Sunday, March 09, 2008

Eastern Elements Revisited

A recent feature I wrote is about how eastern culture, philosophy, religion, martial arts, etc (called eastern elements for short) influenced western people's lifestyle. All of my interviewees are western people from different backgrounds. They made me re-examine my own culture, my religious beliefs and the philosophy involved as if I have also undergone a process of mental catharsis. The following are two excerpts of my own reflection:

“This concept is similar to a hidden atheist view of the universe in Daoism, of which Wu Wei (non-action) is an important part. Wu Wei, is often confused with, but is never the same as, inaction: it means unintentional behaviour without any deliberate attempt. It is believed that any purposeful behaviour would lead to deviation from nature. Thus Wu Wei is often associated with concepts such as de-materialism, anti-commercialism, “letting nature taking its course”, harmony, and flexibility, on which the philosophy of martial art Tai-Ji is based."

"Buddhism emphasises that everyone can reach enlightenment, or Nirvana, through following the Noble Eightfold Path (the way to cease suffering) spontaneously. The concept of reincarnation illustrates the understanding of life as a continuum---previous life, present life, and afterlife, thus the importance of seizing the moment, not to indulge, but to uproot the stems of suffering. In this regard, Mr Mercel-Sanca's proactive determination to enlightenment is closely aligned with Buddhism.”

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