Yueya

Mair 2:6

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To use a finger as a metaphor for the nonfingerness of a finger is not as good as using nonfingerness as a metaphor for the nonfingerness of a finger. To use a horse as a metaphor for the nonhorseness of a horse is not as good as using nonhorseness as a metaphor for the nonhorseness of a horse. Heaven and earth are the same as a finger; the myriad things are the same as a horse. 

 

Affirmation lies in our affirming; denial lies in our denying. A way comes into being through our walking upon it; a thing is so because people say that it is. Why are things so? They are so because we declare them to be so. Why are things not so? They are not so because we declare them to be not so. All things are possessed of that which we may say is so; all things are possessed of that which we may affirm. There is no thing that is not so; there is no thing that is not affirmable. 

 

Thus, whether it be a tiny blade of grass or a mighty pillar, a hideous leper or beauteous Hsi Shih, no matter how peculiar or fantastic, through the Way they all become one. To split something up is to create something else; to create something is to destroy something else. But for things in general, there is neither creation nor destruction, for they all revert to join in Unity. 

 

Only the perceptive understand that all things join in Unity. For this reason they do not use things themselves but lodge in commonality….....It is all a result of their understanding the mutual dependence of "this" and "that." To have achieved this understanding but not be conscious of why it is so is called "The Way." 

 

To weary the spiritual intelligence by trying to unify things without knowing that they are already identical is called " three in the morning." Why is this called "three in the morning"?  Once upon a time, there was a monkey keeper who was feeding little chestnuts to his charges. "I'll give you three in the morning and four in the evening," he told them. All the monkeys were angry. 'All right, then," said the keeper, "I'll give you four in the morning and three in the evening. " All the monkeys were happy with this arrangement. Without adversely affecting either the name or the reality of the amount that he fed them, the keeper acted in accordance with the feelings of the monkeys. He too recognized the mutual dependence of "this" and " that." Consequently, the sage harmonizes the right and wrong of things and rests at the center of the celestial potter's wheel. This is called "dual procession. "

 

Notes:

nonhorseness of a horse:  These two paradoxes both derive from and are a critique of Master Kungsun Lung, who belonged to the School of Logicians. As originally formulated by the latter, they read as follows: "There is nothing that is not an index [of something else], but an index is not an index [of something else]" and "A white horse is not a horse." The word for "index" in the first paradox quite literally means "finger," as does the Latin root of the English word. As a verb, the same Chinese word means "to indicate" or "to point out." Thus the philosophical sense of "fingerness" in this passage is

"indexicality . "

 

 Hsi Shih:  A fabled beauty of old.

 

commonality:  The following two sentences appear somewhat garbled because they almost certainly are an old commentary that has crept into the text.

 

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I have always had a problem with this section.  I see contradiction.

 

The (myriad) Ten Thousand Things are not the same.  That is why they are called "The Ten Thousand Things".

 

A horse is not a finger.  And a white horse is still a horse.

 

And while it is true that all things are born out of and return to Mystery (Wu) while these things are on the state of the Manifest (Yo) they each are one of the Ten Thousand Things.

 

I think that last sentence should read:  "This is called "dual perspective.""

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I think Zhuang Zhou would concur with Jung when he writes……..

 

“The writing lies before you and always says the same, if you believe in words. But if you believe in things in whose places only words stand, you never come to the end. And yet you must go an endless road, since life flows not only down a finite path but also an infinite one. But the unbounded makes you anxious since the unbounded is fearful and your humanity rebels against it. Consequently you seek limits and restraints so that you do not lose yourself, tumbling into infinity. Restraint becomes imperative for you. You cry out for the word which has one meaning and no other, so that you escape boundless ambiguity. The word becomes your God, since it protects you from the countless possibilities of interpretation. The word is protective magic against the daimons of the unending, which tear at your soul and want to scatter you to the winds. You are saved if you can say at last: that is that and only that. You speak the magic word, and the limitless is finally banished. Because of that men seek and make words.  He who breaks the wall of words overthrows Gods and defiles temples.” 

 

From The Red Book,  C G Jung

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This is ZZ's pet peeve: the things are not definable through their category. You can not  say a finger is a finger, because it is a non-informative statement.

 

Nor can you describe a horse, since without seeing one first, you will not recognize it from description alone.

 

ZZ says that all things are defined by what they are not. Only then the universal puzzle will complete itself into one commonality.

Edited by Taoist Texts
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On 8-8-2016 at 10:24 PM, Yueya said:
To weary the spiritual intelligence by trying to unify things without knowing that they are already identical is called " three in the morning." Why is this called "three in the morning"?  Once upon a time, there was a monkey keeper who was feeding little chestnuts to his charges. "I'll give you three in the morning and four in the evening," he told them. All the monkeys were angry. 'All right, then," said the keeper, "I'll give you four in the morning and three in the evening. " All the monkeys were happy with this arrangement. Without adversely affecting either the name or the reality of the amount that he fed them, the keeper acted in accordance with the feelings of the monkeys. He too recognized the mutual dependence of "this" and " that." Consequently, the sage harmonizes the right and wrong of things and rests at the center of the celestial potter's wheel. This is called "dual procession. "

 

 

What is this? A method for fooling the ignorant, or a method for fooling oneself because sub specie aeternitatis it doesn't matter what happens? The problem with this is that we don't live forever so that it does matter to us what happens in our finite life's. How does this "dual procession" work in actual practice?

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Fair questions.  I will wait to see if anyone else wishes to engage them.  If no one responds bring it back active and I will give it a shot.

 

 

 

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I too have trouble with this particular passage of ZZ. I like a good paradox as much as the next guy ... but these sorts of negation word games lead me to nothing ... they don't seem to advance any argument or understanding. Feel the same way about Zen koans. I would probably have to take up Buddhist philosophy to understand where these things are supposed to lead us.

 

I do appreciate the pieces revolving around the unity of all things. That makes sense to me.

 

I cannot take the point of view that it doesn't matter what happens in our lives, as suggested by Wandelaar, if I understood him right. I can see how wrestling with these kind of paradoxes can lead one in frustration to abandon them and conclude it does not matter. But I find that risky thinking. Leads all too easily to all sorts of notions ... fatalism, nihilism ... which in turn can lead to self justification of anything one wishes to do. This is all too common today.

 

They are beyond me.

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Same problem with me. I can appreciate a viewpoint that transcends ones limited individual perspective (such as in mystical experiences), but I fail to see how one could act from such a viewpoint. There is no objective reason why one should care more about ones own well being than about the well being of anybody else, or why one should care more about the situation today than about the situation tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, or whether you live or die. Or whatever.  As you say, it could easily lead to fatalism, nihilism, and the like.

 

One somehow has to return to normal day to day living while at the same time keeping to the experience of unity with the Tao. Looks like a delicate psychological feat to accomplish.

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