Tao by Matsumoto

Practical uses

No Numbers

 

«Do Something!» was one of the most frequently used expressions in the twentieth century.


We did many things only because we had to do something.


Moving around and running about were considered virtuous. Even panicking was regarded somehow humane.


When you look at the condition of the earth, the history of the twentieth century, and the state of bodies and souls of human species, you might have to wonder «Do something!» did nothing but harm.


In the twenty first century, Lao Tzu's «Do nothing» might wake up from two and a half millennia's sleep and take the place of the most popular phrase. You never know.



We have always wanted to achieve something.


By achieving something, we can show that we are better than others.


Since the early age of six or seven, we have wanted to outscore other kids at school.


Receiving good grades and proudly presenting the report card to our parents is a human equivalent to a domesticated feline killing a mouse and bringing it in the mouth to his master.



Numbers are captivating beings.


From the scores on exams to Dow Jones Index, they seem to dominate us.


We want to have better numbers because we seem to respect people whose figures are superior to ours.


With a better number, is he a better person?


What does it mean "better", anyway?



In the world of «Do nothing», the more you think, the stupider you become.


The less you think, the closer you come to the transcendental wisdom.


In the state of no act, you are synchronised with it.


So-called "intellect" is the unnecessary filth of thought.


The more you acquire, the less freely you can think.


The best kid in the class will be the one who hands over his unwritten answer sheet to the teacher right after the start of the exam is announced.



Sono mama ni


Umare nagara no kokoro koso


Negawazu totemo hotoke narubeshi


そのままに うまれながらの心こそ ねがはずとても 仏なるべし



This is a Waka poem (a predecessor of Haiku) composed by Zen master Ikkyu(1394 - 1481).


It can be roughly translated as follows:



If your heart is as untouched as it was when you were born,


Precisely, it is Buddha,


Whether you want it to be or not.



Getting zero points and an F is not a shame at all.


On the contrary, it is something to be proud of if the word "pride" is not a pejorative. (It is, in fact. Pride is just a hindrance.)


If an adult, a matured being, had told you this when you were a kid struggling at school, what a relief it could have been!


An untouched and unanswered answer sheet is perfect.


It is like a ball park before the play ball or a football ground before the kick-off. Doesn't it look perfectly beautiful?



Then, others might say behind your back, "He is an idiot. He doesn't think anything at all".


How do you find this kind of remarks? Do they annoy you?


A little, probably. But, not any longer.


When someone makes a comment on your "limited" intelligence, it is rather a compliment than a criticism, in the world of Tao Te Ching.



In Chapter 48, Lao Tzu talks about "reducing".


You reduce your knowledge, limit your intelligence, and, eventually, get rid of your intellect. You make friends with nothingness.


If you find Oriental masters with an exotic name are too uninviting, you can ask a Francesco d'Assisi or a Prince Myshkin to lead your way.



We know it very well that, the more we think, the more confused we become.


Thanks to our day-to-day experiences, we doubt that a person with a high IQ test result always has a better answer in life.


Then, why don't we go a step farther and say, "Ignorant people are much smarter than the smart", like Oriental masters with a funny name.

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KEYWORDS

Heart, mind, and essence can be translated as Kokoro / Shin 心. The first two; heart and mind; are part of your hologram. "Learning Hannya is False Emptiness (=Kokuu 虚空, =hologram). False 虚 [ko / kyo] Emptiness 空 [kuu] is learning 学 [gaku] Hannya (=Absolute Wisdom) 般若. 学般若これ虚空なり。虚空は学般若なり。" (Makahannyaharamitsu 摩訶般若波羅蜜, Dogen's «Shobogenzo» 正法眼蔵)

-[Practical uses] Crazy Cloud - Ikkyu’s love poems.

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