Monthly Archives: March 2009

Sunshine cleaning

There is no big drama in this movie. But this movie managed to touch the deepest spot of everyone’s heart. The content of the movie is something that everyone has in their lives, e.g. the feelings and emotions with your family members and being faced with life and death in your life.

Just watched the Counterfeiter the other night, which is a flawlessly executed movie. But it didn’t move me very much since I had expected everything from that kind of movie. I even started to suspect that movies don’t do with me anymore. However, Sunshine Cleaning is really not expected. Simple things, but managed to touch the deepest spot of the heart.

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No solid and separate entity as self

I heard of this expression a lot. When people talk about no self or no ego they often say it is because there is no solid and separate entity as self. It sounds like there are solid and separate entities of other things. If you want to talk about existence or non-existence, I can say nothing exists.

Actually I can argue that there is ego or self, because you have it.

Furthermore, if we speculate that every thought has material basis we can try to visualize every thought as a bubble that emerge from your mind. So the concept of self is like a bubble standing between your being and sense of perception. Because this separation, at that moment, you cannot hear the sound. Your ears heard of the sound. But you don’t.

So I am speculating that the concept of self actually has a material basis, which means it is actually real. But Buddhism says the self is not real. Buddhism insists so only because you don’t need that concept of self and it doesn’t do you any good.

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Relationship and Buddhism practice

Listened to the talk given by Purna Steinitz of the Trimurti Ashram in the IDP.

Since he didn’t leave much time for asking questions, I didn’t get the chance to ask my question. But here you are.

First I want to make some modification to his definition of relationship. He said relationship is to observe the other being… I would like to change it to that relationship is to realize the other being IS yourself.

He put a lot of emphasis on practicing Buddhism in the relationship. Since Buddhism practice is about realizing your self, I would ask him to dive deeper into explaining how to practice realizing the self in the relationship. When do you have a self? When you don’t have self? He said in a relationship you still need to ask what you want. He also said it is after 10 (?) years of relationship he started to realize something different. What is it then?

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Driving all blames into one self–about absolute and relative

Heard of “Driving all blames into one self” in IDP discussion. If you are not there in the discussion, this might not make too much sense to you. Or it might.

This is a good case to illustrate the meaning of the absolute and the relative. Or what you called big mind and small mind. Actually I don’t like calling them big mind and small mind. Let’s just use absolute and relative.

When you know you are willing to take all the blames if it is needed, that is the absolute. But when do you need to take blames and when you shouldn’t? That is the relative. You have to figure it out in different situations. This is the human context. You have to learn it in the human context. How do you learn it? You have to use your self to learn it. So you use your self to engage in a dynamic process. Since you rely on your self, it is easy for people to generate the illusion of self (details of how the illusion of self is generated skipped here). After the illusion of self is generated, it blocks you from perceiving the absolute. You start to have concerns of yourself. Then what do you do? You do your sitting meditation, going back to the absolute, to what you already know. After you get up from the cushion, you engage in the dynamic life process again. You repeat this over and over again. This is Buddhism practice.

This is just a very simplified description of the process to give you the idea. You can apply absolute and relative to all human situations. So if you keep this in mind, we can explain more based on this as we study Buddhism.

To give another example of absolute and relative, It is like when I was trying to teach Buddhism in China. I had to adjust the teaching according to their way of thinking. Generally speaking, Chinese are very direct. They don’t rely much on knowledge construct. As long as they get it, it is ok. Westerners, however, are very different. Westerners tend to start with knowledge construct, trying to classify things into different categories. So even you give them the direct experience, later they still have the strong tendency of wanting to put that into some kind of theory framework. Thus Buddhism is always the same. But to teach these different people, I have to adjust the methods. While I was in China, I also have to push myself to use their languages. The language constructs are also very different in different cultures. I have to find what is already in their language construct and culture to base the teaching on. Coming back to US, again I need to adjust to the more theoretic approach that westerners are used to.

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