Oneness, base on Tao, Zen, Buddhism, etc.

A little philosophy for the day, edited from a comment I left at Life Coaches Blog’s post — Personal Atrophy for Foolish People. I don’t like to over-analyzing things and prefer to keep it simple, so here goes.

Oneness is truth, and truth is oneness. Everything comes forth from oneness.

Oneness entails the interconnected of everything in this world. Truth is the relationships of the opposing/complimentary forces that is part of this oneness. Our reality is just our interpretation of truth. Despite our perception, our judgement, truth is as these relationships are.

Intelligence enables us to obtain knowledge, but wisdom (true knowledge) is where we apply those information and understand the working of the different relationships in this world.

All types of knowledge leads to self-knowledge, where an individual is aware of his relationship working with all the different relationships in the world, and he acts base on that. This is the application of wisdom. This is also when one is aware of the oneness of the world. Acting with self-knowledge and awareness is self-actualization.

As a result, intelligence leads to wisdom, wisdom leads to awareness, and ultimately, awareness gives birth to true courage and true love. With those, one has the power to act, to be honest with oneself and others.

That’s why…

True love comes from oneness because knowing we are all connected, compassion arises.

True courage also comes from oneness because fear arises from unknowns, and it is only unknown when one is not aware of oneness.

That’s also why, all types of negativities in this world occurs as a result of derailing from oneness, and in other words, being unaware of the oneness of the world/universe. Some examples are…

Denial is a refusal to see the relationships of different forces working together (or against each other), or attachment to one’s own perception of truth.

Anger is a result of expecting relationships to go certain way, again, attachment to one’s perception of how things should be.

Separation is when a person is attached to only one aspect of oneness, like being happy. They just want to be happy, but forget the fact that, happiness exists because sadness also exists.

Hence, attachment is the cause of suffering. When you let go, when you detach, you have everything. Being aware, being in the moment, being present to experience things as they are, lead to peace and joy.

To wrap things up, oneness is the principle of Tao, involving the principle of ying-yang, which are the opposing/complimentary forces I mentioned. Awareness from Zen is what lets you understand. And as it turns out, when you understand it, there really is nothing as Tao. Because by saying Tao, you suggest a concept, but it really is not a concept. There is everything, and there is nothingness, as Buddhism suggests the word “Wu” (ç„¡).

Tao, Zen, and Buddhism, and whatever other branches of these, are base on the same “idea”, but yet ultimately, there is really nothing to grasp. Hence it is said that, once you get it and when someone asks you what is Tao, there really is no answer and you can only laugh. It’s good stuff.

Originally posted 2008-12-09 00:43:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Zen Meditation, is Not Really About Meditation

A long time ago, I wrote the post The Agenda Mentality.

Well, meditation is directly related to that. Because…

True meditation means for a person to arrive at a “no-agenda state.” So really, the goal of meditation is not meditation.

And yes, you heard me right.

Meditation is unlike anything else that we normally do everyday and all that we are taught to do. That is, almost everything we learn and do follows the mental state that can be sum up as “getting from one place to the next.”

Bu to meditate is to be completely here and now. There is no where else to go.

To be completely here and now is to realize and simply be your whole being. And that involves your body, your mind, sensation from 5 senses, your surrounding, and ultimately, everything — inside and outside of you. Your perception is wide open and accepting of whatever your senses tell you.

This is the state of being, which we are all capable of. Meditation is simply a mean for us to practice it and eventually, be in such state of being without trying – doing without doing.

To fully immerse in the experience of meditation, you cannot be doing something specifically. If you try to arrive at “using all your senses,” you have obstructed your ability to do so.

So in a way, we could qualify meditation as a practice of doing nothing. And to do nothing, it is helpful to first be able to observe and re-discover that you are doing something.

Therefore, we are provided with guidelines and steps to meditate. But keep in mind, to meditate is not to meditate, that is, to follow steps and guidelines.

The easiest way to meditate, at first, is by sitting because in sitting, you are at least not doing something physically. Something called “Za-zen.”

It will take many of us a period of time to relearn the ability to simply sit still.

So after that, we move on to the mental part. It is irrefutable that modern people are addicted to thoughts. We find our logical minds so useful that we cannot stop using it. Therefore, we are to sit and simply observe our thoughts.

And we do not try to stop thinking in meditation. If we think, we let it happen and simply notice what we are thinking. Eventually it will go away. If we try to stop thinking, we just end up thinking about trying to stop thinking which is another thought.

Beyond the mental part, we have the body. While we can watch our thoughts, we can also watch our body. We can observe all the sensations at the various parts of body. Feel where the tension is. Simply to the instruction about dealing with thoughts, we do not try to relax because trying to relax is itself an effort that causes tension. Simply pay attention.

After awhile, we will notice the intermingling relationship between our mind and body. When we think different kinds of thoughts, we cause different kinds of sensations/tension in our body. So we pay attention to both, which including the reception of our 5 senses and our surrounding is all a part of “the whole experience.”

Of course there are other techniques involved, such as lots of breathing exercises, but that is an whole other topic. One tip is for us to re-learn belly breathing (aka deep breathing) and then we can learn to focus on breathing to help practicing meditation.

Because there is one tip that is very useful, is that it is impossible for us to pay fully attention to our breathing and to be thinking at the same time.

To re-iterate, meditation is about none of the particulars described about meditation. Just that if it must be said, it is a practice of a state of being.

Learning to be here and now.

Not “another thing to do to achieve peace”. Or… well, just forget that goal-setting mindset.

And you start by rediscovering your innate awareness and letting it be free — by paying attention. Pay attention to your mind. Pay attention to your body. Pay attention to your surroundings. Pay attention to things you cannot see. Pay attention to everything.

Thus the story of a master telling a student what’s the secret of practice of zen (meditation) is “Attention, attention, attention.”

Originally posted 2013-01-08 00:45:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

To help my cash flow, I refinanced

It’s either networth or cash flow when we measure and talk about the health of our personal finance and how to improve it.

In many cases, money is risked or sacrificed to generate more cash flow through buying some sort of investment to generate monthly pay out. Vice versa is also true when asset that generates cash flow is sold for a lum sum of cash.

I recently just closed on my refinance of my condo… thank god~! This one took longer than I thought. The background story is that I bought my place in 2008 with a 10% down payment when I got lucky in a small window where banks had loosened their lending requirement. That said, I was left to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) as part of my mortgage. That’s a $200+ on top! Oh, what did I choose to put on myself… anyways, with the recent property price coming back up and mortgage rate down more than ever, I decided to refinance.


So in my case, I “sacrificed” many thousands to get myself that 20% equity to remove the PMI by going through refinance. That plus the 4% interest rate on a 30-year mortgage, I had reduced my monthly payment by more than $500. Although the “sacrificing” makes me feel sad, I think and feel that it is worth it because if I lose my current job, I have more options such as taking my time to find a job I want, doing a simpler job that means less pay, or even starting my own business. Less fixed cost to deal with is good.

A few other take away points from my refinance experience…

  1. Never expect to close with 30 days or on time because most cases… it won’t. It took me about 1.5 months for this refinance.
  2. For condo owner, know your HOA’s insurance coverage of your dwelling. Because if it already covers the reconstruction of the unit to original form, you won’t need to show prove of your OWN insurance coverage. Unfortunately, I had a young loan agent who is not familiar and that caused me some headaches with handling my home insurance coverage and potential higher premium that is not necessary.
  3. Pending sales DO NOT make direct comparables in the property price appraisal process. Only final sales do.

I was hoping my appraisal price to be higher so I can put less money down in the refinance process. Maybe if the market gets really hot next year, I can try again. BIG if. A man can feel greedy, right? Me think it’s ok as long as I don’t act too greedy.

At any rate, it’s hard for the mortgage rate to go much lower… and many real estate market has rebounded in price. That makes now a good refinance opportunity, especially if it does not cost you a lot relative to what you had saved.

Originally posted 2012-12-26 23:14:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Wu Wei – The Way of Non-Striving

Last time I talked about compromise to handle duality in reality. An improved way to contemplate this is Wu Wei.

Directly translated, Wu Wei (無為) means no action. But that completely loses the meaning and it may lead people to think it is some sort of fatalism. Wu Wei is NOT no action or simply not doing anything.

A better English interpretation for Wu Wei would be “the way of non-striving.”

The following questions are why this is very very relevant for our every day life. Ask yourself, are you struggling? Are you trying very very hard to achieve or become something? Do you feel that you deserve that something because you work very hard? And when you don’t get it, you feel sad and suffer?


The following may sound mad and completely contrary to common sense that we are taught. My realization is that when we try so hard, try too hard, often we don’t get what we want. And even if we do get what we want, we soon realize how big of a mess we have on our hands that will require much more effort to clean up than the effort we spent getting what we want.

Hence, I think it is important for us to realize Wu Wei. They always tell us to innovate and think outside the box, right? Well, here we go.

Wu Wei — the Way of Non-Striving. It is action without striving, without trying. It is more like natural action. Action that fits in the flow of situation, is appropriate to the objective reality, and harmonizes/supports/balances the many dualistic relationships we have around us.

Stop trying.

When you try, you don’t do. (you are not 100%)
When you stop trying, you simply do. (now you can be 100%)

Sound simple? It is. Is it easy? Not really. It requires much practice.

Whatever it is that you want to do, we continuously pay attention, learn, understand, practice, and repeat the process. At some point, after enough practice and repetition, you can let it go. Then you simply do.

Primarily, wu wei is recommended to be applied to living life… a life of awareness.

Some examples base on personal experience…

Like a pianist who needs to perform a piece, after much practicing, he knows exactly which keys he needs to hit and how exactly wants to hit it to convey his emotion. When he perform, he simply does it. However, if he has to think about it and tries to hit the key the way he wants, he will miss or play the note different than the original intention. Not only, he probably will lose his flow to finish the whole piece.

Same thing for a vocalist. The mere act of trying to hit a high note will disable his ability to do so because of the muscle tension that is generated from trying.

The same thing for basketball player. The talk about about play being “in a zone” or shooting “in rhythm”. Do you think the player is thinking how he wants to shoot the ball when he shoots the ball? Nope. He simply does it.

We always say we must be free. But the mere thought of that we must be free binds us to a concept which takes away the freedom.

We are always told that we must be happy. But the mere thought that we must be happy makes us try so hard to find happiness that we are not happy.

Our over zealous effort to control all things in life are nothing but self-defeating proposition. This “fighting” mentality is one such common sense that can be let go, if you sincerely want good things to happen.

One cannot ALWAYS be happy.
One cannot be perfect.
There is up and down.
People come and people go.

See things as they are and then simply react. Can you do that? Do you have doubt? Then you will keep striving.

There is nothing you can do about the problem because there is no problem. All the drama in life are all self-created. Yes, it is very real when you have created it. But can you not create it? Can you live without drama? Do you need to be excited, surprised, elevated all the time? Then it will be no end in sight. It will be a moving door.

There is not an end to strive for. That doesn’t mean you do nothing. That means whatever you do, with realization of Wu Wei, you WILL do your best… you are held back by no ideals nor desires. If you must conceptualize, it is doing for the sake of doing, for that moment of greatness. That is being in the flow. That is “playing in a zone”.

Without striving, you stop trying too hard.
You act when it is the time to act.
You don’t act when it is the time to not act.

How do you practice? For most of us… Slow down. Stop. Allow silence. Be Still. Breathe. Pay attention around you. Repeat. Thousand and thousand times.

Because of this realization, I am very wary to use terms such as “fight for”, “to defeat”, “to beat”… how we claim we need to “fight for peace”, or that “love and compassion can defeat suffering”. But there is nothing to beat. When you are aware, realize how all things are connected, you act without striving — Wu Wei. We will all simply love and be compassionate, and we simply do it because not just that it is good for us, but that things can be so much worse.

Let go of striving and you will also let go of suffering. You don’t try to let go. You simply let go. And by then, we no longer need to fight violence, no longer need to defeat suffering, no longer need to fight… we would “win” without a fight.

Additionally, in the act of fighting, attempting to defeat negativity, we validate the very negativity we want to defeat. We emphasize the negativity, and we make it an important thing in life. Is negativity what you want in your life? If not, then let go. Not saying they are not real. You decide for yourself if your pain, depression, problems are so important that you MUST fight to remove them. When you do that, are you not putting more emphasis on them instead, and with emphasis, are you not keeping them in your life?

The negativity may be very real it may take some time, but slowly, let it go bit by bit. Through practice, you simply let go. You act without striving.

But if you are a courageous soul, perhaps you just let go. That is also possible. In an instant, you would have realize Wu Wei. You ARE free. You no longer need to try to be free.

Practice, is simply living life with awareness. Observing yourself mentally and physically. Observing others around you. Observing events around you. Don’t try to see. Simply pay attention. As you learn to pay attention, the more and more you will come to see. Living in awareness becomes natural. And over time, life seems to be become easy, but keep in mind, making things easy is not the goal, the essense of Wu Wei.

If you can learn and live Wu Wei, I doubt your life will then be “that bad”.

You stop making a mess by trying too hard.
You act or not act without striving.
You simply are you.
You just be.

PS. This is kind of a sequel to The Agenda Mentality – Doing is Always a Mean to an End.

Originally posted 2009-06-09 22:38:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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