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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1 Comment

Filed under Chan/Zen

One response to “Driving all blames into one self–about absolute and relative

  1. ellen9

    Nice! I like this discussion.
    I agree that Westerners like to have the organization or classification system clear in their mind, then slot incoming knowledge and/or experience into it.
    Very good to try to turn that around – have the experience w/o worrying about classifying it first.

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