THE WISDOM DIMENSIONS OF WEST AND EAST

I. A first cultural assumption in the Modern West is the belief in individualism --  the notion that
            the part is prior to the whole.

    A first cultural assumption in the East (and also among traditional peoples and ancient West) is that
            the whole is prior to the parts.
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II. A second cultural assumption in the (ancient and modern) West concerns a notion of
        time and progress and the virtue of striving.

  A second cultural assumption in the (ancient and modern) East concerns a notion of
        surface and depth and the virtue of letting go.

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Analysis in terms of


                                               IDEAL                           DEFECT                              REMEDY

        WEST:

A) Imagery:              In-the-Garden                  Out-of-the-Garden             Return to Garden
                                             state                                    state                                            state

                    Story from Genesis is shared by the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam
 

B) Language:             What OUGHT  --                   What " IS" --                           STRIVING
in modern                            TO BE                                                                     (when pathological)
 times                                                                                                                          Time and Steps
"OUGHT vs. IS"                                                                                                           (when balanced)
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                                        IDEAL                                DEFECT                                REMEDY
                                What "ought to be"                    is situated in                                is taken to
                              is projected into future                        present                                be a form of
                                                                                                                                        striving
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                                      IDEAL                                   DEFECT                                      REMEDY

EAST:

A) Imagery:                Being Awake                          Being Asleep                                 Waking Up

            Story is that of Gotama Siddhartha who became the Buddha -- the One who Awakened
 

B) Language:
                                What IS -- present              What IS -- present                               Letting Go
a double IS --             at the DEPTH                  at the SURFACE                                    of sole
small-minded vs.                                                                                                            identification with
large-minded way                                                                                                                    surface
of relating                                                                                                                      (when unbalanced,
                                                                                                                                           the "letting go"
                                                                                                                                          is a kind of mushy
                                                                                                                                            "go with flow"

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                                                        TWO ANCIENT MASTERS

        Lao Tzu (the Old Master)                                        K’ung Tzu (Master K’ung)
        reputed author of the                                             whom we know as Confucius
          Tao Te Ching or                                                     author of the Analects
    Classic of the Power of the Way                             and preserver of the ancient
                                                                                                    Chinese classics

        It is said: Everyone is a Confucian in his or her public life and a Taoist in retirement.

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        THE WAY OF LAO TZU                                                THE WAY OF K'UNG TZU

    The Way of Nature and Wilderness                                 The Way of the City and Culture

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                                                                    Insight:
                How to move beyond revenge or "tit for tat" action-reaction

            Return to one's                                                                         Seek a
            original nature (pu)                                                            common culture

    Learn from nature's rhythms                                     Learn from the virtue of the ancients

    Practice Wei Wu Wei =                                                 Act as Chün-tzu -- the noble
    acting without producing                                                 or large-minded person
    adverse reaction                                                            not as Hsiao-jen -- the
                                                                                            non-noble, small-minded person
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                                                        Nature of the Path

        DIS-IDENTIFICATION                                                     RE-IDENTIFICATION
    from the artificial/ conventional                                             with the best ideals of the
            and a return to nature                                                              common culture
            which involves                                                                           which involves
    a process of simplification                                                     an awakening of aspiration
            (radical letting go)                                                                 (becoming large minded)

     Giving up desires and giving                                                 Giving to others the example
       up concern for the views of                                                             of humane conduct;
                  others                                                                              goodness shaped by
         (becoming like a fool)                                                                   ritual/ ceremony
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                                                        Reality Grounding

            NATURE                                                                         FIVE RELATIONSHIPS

            Think of                                                                                Leader-Follower
            cycles                                                                     (+ other relations in world beyond family)
                of
        Day and Night                                                               Father/Mother - Daughter/Son
        Moon’s Phases                                                                            Husband-Wife
        Seasons of Year                                                        Elder to Younger Brother/Sister

                                                                                                                                                    Friend-Friend

                Think of                                                                                 Think of the
            energy manifest in                                                             central social virtues of
    Martial Arts or Acupuncture                                             Filial Piety & Brotherly/Sisterly Regard
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                        Still, both are sages and, as such, both have a place for YIN and YANG.

                        YIN as the downward and inward movement of meditative stillness;
                        YANG as the upward and outward movement of service in the world.

                What we find in examining the two sages is a difference in foreground and background.

                                LaoTzu places                                                K’ung Tzu places

                        Sagely Stillness in Foreground                 Sovereign Service in Foreground
                        Sovereign Service in Background                 Sagely Stillness in Background
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