July 30, 2015

Sign Of Narrow Mindedness

Sign of narrow mindedness: disbelieve something just because you don't understand it.

July 25, 2015

Difference Between Children And Adults

Costa Rica children
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Children are comfortable with their ignorance, adults are not.

July 17, 2015

Do We Really See What We See?

Long time ago, a young man paid a visit to a Zen master, asking for truth. The master welcomed young man by some tea: he poured tea from tea pot into tea cup. When the cup was full, he continued pouring, so tea overflowed. The young man asked: "The cup is full, why are you still pouring?" Answered the master: "You are right. If the cup is full, I would not be able to pour fresh tea in. Same as our heads, if they are full, now new ideas could be put in. So, do you have an empty head?"

This is a legendary tale in Zen history. In life I realized, so often our existing beliefs or knowledge would not only prevent us from learning new knowledge, as this Zen story implies, they also distort our observation. Some time we think we saw "fact", but we barely saw what we wanted to see. How I took this photo of gas light lamp is a perfect example:

One day I drove past an apartment gate I saw two gas light lamps hanging on each side of the stone gate wall. I decided to go back to take some pictures of them. In my memory, the frames of lamps were all black, and I was glad because the contrast between black lamp frames and stone gray background would make a perfect image. So I went back the second day with camera. To my disappointment, the lamp frames were not black, but steel gray, and they didn't make good contrast against background as I anticipated. I wonder if the dust on lamp surface make lamps looked gray, but after I checked I found that's not true, because it was rained earlier, the surface of lamps were perfectly clean. But why I remembered they were black? Then in a flash of moment I realized why: because all gas light lamps in my memory were black! That's why! That's how my "knowledge" distorted my observation: I "knew" gas light lamps were dark colored so I "saw" dark colored gas light lamps.

So this experience reminded me the Zen story of tea cup. I think the inspiration of this story is invaluable to human intelligence, that is, only when we empty our mind, put what we think we already knew aside, can we have fresh minds and eyes for truth.

July 16, 2015

"God Is Just" - A Truth Or An Excuse Of Selfishness

I say "God is just" is another convenient excuse for practice of selfishness, because if God is just, why do we have to help the poor? That's God's will!

Another argument for religious people on this subject would be, letting some people to be poor so others can help them is one of God's lesson, or "design", in order to let people to learn kindness. Really? How about those helpless, those who died in pain, suffering without cure? And is the lesson of kindness really worth thousands, millions sacrifices of life? Would those who were burned alive agree that their excruciating pain (actually I doubt "excruciating" is enough to describe how they felt) was a means used by God to educate others? If so, I would say this God is either unspeakably cruel, or incredibly dumb. Or both.

July 13, 2015


For the practice of (conscious or unconscious) selfishness, what is more convenient than being indifferent to others' suffering, is to deny the existence of it.