at you with a smile on his face for several mins, and then speak gently: actually I am in love with you.

“Heaven Disgusting Star” has another nickname “Old Bull”. He has three super disgusting moves: singing, reciting poets, and reading English. With any move, the whole dorm will be immediately empty. But the last move has the most damaging power on me.

But they two always complain that although I don’t speak much, I am actually the most disgusting one. As for what I have said, I don’t want to reveal them here, for the fear of damaging my image. But I can let the Guaranteed Disgusting Star let out the loudest laugh at late night, and let the Heaven Disgusting Star (old bull) be sad for the whole night. That night, I was writing on Old Bull’s year book:

Taoists say bull can bull, not normal bull;
Buddhists say bull is not bull, named bull, thus is bull;
Christ says all bulls have sins, repent!
Archimedes’ herding bull problem challenged mathematicians of many centuries;
Even the great history of human arts started with drawing bulls;
Old Bull, my noble respect for you, is really like that mighty river that runs forever;
Old Bull answers: you can beat me, you can scold me, but you should never humiliate me.

Old Bull read my words on his year book, got sad for the whole night, saying he had no face to see people any more. Taking the advantage of writing the departing words on the year books, I humiliated all my classmates. But I dared not use heavy hands on the girls’ year books. They kept writing very sentimental words on my year book, making me feel very embarrassed. But at the last moment when we had to be apart, I finally couldn’t control myself any more, and became very sad. Do you understand? Throughout all these years of living together, although we had many conflicts, in the senior years, we all developed the mutual understanding, learned to tolerate and have fun with each other. After departing with them, I could seldom have that kind of fun with other people and say those interesting words, and never could go walk the bird with someone with nickname “Little Bird”, or go herd the cattle with someone called “Old Bull”. Don’t know the cry at our departure is for the friends’ departing, or for ourselves, for the ending of a time in our lives.

Last semester, I was very proud of being a fifth grade student on campus. I told people, there are two kinds of students who don’t know the direction on campus. One kind is the freshmen. You ask them for the direction. They will tell you:”Sorry, I am a freshmen. I don’t know.” The second kind is us 5th grade students. You ask us :”How to go to Dorm No. 7?” “Dorm No. 7? Let me think. … I don’t know. Wait a second, I live in Dorm No. 7. You can follow me.”

Now I become the first kind of students again. There are many things I need to learn, and cannot have that state of freedom of the 5th grade students. But I will work hard, because Life is Colorful!


Filed under Essay, Liberal Arts

Language, Culture, Human Brain, and Consciousness

Language, Culture, Human Brain, and Consciousness

Human being are social creatures. A large part of brain/mind is for social functions. In a foreign land, because of the language barrier, those functions are rarely carried out, thus those parts of brain rarely exercised, and might go into hibernation for a long time.

Even foreigners/immigrants choose to stay within their ethnic communities oversea, these communities don’t form a large society at all, thus lack many social functions the brain needs to develop itself socially.

As a foreigner, s/he cannot feel any more those things s/he used to feel strongly. S/he cannot continue the social learning/development of the brain/consciousness, thus cut off from the life path s/he has been on (whether s/he is consciously aware of it or not).

Unless the foreigner can fully embrace the new culture and overcome the language barrier, thus get in touch with those collective social functions (attributes of the social space), the foreigner cannot overcome herself/himself and continue her/his growth or worse, s/he gradually dies socially.

Yes, the brain needs to be used socially, thus many aspects of it can develop as a space. These strong feelings, after all, are experience of brain of the social space. For example, the experience of no thinking and just experiencing.

With the mother culture, the brain develops in an organic way as the person grows. After the language development stage, the brain starts to develop socially. Compared to the brain development during the language acquiring stage, which happens naturally and most people or all people are able to accomplish without a problem, this stage of brain social development takes extraordinary individual efforts, and most people are not able to develop this stage consciously and completely.  The compulsory schooling and various other crowd control techniques are adopted by the ruling class to intentionally restrain its development and thus for many many people, this stage of brain development is not very much started and thus they stay as very dependent and immature people.


Filed under Chan/Zen, Foreign Experience, unschooling