The Differences Between Chinese Ch’an and Japanese Zen in a Nutshell

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Despite all the talk of a common Indian originality, Ch’an and Zen are very different today. This was not the case for hundreds of years, when the early Japanese practitioners of Ch’an followed the Indian Buddhist traditions (preserved in China) diligently and never deviated from them. The differences between Chinese Ch’an and Japanese Zen began primarily in the 18th and 19th centuries and can be summed-up as follows:

1) Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1786) and his followers of the Japanese Rinzai (Ch: ‘Linji’) School, radically altered the use of ko-an (Ch: ‘gong-an’). Instead of students having their minds ‘freed’ at the point of contact with enlightened encounter dialogues between Chinese Ch’an masters and their students, (neither retaining or forcibly remembering the details), Hakuin taught that the ko-an should be forcibly retained in the mind and used as a device to bludgeon one’s way to enlightenment. This represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of a gong-an, and signifies that in Hakuin’s lifetime, neither he nor his students were able to benefit from, or correctly understand the ancient gong-an practice. The extent of this deviation from the Chinese Ch’an tradition can be easily ascertained by referencing the teachings of Ch’an Master Linji (see: Ch’an and Zen Teaching Series Two: By Charles Luk, Rider, (1987). Pages 84-126) – Master Linji states:

‘”Sometimes, a shout is like a precious Vajra sword: sometimes a shout is like a lion crouching on the ground; sometimes a shout is like a sounding rod casting its shadow upon the grass; and sometimes a shout is not used as a shout. What will you do to understand this?” As the monk was ‘thinking’ about it, the master shouted.’ (Page 96)

From this example, (and there are many more) it is obvious that Master Linji did not hold with forcibly retaining his sayings in the mind. The teaching of Hakuin signifies a major deviation from the Linji tradition of Chinese Ch’an.

2) The Meiji Restoration of 1868 saw the development of a rabid Japanese nationalism that coincided with a rapid modernisation drive for the Japanese nation. Part of this policy was a deliberate ‘distancing’ of Japanese culture from its obvious Chinese origination. This was achieved by denigrating anything perceived to be ‘Chinese’, and the emphasis upon a mythological preference for Japanese cultural origination. This included the recognition of Shintoism as the official (and truly ‘Japanese’) State religion, and the demonising of Buddhism as a ‘foreign’ and therefore ‘corrupting’ influence on Japanese cultural development. As a consequence, the Rinzai and Soto Zen traditions dramatically altered their practices and interpretations of the Buddha’s teachings, and made their approaches to spirituality more like Shintoism – with its worship of the Emperor and unquestioning support for the Japanese government and all its policies – including racialised rhetoric and warfare. This time period saw the Rinzai and Soto actively deny their Chinese cultural roots, and support the government’s anti-China policies. This coincided with the Rinzai and Soto Zen traditions ‘abandoning’ the Vinaya Discipline for ordained monks and nuns because it was viewed as both ‘Indian’ and ‘Chinese’, and therefore ‘un-Japanese’ in nature. This abandoning of the Vinaya Discipline marks a significant deviation of the Japanese Zen tradition from its Chinese Ch’an origin.

3) Soto Zen, the Japanese version of the Chinese Caodong lineage, for hundreds of years diligently maintained the tradition of Indian Buddhism as preserved within the Chinese Ch’an tradition. Master Dogen (1200-1253) followed the Bodhisattva and Vinaya Discipline as an ordained monk, and learned a blend of seated meditation practice, coupled with effective gong-an practice from his Chinese Ch’an Master Rujing (1162-1228). This is how the Japanese Soto tradition continued up until the 19th century, when its then leaders abandoned the ko-an practice because it was too ‘Chinese’ in nature. This decision coincided with the spread of Japanese nationalism and anti-Chinese propaganda. Instead of a balanced practice of seated meditation augmented by ko-an practice, the Soto School of Japanese Zen instead developed an emphasis upon ‘Silent Illumination’, a practice which is generally not found anywhere in the teachings of Master Dong or Master Cao (See: Ch’an and Zen Teaching Series Two: By Charles Luk, Rider, (1987). Pages 127-180). A story about Master Dong is as follows:

‘Hsueh Feng, who was carrying firewood, dropped a bundle on the ground in front of the master who asked: “How much does this weigh?” Hsueh Feng replied: “All people on the great earth together cannot lift it up.” The master asked: “(If so,) how can it be brought here?” Hsueh Feng could not reply.’ (Page 140)

A story about Master Cao is as follows:

‘(A monk) asked the master: “With what man of Tao should one be intimate to obtain everlasting hearing (even) before hearing a thing?” The master replied: “(Both are) under the same quilt.” The monk asked: “This is what the Venerable Sir can hear, but what is everlasting hearing (even) before a thing is heard?” The master replied: “It is different from a piece of wood and a stone.” The monk asked: “Which one is before or after the other?” The master asked back: “Have you not read (the saying about) hearing before a thing is heard?”’ (Page 173)

Removing the crucial ko-an element from the Soto Zen tradition signifies a major deviation of this Japanese school of Zen from its Chinese progenitor.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

What is a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO)?

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A ‘PCSO’ is a paid member of the public who volunteers to fulfil the role of a ‘Community Service Officer’, working for the Police Service in a local capacity. In the official literature, this role is usually referred to by the initials ‘CSO’ – and such a ‘Community Service Officer’ should not be confused with a ‘PC’, or ‘Police Constable’. A Community Service Officer IS NOT a Police Constable and as a consequence, does not automatically hold the powers of a Police Constable as defined in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE).

Things you should know:

1) It is a criminal offence (s46 Police Reform Act [PRA] 2002) for a CSO to impersonate a Police Constable.
2) Many Police forces have recruited CSO’s under the Functions of Traffic Wardens Order (1970) Act and its subsequent amendments. In this circumstance, CSO’s are employed only with Traffic Warden Powers, and are often used in that capacity.
3) The Traffic Warden Powers are supplemented by Part 1 of Section 4 of the Police Reform Act 2002, which specifies 16 additional powers that may be granted by a Chief Constable to a CSO. These powers are referred to as ‘Standard’, and can be supplemented by various ‘discretionary’ powers, such as those designed to deal with ‘Truancy’, ‘Vagrancy’, ‘Dog Fouling’ and the power to seize alcohol, tobacco and drugs:

Issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for offences of disorder
Detain for up to 30 minutes suspects who fail to give details
Use reasonable force to detain as at 2
Impose requirements and dispose of alcohol consumed in designated public places
Enter any premises to save life and limb or prevent serious damage to property
Carry out PACE road checks and stop vehicles to do so
Stop and search vehicles & belongings in areas authorised under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Seize vehicles used to cause alarm etc.
Issue Fixed Penalty Notices for offences of cycling on footways, dog fouling, litter
Require name and address from suspects
Require name and address from person acting in anti-social manner
Confiscate and dispose of alcohol from young persons
Seize and dispose of tobacco from young persons
Authorise removal of abandoned vehicles
Stop vehicles for testing
Make traffic directions for abnormal vehicles.

4) A CSO does not have the power of arrest as specified in PACE. A CSO may make a Citizen’s Arrest. A Police Constable can make an arrest if a crime is in progress, or if he thinks a crime has already been committed, or is about to be committed – a citizen may only make an arrest if witnessing a crime is in progress, a citizen may not make an arrest if he thinks a crime has been previously committed, or if he thinks a crime might be committed in the future. For a CSO to make an arrest outside of the definition of a ‘Citizen’s Arrest’, is to unlawfully deprive a person of his freedom – and potentially open the CSO to the further allegation of ‘impersonating a Police Constable’.
5) Due to the limitation of arrest applied to a CSO, Section 4 grants the CSO the power to detain a suspect for 30 minutes only, and to use reasonable force in so doing. In this time, the CSO must request the presence of a Police Constable. A person detained in this manner IS NOT under arrest, but it is an offence for a detained person to try and leave the area prior to the arrival of a Police Constable, or before the 30 minutes expire. A CSO may detain a suspect if the CSO reasonably has grounds to believe that a crime may have been committed, is being committed, or might be committed. A CSO, however, CAN NOT act on these suspicions other than to detain a suspect and seek guidance from a Police Constable.
6) A CSO CAN NOT take someone – even if they are being detained for 30 minutes – to a Police Station without the expressed consent of the individual concerned.
7) A CSO does not carry handcuffs, batons or pepper spray.
8) As a CSO does not hold the powers of a Police Constable, he/she can not set foot on private property (or enter a dwelling) without the permission of the owner. What is stated in Section 4 is the power to enter any premises to save life and limb, and to prevent damage to the property. If these conditions are not present, the CSO CAN NOT lawfully enter premises. A Police Constable may enter a premises inaccordance with Section 4 AND if he/she is in possession of a court issued warrant authorising a legal search, as well as to prevent a breach of the peace, or arrest those who have escaped from custody.
9) A CSO may enter any premises (excluding a private dwelling), whilst searching for a motor vehicle, but must be under the supervision of a Police Constable.
10) At a roadblock, a CSO can be authorised to stop designated vehicles whilst under the supervision of a Police Constable. A CSO CAN NOT carry out vehicle or body searches – only a Police Constable is empowered to carry out these searches.
11) A Chief Constable does not necessarily grant ALL 16 powers of Section 4 to a CSO. A CSO may only be granted those powers of Section 4 relevant to the particular task given them in the community. When reassigned, the powers may be changed to reflect the new role.
12) A CSO must carry with them proof of the powers that they have been granted, together with details of their correct uniform, and produce said proof upon request (Section 42(2) PRA 2002).

There has been much political discussion about the future of PCSO’s, with the Conservative government talking about abolishing the position.

Sources:

PCSO Powers
http://www.apa.police.uk/public-campaigns/police-stops/pcso-powers

PCSO Powers
http://www.policecommunitysupportofficer.com/phpBB2/powers.php

Ode to Hippies

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I was very much the product of the Hippy Movement and was born in 1967 during the ‘Summer of Love’ – my parents were hippies. Hippyism did not just ‘stop’ at that date, but it is probably true that it reached a high water-mark in its history. As a counter-culture movement, it was at the zenith of its powers. Tim Leary (a Harvard Professor) told all young people to ‘tune on, turn in, and drop out’, and his friend Richard Alpert (also a Harvard Professor), advised people to take-up the practice of yoga, go into the forest and look at trees, and turning on the nation by placing LSD in the country’s water supply. At the time, hippies were perceived as Communist-inspired subversives that were trying to bring down Western civilisation from within – not by bullets and bombs, but rather through unconditional love, consideration for others, and a disregard for material possessions and the acquisition of money. Unlike Communists, however, at least the Communists of the time, hippies preferred to smoke dope and drop acid in mutually supporting groups, or alone in beautiful and inspiring environments. The Communism of the USSR and China, for instance, viewed itself as hyper-logical and scientifically advanced, and believed that by changing the outer world, the corresponding inner world could be altered for the better. Hippies more or less believed the exact opposite. They believed that all a person had to do to change the world was to withdraw consent from participating in a system of capitalist excess (live an alternative lifestyle) and everything would be alright.

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The Christian church feared Hippyism dramatically, and many leaflets warning against its influence within Western society were published by various congregations. Hippyism was the enemy within that abandoned good old fashioned Christian teachings, and instead actively engaged in the courtship of the heathen religions and philosophies of Asia – philosophies like Buddhism which is found in China and Vietnam – two Communist countries and perceived enemies of the USA. The Christians of the West believed that the Buddhism of the East – as it was non-reliant on a god-concept – was working hand in hand with the forces of International Communism, and converting Western youth away from the material-worshipping work ethic of the modern church. Although it was true that hippies were on the most part anti-materialist, this fact did not necessarily dove-tail with the assumption that Buddhism (or communism for that matter), had any hand in this transformation. The church authorities were afraid that they might once and for all lose their power over the minds of Westerners (and possibly be tried for the church’s historical crimes), and so its ideologues and strategists formulated responses that only really amounted to firing blinding in the dark and missing the target all the time.

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In the UK – with its extensive Socialist inspired Welfare State – the official hysteria seen in the USA was not so forthcoming. A Socialist British Labour Party that routinely kept in telephonic communication with the Kremlin had no real desire to rock the boat of the British status quo and had the good sense to keep out of the US-initiated Vietnam War. No, criticisms of the hippies in the UK amounted more to the elder generation shouting at younger people to get their hair-cut and get a job! That was about it. In the meantime, there was a relaxing of class distinctions, and many working class hippies found themselves mixing with middle and upper class people who also shared in the ‘peace and love’ mentality – at least on the surface.   In the UK the hippy movement was very much an attack on institutional conservativism. It loosened the bonds of conventionality, and led to a future tolerance and understanding. Of course, this was not all at once, and sometimes not always easy to see. Racism and intolerance, murder and rape, still exist in the UK, but for peace and love to eventually prevail the memory of the Peaceful Revolution of the 1960’s must never be forgotten.

UKIP Supporting Livermead Cliff Hotel Still Doing Business with Foreigners!

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It is said that 24 hours is a long time in politics (and it is), but apparently 3 months obviously is not for the manager of the Livermead Cliff Hotel.  This manager in fact owns a number of hotels in the Torbay area (collectively, and rather pompously known as ‘Best Western’), which the lady used to advertise the politically far-right and racist supporting United Kingdom Independence Party (UKPI).  Of course, tells us something of the lack of moral integrity of this person, and the fact that racism as an ideology is so strong that those who adhere to its fallacious and moronic strictures, would rather pursue destructive economic strategies (by excluding foreign tourists and economic migrants from the UK), whilst simultaneously claiming to be running a business that caters almost exclusively to ‘foreign’ clientele – but then racism has never been known for its logic and reason!

Racist UKIP at Livermead Hotel

Racist UKIP at Livermead Hotel

During run-up to the UK General Election on May 8th earlier this year, the manager of the Livermead Cliff Hotel in Torquay made a fatal decision.  Her decision was to put her business reputation on the line, and allow the racist UKIP to host a conference at the Livermead Cliff Hotel.  Not only this, but the hotel itself openly advertised the event for all to see as they drove or walked past the hotel on a busy main-road.  Indeed, it was a particularly sinister decision on the manager’s part to place the sign for the Hitler-supporting UKIP in front of the Disabled Access ramp – effectively blocking its use!  At hustings and news conferences prior to May the 8th,UKIP candidates routinely quoted passages out of Adolf Hitler’s anti-Sematic, anti-Disabled, and anti-Gay book entitled ‘Mein Kampf’.  When racists take action life this, it is seldom logical or reasonable, but premised and motivated entirely upon the ‘hatred’ of ‘difference’.  Often it is found that Christian fundamentalism lies at the heart of this prejudice (such as that found in the odious so-called ‘Britain First’ delinquency movement).  From a purely objective and psychological perspective, the manager’s decision to ‘block access’ to the Disabled with a UKIP sign speaks volumes!

German Tourist at Livermead

German Tourist at Livermead

Three months since the General Election – what is the situation today?  Well, the hotel whose manager supports the far-right and anti-migrant UKIP is still quite happy to take money from unsuspecting ‘foreign’ tourists who are coached into the area.  These tourists (from all over Europe and the world), bring their hard-earned money into Torbay and unknowingly give it to a hotel manager who then uses it to fund a far-right and racist political party.  The campaign we started in Torbay revealing what the duplicitous Livermead Hotel was doing during the run-up to the General Election, has been very successful considering the general apathy toward, and open support for the far-right that exists in the area.  Many businesses cancelled their accounts with the hotel, and many more individuals stated that they would never stay there again.  Good for them!  The immorality and illogicality of racism must never be allowed to gain the upper-hand and must be checked at every point.

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO STAND UP TO RACISM – YOU ARE NEVER ALONE!

Cultivating Dao and Developing Mind is True Self-Cultivation

Master Zhao Ming Wang of Beijing

Master Zhao Ming Wang of Beijing

Original Chinese Language Article By: Qianfeng Daoist Master Zhao Ming Wang (赵明旺)

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Translator’s Note: The English translation below is taken from the Chinese language blog of Qianfeng Daoist Master Zhao Ming Wang of Beijing – who has given me permission to carry this work. The mind and body appear to be two separate entities, but in essence they are inherently linked. Although within Daoist self-cultivation there exist specific techniques to train the body and to train the mind, in reality these methods are simply two distinct techniques for entering the same cultivated sense of unity that is not limited to itself. This is because a truly unified state allows for all and every form of diversity and is not simply a bland monism. In an uncultivated state everything appears disparate, apart, confrontary, painful to experience, and energy wasting. In the unified state – notions of one-sided ‘unity’ and ‘separation’ are transcended. Master Zhao Ming Wang beautifully explains this state of pristine being. ACW 18.8.15

Genuine self-cultivation can only be achieved after the mind has been developed through discipline. The mind is developed in two ways – by cultivating the permanent states of virtue and selflessness. Cause and effect is entirely dependent upon our own physical actions which produce either blessings or misfortune – but only the realised state of wuwei (non-action) in the mind and body is considered real. Even spirits and ghosts have their method – but their cycle of endless transformation is difficult to discern. Under the divine sky and across the broad-earth the body (and self) appear to exist and the body (and self) appear not to exist – within the world of illusion it is difficult to see this clearly. Meritous self-cultivation sees through the illusion of ghosts and spirits – and reveals that it is the human mind and body where true refinement is produced through genuine self-cultivation.

Qianfeng Daoist Hermitage: Zhao Ming Wang

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Source Text:

http://752315496.blog.163.com/blog/static/88300182201571812921/

修道、修心、修自真

修真必先修心境,德善二心中存。因果福祸自己修,只有无为才是真。世间神鬼有其门,不过转手难分清。天地我身无我身,身在幻境难分辨。功成之后神鬼显,我身是身炼真功。

千峰草堂:赵明旺

Thomas Parr (1483-1635 CE) – Oldest Man in England

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The ancient civilisation of China appears to have more than its fair share of people living not only to 100 years old – but well over that age (such as the famous Buddhist Master Xu Yun who died in 1959 in his 120th year).  It is no secret that human beings live longer if they suffer less physical and psychological stress in their individual lifestyles, if they have access to a good and nutritious diet, and adequate shelter and clothing.  In around 1850, for instance, in the UK during the ever increasing stresses associated with the oppressive working conditions of the Industrial Revolution, a British working man, if he was lucky, would have done well to have lived to 30 or 40 years of age.  Since the instigation of the British Welfare State in 1948, and its comprehensive social care package, people in general in the UK have been living generally longer, barring accidents, illnesses, and genetic predispositions, etc.  From a scientific perspective, it is interesting to consider just how long in theory (and practice) a human being could live, given that everything in living conditions was optimised for maximum survival.  Of course, this experiment suggests a scientific manipulation of the environment to produce a specific result, but in the case of the humans who have been thought to have lived a very long time to date, theirs has been a ‘natural’ product of longevity selection.  What follows is the details surrounding the life of the oldest known man to have lived in England.  His name was Thomas Parr, and when he was finally introduced to King Charles I, he was known to already have been in his 152nd year of life.  He was so famous that when aged 122 years old, his portrait was painted by the famous artists Rubens (see above) and Van Dyke – with one of his portraits hanging at the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery carrying the inscription: ‘Thomas Parr died at the age of 152 years 9 months’ – and another at the National Portrait Gallery.  It is also interesting to note that Thomas Parr attributes his longevity in part, to the following of a vegetarian diet.  The biography of Thomas Parr is as follows:

‘At Great Wollaston, just off the road from Shrewsbury to Wales, stands a small thatched cottage, birthplace and home of the oldest Englishman who ever lived.  Thomas Parr was born in 1483.  He lived to see ten monarchs on the throne, from the Plantagenet Edward IV, through all the Tudors to the Stuart Charles I.  He joined the army at 17, returning when he was 35 to run the family farm.  He married for the first time when he was 80, had an affair and an illegitimate child when he was 100 and married again at 122.  When he was 152, the Earl of Arundel took him up to London to meet Charles I, who asked for the secret of his long life.  ‘Moral temperance and a vegetarian diet,’ he replied.  Unfortunately, the foul stench of London polluted his lungs, which had thrived on Shropshire air, and he died in November 1635.  He is buried in Westminster Abbey.’

Winn, Christopher, I Never Knew That About England, Ebury Press, (2005), Page 196

Mount Ji Zu Cliff Exhibits Face of Master Xu Yun (1840-1959)

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Original Chinese Language Article By: Yang Guang Tu (杨广图)

Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD

Mount Ji Zu is located near Dali City in China’s Yunnan province. Mount Ji Zu is one of the most sacred mountains associated with Buddhism within Southeast Asia. This area is referred to as the ‘First Gate into China’, as one of Shakyamuni Buddha’s great ten disciples entered China through this area. This is why this area also carries the descriptive titles of ‘First Prominent Buddhist Monk’, and ‘First in Excellent Morality’, as this is believed to be where the Venerable Monk Mahakasyapa Thera (the First Indian Ch’an Patriarch) is said to have guarded (the transmitted) robe, and entered deep and profound meditation. This is why the area is respected as the ‘First Gate into China’. More recently, this place has caused internet users in China to claim that on the cliff wall a likeness of the face of the Old Venerable Monk Xu Yun (1840-1959) can be seen as if engraved in the stone.

This reporter was informed about this phenomenon by friends, and decided to travel to the area to see for himself. Upon arrival at Mount Ji Zu, I did indeed discover a likeness of Xu Yun within the stone of the cliff opposite and to the right of the ‘First Gate into China’ that matched the pictures seen on the internet. The image of what looks like a head has very prominent eyes, nose, and mouth. However, the eyes appear to be closed, and the facial expression seems very similar to that of a monk engaged in deep meditation. When ordinary people see this image, many think it is some kind of miracle or magical manifestation.

The Venerable Old Master Xu Yun existed in the time of modern Buddhism and was an outstanding teacher. He was a Buddhist monk who strictly adhered to the Vinaya Discipline for over a hundred years, and cultivated the Dao in at least fifteen different temples, which included the temple of the Sixth Patriarch (Hui Neng). When the time was right, he inherited the lineages of all Five Ch’an Schools. He was a very highly respected Ch’an monk, and had tens of thousands of disciples (both ordained and lay), to whom he transmitted the genuine Ch’an Dharma. He was recognised as an eminent Ch’an monk during the reign of the Guang Xu Emperor (1875-1908) of the Qing Dynasty. It was on Mount Ji Zu that Xu Yun presided over Bo Yu Temple. Much later, after he had left Mount Ji Zu, Xu Yun heard that it had fallen into disrepair and vowed to renovate it. He did this by collecting donations from the coastal areas of southern China, Southeast Asia, and other places. In the first year of the reign of the Xuan Tong Emperor (1909), Xu Yun was presented with a ‘Dragon Tripitaka’ (or a complete set of ‘Imperial Buddhist Sutras’), as a gift from the Beijing palace to the Bo Yu Temple. The temple’s name was also changed by imperial decree at this auspicious time from ‘Bo Yu’ (i.e. ‘Alms Bowl’) Temple to that of ‘Hu Guo Zhu Sheng’, (or ‘Protect Country Respect Sage’) Temple.

Today, the temple on Mount Ji Zu is venerated as a very sacred Buddhist area because of its association with Mahakasyapa and Xu Yun, and attracts thousands of devout Buddhist pilgrims and interested tourists from around the world (but particularly from Southeast Asia) every year.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Source text:

http://finance.chinatradenews.com.cn/html/china/2014/0414/46926.html

大理鸡足山华首门石壁现神似虚云头

云南大理鸡足山是东南亚佛教灵山,华首门又是佛祖释迦牟尼的十大弟子之一、被称为“头陀第一”、“上行第一”的摩诃迦叶尊者的守衣入定处,华首门也因此被称为“中华第一门”。而最近,有网友在华首门石壁,发现有神似虚云老和尚头像出现。

根据网友提供的信息,记者来到鸡足山华首门,站在华首门正对面,只见靠右侧,确实有一片石壁神似虚云老和尚的脸谱,头像的眼睛、鼻子、嘴巴都很突出,其中,眼睛紧闭,极似僧人坐禅时候的表情。许多游客看到这个头像,都惊呼神奇。

虚云老和尚是近代佛教史上,坚持苦行长达百年,历坐15个道场,重兴6大祖庭,一身兼承禅门5宗,法嗣信徒达数百万众的高僧,为禅宗泰斗。清朝光绪年检,虚云至大理鸡足山主持钵盂庵,后发心重兴鸡足山,并自往南洋等地募缘建寺。到宣统元年,虚云从北京请得《龙藏》全部回鸡足山,敕改钵盂庵为护国祝圣寺。

如今,鸡足山已经成为东南亚佛教徒心中的朝山圣地,而去鸡足山参拜摩诃迦叶和虚云老和尚,更是佛教徒和游客到鸡足山必不可少的一个项目。(杨广图文)

Berry Pomeroy Castle – South Devon – 4.8.15

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Berry Pomeroy Castle takes its name from ‘Berry’ the local name for the area, and from the ‘de Pomeroy’ family name.  The de Pomeroy family were of noble Norman birth, and were granted this land in South Devon as a reward, not long after they assisting their leader – William the Conqueror – invade Britain and defeat the English King Harold at the Battle of Hastings (in 1066 CE).  William the Conqueror divided out the British land to his loyal subjects and supporters – all of whom occupied the upper echelons of Norman society The Normans were in fact Vikings or ‘Norsemen’ (i.e.’North Men’) who had invaded France (in the 9th century) and then settled in northwest area during the early 10th century CE.  Their settlement was legally acknowledge by the French monarchy, and the Vikings began the process of merging their culture with that of the Gaelic French.  After the Norman victory of 1066 CE in Britain, the warriors of the indigenous British kept-up a fierce resistance to the Norman presence for decades.  The Normans spread-out across the land, and built very strong fortified houses and castles.  These structures allowed the Norman occupiers to live in relative safety against the continuous threat of British attack.  This castle building skill marked a significant evolution in the building of militarised structures in Britain, and there was very little the indigenous British warriors could do against the high and smooth stone walls, deep water-filled moats, and steep inclines.  Even if British warriors could somehow penetrate the outer walls, they were confronted with virtually inaccessible inner walls, labyrinths of circular and confusing corridors, and many areas designed as ‘kill zones’ for Norman archers to unleash arrows on their attackers.  Berry Pomeroy Castle was built relatively late, during the latter part of the 15th century – during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.  This castle is large and ornate, and the ruins are in very good condition.  This Norman castle was probably more as a demonstration of wealth – rather than for any military or defensive purposes.  By the latter 15th century, the Normans had settled into British life as the new upper class (or aristocracy) that ordinary British ignored or kept away from.

Berry Pomeroy Castle – English Heritage

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Revolution as an Act of Mind

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The notion of revolution, is of course the description of a physical event. This can be said with certainty because it logically follows if physical circumstance are not dramatically altered or shifted in some meaningful or obvious manner, then it is correct to state that a revolution has not taken place. This appears to be true, even if it is accepted that the state of matter is one of continuous flux, and that changes are, in a sense, happening all the time. This type of change, however, (what might be termed ‘micro-change’), is change that fits-in to the general run of things. Change happens, but it is not revolutionary change. Revolutionary change (or ‘macro-change’) is that state of intensified flux in matter that breaks with the normal level of acceptable variation. When this disruptive energy reaches a particular height of power (or frequency of resonance), old modes of predictable behaviours such as philosophical perspective, social organisation, politics, religion, and social and cultural norms fall away. However, human culture is not only physical habits passed from one generation to the next, but is also the product of corresponding thought processes and patterns of thinking, coupled with conditioned emotional responses. The human mind cannot be excluded when considering material reality in the world, simply because human thought is intimately entwined with matter. What humanity thinks, humanity becomes – and what humanity becomes, humanity thinks. The exterior conditions of the world are reflected in the interior of the human mind, and what is thought, is projected onto the physical world through the agency of human behaviour. As material reality is in a state of continuous change, thought processes have the capability of deviating from the expected conditionality of convention, and begin to develop structures of intent that defy, contradict, and generally see through the accepted logic of the day. This psychological development leads to modes of behaviour that change and alter the usual cultural and political trajectory of inner and outer reality. Therefore, it can be stated without reservation that revolution cannot simply be viewed as an external act, even though it is through external change that revolutions are understood to have occurred. The outer changes are the result of definite causes and effects, but these influences are not limited to just the external world. If that this the case, it would not matter what human beings thought, and physical actions and behaviours would be disconnected from the thought processes that motivate their creation. The psychological and the material are inherently linked at source, with one influencing the other, but with human intention (as structured and directed thought) having the decisive factor for modern human beings. This is despite the fact that during the millions of years of human evolution it has been physical change that has had the upper hand. This change, premised entirely upon environmental pressure and the need to survive, has created the physical structure of the brain that eventually became aware of its own existence. This is to say that physical matter became consciously ‘aware’ of its own presence in the world, became aware of the world itself, and learned to distinguish the difference between the two. Through the development of the higher brain functions, human intellection has come to take precedence over the direction of human evolution, as behaviour that has been cleverly (rather than brutishly) directed, has optimised the chances for human survival as a species. This suggests that human evolution has been nothing but naturally inspired biological and psychological revolutionary activity – an activity that eventually over-spilled into the realm of human culture, politics, religion, art, and socio-economic conditions. Human evolutionary existence has been one of radical and sudden innovations coupled with long periods of stability in structure. Eventually, however, all things permanently change, even if for a time, habit of behaviour and thought create the false reality that everything is fixed, static, and deterministic. Without revolutionary change, human evolution would have ceased millennia ago, and humanity, in all likelihood would have disappeared from the planet. This suggests that political revolution within modern human culture is essential for the survival of the human species, and that the forces of conservatism are counter-productive, anti-evolutionary, anti-intellectual, and destined to doom the human species to extinction. For humanity, evolutionary (and revolutionary) change is the life-blood of existence.

 

Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre – North Cornwall – 1.8.15

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The Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre is situated in 21 acres of purposely cultivated countryside in North Petherwin, just five miles from the town of Launceston, North Cornwall.  Dogs are welcome in the fields ad woods surrounding the Centre, but not in the Centre itself, as many animals run free.  Instead, rustic country walks are catered for outside the Centre, and there is plenty of drinking water for dogs.  The car park has specific shady parking spaces to allow any dogs to stay safely sheltered from direct sunlight.  The Tamar  Otter & Wildlife Centre has Wallabies, Peacocks, Fallow Deer, Muntjac Deer, various species of owls, and many different types of ducks and birds roaming free.  This assortment includes Giant British Rabbits, and of course, Asian and British Otters – the Asian Otters particularly make a tremendous noise and are very playful around mealtimes!   Sometimes, the Fallow Deer, (which are led by a magnificent stag), wander over to visitors and are happy to be hand-fed with food available for purchase from the Centre.  Obviously the nearer to opening time, the more willing the hungry Deer are to come close.  There are also Scottish Wildcats and Polecats that live in very large caged areas outside. Birds of Prey can be seen throughout, and there are talks and demonstrations throughout the day.  This conservation centre is built on reclaimed land, and is a development out of a disused quarry.  The cheeky Meerkats are extraordinary to behold, as is Dasher – the tame and very friendly three-legged Muntjac Deer (a species of small Deer originally found in China).  This is a wonderful experience.  The Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre does not receive any external funding – which is really sad when one considers the very good job the staff and managers do.  The Tearoom is well known and famous for its good quality food and drink.  The Tearoom is open to the public even if the visitors do not which to tour the Centre.  It is a superb place for children and adults alike, and an excellent educational experience:

Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre – North Cornwall

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