Monthly Archives: September 2009

How to treat family life

Family life is a big part of human life. Every culture has to deal with it. From my experience, family life is a problem in both the west and the east. It is hard to have a normal mind about it. In the west, if I understand it correctly, it is called Family Baggage. In the east, there is no such a word. It is pretty hard to come up with such a word in a Confucius culture.

Chinese culture make the family life too heavy. Because of Confucius, it is deeply rooted in Chinese mindset that young people have to respect their elders, which often implies the elders don’t need to respect the young people. In China, human relations are heavily burdened by this state sponsored and reinforced human relationship hierarchy.

Coming back to China, re-entering family life, I treat everyone as friends including my parents and other family members. They are friends of my life that I happen to have chances to stay more time with. Strangers on the street are also my friends. But they are friends I haven’t had a chance to know more of or stay more time with. I treat them equally as friends.  I help them equally. If strangers on the street happen to need more time from me, I will give more time to them. This renewed way of living the family life has been working really well. The artificially imposed Confucius values are slowly dissolved and true human relationship is emerging.

Since my childhood, I have been questioning the parental love. I always feel if parents really love their children, they should show more patience. So I was expecting more patience. Otherwise, parents are just giving birth to offspring and raise them just for their own sake. I also think the relation between parents and kids should be like friends. It should be equal.

Now it is the time for me to manifest how to be a son. It is my time to show the patience. I am the one who has a lot more knowledge. I should have more patience in communicating that knowledge to my parents.

When I came back last time in January, it gave me a little surprise when I re-entered family life after many years. But i was able to realize quickly what this was about and knew the antidote was to treat everyone as friends.

When I was in the states, i didn’t quite connect to my friends who were talking or complaining about their hardship in their families. I was quite distant from the family life and has been so for quite a long time. So it was hard for me to connect to them.

The true nature of human relationship is equality or we can call it friendship. However, Confucius, in its teaching of family values and hierarchy, doesn’t recognize the equality of human relations.

Buddhism teaches treating every man as your father and every woman as your mother. This is to dissolve the burden of the concept of father or mother and go back to the equality of human relations. Buddhism also teaches treating every stranger as your friend. This is also to dissolve the self-imposed barrier to equality and the truth.

I can also tell you everyone is your stranger. You have to do everything by yourself. How do you manifest everyone is a stranger? How do you manifest everyone is your friend and there is no stranger? You can be friends with everyone.

True friendship is what we are doing together in this world. True friendship is communication. When you treat everyone as a friend, you can get rid of the family baggage, and maybe for the first time, you will realize what it means to have friends in this world and how wonderful it is to do things with friends together.

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My spoof of Mandala

myspaceThis is mandala of how I live my life.
Surely Zen is at the center of everything.

Then there are those things that I practice everyday. They are the kind of things that allows me to do things efficiently and effectively during a day. For example, Daily Activity (morning to night) includes the practice of Killing myself in the early morning. English (language, dynamic) is the basic skills of how to interact with society dynamically. E-life is to use web to improve productivity and social interaction in term of learning and playing.

Then is the layer of a few concrete projects that I am working on everyday. These are like my jobs. I have to continuously make progress in them. These are my major activities. OSL is Open Source Learning. CCC is Cross Culture Communication.

Outside of my major activities, are things that I learn extensively. After I finish my work in my major activities, if I find extra time I will try to engage myself in some more extensive learning. But I don’t feel pressured that I have to continuously make progress in them.

Note: surely I need to improve on my drawing skills.

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How to kill yourself in the early morning

When you get up in the early morning, more or less you had some dream in your sleep. Since a self is already generated, some efforts are needed to kill that self.

Once get up, wake up. Once wake up, get up. Try to be awake and do things fast after you get up. Do things nicely and fast. Don’t make any decisions. You can leave those decisions until later. Keep things simple. Brush your teeth and get ready for the day.

We human being live in a limited form. So this kind of daily practice is important in keeping us awake and reaching perfection. As I grow up and keep gaining experience with human life, I developed my ways to keep myself efficient and energetic throughout the whole day. The first time I went to a Zen monastery, I felt very excited there because everything there is the same as how I figured out how to live my daily life. A lot of people complain about the various rules in the monastery. I feel like home. The Zen monastery, to me, is not a place to escape from life, but a place to teach you how to live your life. The ways of sleep, eat, work, and so on are all consistent with how I live my life in the human world. For example, I only sleep 6 hours a day and get up very early in the morning. Through my life, I have figured out this as the most efficient way for me. 6 hours is minimum for me. If I go lower than 6 hours, I will feel my energy drained slowly over a long period of time. But with 6 hours of sleep, I can do that for years. (Later I learned that scientifically 6 hours is a minimum: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep#Optimal_amount_in_humans).

Killing yourself in the early morning will get you started for a good day of work. It is part of Buddhism practice to learn how to kill your self when you see it. After you kill yourself, you still need to rely on your feels to do the activities in your life. Those feels are your true self. Or we can call them love.

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