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Here is a statement I found to be interesting taken from the Hagakure (an interesting book in itself, sometimes funny, sometimes ridiculous, always insightful).
'It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is called a Way. Therefore, it is inconsistent to hear something of the Way of Confucius or the Way of the Buddha, and say that this is the Way of the Samurai. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all Ways and be more and more in accord with his own.'
Particularly revealing is the last sentance. When I first read this I couldn't help but think how it illustrates the simplicity of Zen practice and the strength of humility. What do you think?
I'm not sure if I understand that fully. To me it says that we are all identical in the fact that we are different to anyone else.
I think, like so many things in zen, humility comes, not from trying to achieve it, but by seeing through to the truth of reality whence upon it becomes an obvious facet of our behaviour.
It could also mean that what you do is not as important as how you do it. A variation on the notion that The Path is the Goal. (A very good book on meditation by Chogyam Trungpa)
I agree with your ideas on humility. Lao-Tzu touches upon what you say a great deal in the Tao Te Ching:
Well established hierarchies are not easily uprooted;
Closely held beliefs are not easily released;
So ritual enthralls generation after generation.
Harmony does not care for harmony, and so is naturally attained;
But ritual is intent upon harmony, and so can not attain it.
Harmony neither acts nor reasons;
Love acts, but without reason;
Justice acts to serve reason;
But ritual acts to enforce reason.
When the Way is lost, there remains harmony;
When harmony is lost, there remains love;
When love is lost, there remains justice;
But when justice is lost, there remains ritual.
Ritual is the end of compassion and honesty,
The beginning of confusion;
Belief is a colourful hope or fear,
The beginning of folly.
The sage goes by harmony, not by hope;
He dwells in the fruit, not the flower;
He accepts substance, and ignores abstraction.(chapter 38, Tao Te Ching)
Here one could view the word 'Ritual' as meaning 'forced attitude/action', such as assumed humility. If such a thing does not naturally spring forth then it is false. Though it can be said that practice makes perfect! ;)
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