His Life is Mine (Архимандрит Софроний (Сахаров))
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Just watch your breath. Notice everything without making judgement or any mental comment. Do not accept or reject anything arising in your mind or environment ex. Be gentle with yourself as you start stretching and strengthening your mind with brain exercise. Be compassionate. Be patient. In it are many meditations, visualizations, exercises and life-changing strategies to help your journey to wholeness. Practice 'watching your breath' I help you through a simple meditation, step-by-step. You CAN exercise your brain! It's spiritual fitness. As written as a theme throughout Doing a the book : "If I can do it Thanks for visiting.
Have fun traveling around my online home for transformation, going full-circle. In Oneness with Blessings, Rev. Dr Nancy. Ultimate Brain Exercise. Home What is ? Types of Meditation Alpha State Med. Visualization Design Med. The story of the religious view of Zhuangzi starts a century after Zhuangzi lived 4th century BC.
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Philosophical schools were closed, books burned and thought repressed during the superstitious Qin dynasty — BC which followed the classical period. It is in this account that the classification of thinkers into three concept schools, Daoist, Legalist, and School of Names first occurs. Graham speculates that the assumption of an affiliation of Zhuangzi to Laozi may have originated from the Outer Chapters. A cult of Huang-Lao, worshipping the Yellow emperor and Laozi as divinities, had grown up in the Qin.
The father and son historians were students of Huang-Lao masters. Neo-Daoist discussion practices and ideas were influential in bringing Buddhist and Chinese thought into interaction and Daoism became enmeshed with Buddhism in the popular view especially with Chinese Chan Buddhism. Neo-Confucians from the medieval period on treated Buddhism and Daoism as essentially similar religions.
This distinction was seen as pivoting on logic—the theory of proof or argument. They started to segregate their own writings which seemed most like argument, inference and logic from those sustained mainly by credulity and tradition.
They began to sort out the philosophical aspects of their traditional thought from its more religious and superstitious elements. This example encouraged 19th century intellectuals like Yan Fu — and Liang Qichao — They started to emphasize the ancient schools that more clearly related to the logical paradigms of Western philosophy and Mohist analytics. Hu Shih — continued this tradition of reconceiving and re-centering Chinese thought away from the Confucian scholasticism that had dominated since the decline of Buddhism. The early 20th century logic-inspired reformation recently began to influence the interpretation of the Zhuangzi and the Xunzi in the west, largely inspired by Angus Graham who had observed that both ancient texts demonstrated a mastery of the technical vocabulary of Mohist linguistic theory.
When we abandon the traditional identification of Zhuangzi as a Laozi follower, it opens the door for speculation about his relation to the relativist, linguistic theorist, Hui Shi, traditionally treated as belonging to the School of Names. If he was a teacher, he came to accept his student as an equal or even superior. Given the philosophically oriented venue of this article, what follows should not be treated as ecumenical.
The earliest version Confucius — BC traced normativity to earlier human invention. Metaphorical trails are left by past human walkings, i. A later version Mencius — BC focused on natural human psychology. The correct path is that to which our natural moral psychology inclines us.
Mencius may have been reacting to Mohism. Mozi — BC had earlier initiated a shift in focus to more natural and objective, less culturally relative way of grounding normative judgment. Ethical questions thus have a single correct answer in an ideally engineered and shared normative linguistic practice. Mohist utilitarian metaethics pointed to natural realism. We should forget or ignore all social norms and practices, including linguistic ones.
Utility perhaps egoistic utility does motivate our behavior as naturally as water follows the paths created by natural contours of earth. Language should not interfere in any way with this natural guiding interaction between us and the course es of nature. Understanding the Zhuangzi is made more difficult by the huge differences not only in the philosophical context, but in the pervasive metaphors that structure and focus discussions of norms of behavior in the Chinese vs Indo-European classical traditions.
The salient differences between the two traditions accounts of behavior are that the Chinese does not focus on sentential items actions, events, beliefs particularly as conclusions of belief plus desire mental arguments. Behaviorally, it amounts to dealing with it under that word-concept. Instead of the western reality vs. Problems of justifying approvals and disapprovals of word usage led such later Confucians as Mencius, to rely more on cultivating an intuition. Since the account of cultivation typically presupposed practice in conformity with the social practice requiring justification, the threat of circularity pushed traditionalists eventually to teach about and appeal to an allegedly innate or pre-social human psychology.
By contrast, the craft—inspired Mohists went on to emphasize the use of measurement tools and operations as the standards guiding term use. Zhuangzi conforms to the general pre-Han model, using a path metaphor to discuss normativity in general. This fuels the traditional view of him as a Daoist. Is it nature? Is it man? Humans are as natural as monkeys, birds, and fish. This stance makes the complexity of the natural network only the first level of variety and possibility.
He situates us at indexed points in this network seeking paths forward from here and now , choosing from among the plethora of those accessible which, if any, to follow. Nature gives us a complex network of iterative guiding structures among which we are about to swim. We recognize greater and lesser models of both—the more reflective and engaging vs. As we walk through a day, we encounter attitudinal states—joy, sorrow, surprise, ennui etc.
When we describe that entire structure, e. All guidance is at a point in the network and available to and for some emergent object—physical, living, animal or human. We light on paths and react with heart-mind responses. Zhuangzi recognizes its involvement in the construction process, but is skeptical of making it a kind of natural authority. It is, after all, only one of the natural organs involved—our daily reactions include being directed by our stomachs, our eyes, etc.
Why, Zhuangzi wonders, should we think they need a single authority? There are many natural ways of finding and choosing ways. Humans naturally exhibit variety in how they find or choose a course of behavior. They may be capacities of individuals or of social groups, embodied in their social practices. Zhuangzi does not view it as a rational or logical construction, but a complicated, multi-layered natural one. Then who or what does the choosing?
Joy, anger, sadness, pleasure, worrying, sighing, resisting, clinging, being drawn to, eschewing, launching, and committing, like music from empty holes, dampness generating mushrooms, these day and night replace each other before us and yet none can know from what they emerge. Let it be! The trend from social construction humanism toward naturalism had been gradual. It seems, he says, there must be one, but we find no evidence of it. We approve of behaviors and place our trust in its reactions but find no sign of what is authorizing or making them.
Being a product of ritual training.
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Nor could one trained practitioner have authority over another in resolving interpretive disputes about how to execute the ritual, e. He insisted we need a neutral, non-cultural or natural basis for such meta-choices of social practices of choosing and interpreting practices. The narrative history of Classical thought found near the end of the Zhuangzi Ibid. Many stories in the text target the notion that utility is a naturally constant value—particularly the human utility that Mozi champions.
Among this series of parables, the most famous, the useless tree, illustrates the relativity of usefulness to Hui Shi. He had also objected to Confucian reliance on acquired intuition since it made access to such judgments esoteric. His utility standard, Zhuangzi is suggesting, is still relative to the way of translating it to behavior. The growing awareness that norms of behavior are intertwined with norms of language use, produced another feature of this strand of thought bringing the natural world into our guidance. Primitivists came to advocate silence—letting the natural paths of the world take over completely.
For most of history, the Laozi has exemplified this rejection of language. Shen Dao, based on his version of logical determinism i. Later Mohist writings contain several acute critiques of such a trending pro-silence posture. Language is natural and arguments for silence are self-condemning. It is natural for us to make a judgment, but not nature making it.
Normativity arises from within nature, but nature only makes all its normative, behavior-guiding paths for us naturally available. There are no naturally ideal observers. We should, however, adopt an attitude of epistemic modesty in making our perspective based choices and recommending our interpretations to others. Hence nature makes no choice that implies a more absolute, or superior normative status on either perspective.
Does it amount to taking the view of nature but of nowhere in particular or is it a naturally occurring, perspective on perspectives, a recognition of the plurality of natural perspectives? He provokes us to realize that we may make progress and improve our guiding perspective by simulating the guiding perspectives of others. Still a third outcome of the interaction, as with violent gangsters, reminds us simply to keep our distance. New accumulated insights about natural structures may improve our range of options, from our own point of view.
First, we do this from our own present perspective. We neither judge all to be right nor all to be wrong—nor even that all are equal.
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Certainly, not all are equally worthy of our choice. We need not judge that all are good choices for those following them—only that the grounds of their choice may be different from ours. They might still be dogmatic, careless, or unwarranted even given the situational grounds of their choice. Nothing about the naturalness of such choices arising makes them right. We neither seek to follow all at once or each equally—as Hui Shi seems to suggest. Nor do we resolve to follow none—as Shen Dao suggests. We are more inclined to follow a path, and given our similarities, think we might pursue it with benefit when we know some natural being like us found and followed it.
And Zhuangzi clearly does ridicule the social moralists Confucians and Mohists as well as Hui Shi for the narrowness of their range of choices—their failure to appreciate the richness and complexity of alternative ways of life. The judgment from no-where-when is no-judgment. That we progress in such exchanges is something we ourselves judge, not the cosmos. The latter structures his analysis mainly on comparatives. Ergo, there are no real distinctions and the world is actually one. Now that we are one, can I still say anything? Now that I have called us one, did I succeed in not saying something?
One and the saying make two, two and one make three. Proceeding from here even an expert calculator cannot get to the end of it, much less a plain man. Commitment is setting off along a path. We have momentum and a trajectory. The shape of the path combines with these and commits us to walk on or continue in a way that depends on the discernible shape of the path.
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Walking a path involves staying mostly within its physical boundaries. Zhuangzi would not make that point in terms of deduction from a normative premise or principle. The internal and external paths themselves have a causal and normative relation to our walking behavior. A sentence would state the action or the intent—rather like the conclusion of a practical syllogism rather than, as as fits in this metaphorical space, as performing a role in a play or or part in a symphony. Confucian social versions emphasized the names of social roles and statuses more than of natural kinds.
Human language is a natural sound. The cosmos does not select which way to make the choice. Graham had noted that Zhuangzi returns to the metaphor nearer the middle of the dialogue, noting that here Zhuangzi seems to be taking back some of its implications. The Later Mohists advocated a version of pragmatic-semantic realism.
This is the basis of a social standard of correct word use enshrined in past practice. The world, in effect, gives us many ways of establishing conventional distinctions and assigning names. However, the analogy with bird calls is a fortuitous suggestion. We arrange, adapt and modulate the elements of our language to fit our environment, abilities, and opportunities e.
Would Zhuangzi have guessed the same about birds? In one passage, Zhuangzi allows this appeal to past or existing common practice but does not endorse it as right—merely as useful. Conventions are useful because they facilitate communication. Our trajectory along our paths incorporates these accumulated commitments to prior practices of language use. Our existing evaluation practices remind us that shared and unquestioned past practices can be wrong. Mozi appealed to what he would also have regarded as a purely natural practice. Humans, in finding ways to walk and walking them, initiate the construction of social paths, naturally and perhaps unintentionally, by leaving prints in the natural world.
How do we know either that our past practice was correct or that we are correctly following them in this new situation, here and now, based solely on our eyes and ears? The main mechanism Zhuangzi discusses is appeal to a judge or authority. It is not clear if the conclusion is supposed to be a solution to the skeptical problem posed or merely a way to cope constructively with complexity and uncertainty.
The passage rules out any appeal to a special authority of any other point of view—while giving equal authority in the construction to all. Nonetheless, let me try to put it in language. And let me try a question on you. Just pondering. Daydreaming with some structure. This does not come naturally. Imagine walking into a clothing store, selecting a variety of items to try on.
You are only interested in trying things on. Expensive things, slutty things, things with ribbons, things with bows, a cowboy hat. No buying. Who the hell does that? We are busy people! Get it? Instead of trying on clothes, try on some ideas about your life.
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What if? There is an art to pondering. It cannot be rushed or the beauty of pondering just becomes the work of thinking. Thinking usually leads to judging, evaluating, choosing and making decisions. Then the critical negative thoughts arrive. Or, as in our clothes shopping example: actually buying. You are just along for the ride, watching what your mind creates, listening to the cues, not judging. These are great starting points to let your imagination go crazy on. Ponder it! See it!