Did Albert Einstein Mention Buddhism?

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Albert Einstein apparently held Buddhist philosophy in high regard, stating that it represented both a social science and a natural science. Of course, the Buddha was right when he stated that the human mind can only know a certain level of knowledge within its natural state. This suggests that the Buddha was discussing a human mind unassisted by modern technology. Of course, through the use of the mind in a particular manner, technology can be produced that augments the mind’s ability to perceive and understand phenomena, but the mind itself is always hindered by a ‘knowledge barrier’ as suggested by the Buddha. The Buddha not only rejected a society premised upon theism, but advocated a complete revolutionary break with the past. This aspect of Buddhism is virtually ignored in the bourgeois West, or those Asian counties that embrace predatory capitalism. As for natural science, it is well-known that the Buddha explained how it is that a bowl of water is teeming with life so small the human eye can not ordinarily detect such entities, and that other worlds exist in the universe, more numerous than the grains of sand in the Ganges. The Buddha clarified the two ways of understanding the universe, namely through logic and reason, and a properly guided intuition. Both types of mind activity are required for the development and progression of scientific understanding. In 2012, those with a superstitious and irrational mind-set thought the world was going to end because the Mayan Calendar appeared to indicate this. Buddhism rejects the ‘argument from authority’ premise, and has a much broader concept of time and space (very similar to modern science).

However, in the West there seems to be confusion about whether Albert Einstein really did praise Buddhism, or consider it a ‘scientific’ philosophy. As Western sources all seem to be copying one another’s lack of knowledge on this issue, I have accessed the Chinese language internet to shed some light on this matter. These are the observations, quotes and attributable sources that I have found, gathered from the work of Chinese scholar Fu Dujun (杜福君) [https://www.zhihu.com/question/24587915]:

1) ‘What humanity owes to personalities like Buddha, Moses, and Jesus ranks for me higher than all the achievements of the enquiring and constructive mind.’

Source: Albert Einstein: The Human Side – The Chinese author states the phrase containing the word ‘Buddha could be found, but nothing relating to ‘Buddhist’ or ‘Buddhism’.

2) ‘The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. The religion which based on experience, which refuses dogmatic. If there’s any religion that would cope the scientific needs it will be Buddhism….’

Source: Albert Einstein, quoted in Madalyn Murray O’Hair – All the Questions You Ever Wanted to Ask American Atheists (1982) vol. ii., p. 29 – The Chinese author states that this quote cannot be directly attributed to Albert Einstein – and was probably a product of paraphrasing, condensing and re-imagining a number of known Einstein quotes about Buddhism – as conceived by Madalyn Murray O’hair.

A further note states: A reply from the Einstein Archives of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem states: ‘The quote under discussion which I know is quite ‘popular’, appears to paraphrase some ideas Einstein developed in an essay titled “Religion and Science”, written in 1930. Here, Einstein mentions the “cosmic religiosity” (not religion!), Buddhism, and a belief that avoids dogma and theology.’

3) Einstein’s knowledge of Buddhism comes mainly from Schopenhauer. There is no evidence that Einstein understood Buddhism in its Asian cultural context, or through its broader philosophical implications.

4) Basically, it is clear that Einstein possessed a positive attitude towards Buddhism. In fact, many scientists also have a positive attitude towards Buddhism, but this does not necessarily mean that Buddhism can be of any direct assistance to scientific research, or represents a philosophy higher than science. It is more the case that Buddhism’s understanding of the world seems to be in line with the scientific method. Like science, Buddhism opposes dogma (and agrees with dialectical research), but Buddhism is generally more tolerant toward different types of thinking, than is mainstream science. In-short, the Buddhist integration of wisdom and tolerance allows people to feel good. It should also be noted that this positive attitude of modern science toward Buddhism is ‘generic’, as most scientists (including Einstein) rarely have an in-depth understanding of Buddhist philosophy, and usually do not agree with the concept of re-birth (or reincarnation), as found within popular Buddhism.

Chinese Language Reference Articles:

http://www.chuanxi.com.cn/Article/Content/12596

https://www.zhihu.com/question/24587915

 

Philosophy: Three Theistic Terms

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Technically, the three following terms more correctly fall into the category of the ‘Philosophy of Religion’. Obviously, whether or not an individual ‘believes’ or ‘disbelieves’ in religion is irrelevant to the philosophical exercise of striving to understand the theoretical basis and practice of religions that evolve around a central theistic core element or elements. This is important because theistic religion has served as a primary source for human knowledge and purpose of action for thousands of years, and still continues to exercise that influence over a great many people in the world today. Even if some people describe themselves as ‘atheistic’ (i.e, ‘not’ accepting or believing in a divine concept, or any teachings emanating from such a theistic entity), secular society tends to exhibit religious trends of thought (as morals, ethics and attitudes), although devoid of any obvious or direct religious content or control. In the West, this has been the Judeo-Christian tradition, whilst in modern China, it has been Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism that have set the moral and cultural (national) character. In modem India it has been Brahmanism, whilst in the Middle East it has been Islam, etc. This secular development tends to manifest as a parallel stream of psychological and physical influence alongside the practice of more traditional modes of religion, albeit to varying degrees of intensity, or definitional sociological frameworks. The three Greek terms under discussion in this short essay are:

  1. Theogony
  2. Theurgy
  3. Theology

Theogony literally translates as the ‘origin of the gods’, or more specifically the ‘birth and genealogy of the gods’. It stems from the original Greek word ‘theogonia’ – with ‘theo’ meaning ‘god’, and ‘gonia’ meaning ‘birth’, and by implication, ‘growth’ and ‘development’. ‘Theogony’ is a poem written by the ancient Greek poet Hesiod (8th-7th Centuries BCE), which describes the origins of the ancient Greek gods.This body of knowledge may be considered augmented by the myths and legends as recorded by Homer.

Theurgy literally translates as ‘divine work’, and stems from the original Greek word ‘theourgia’. This term is found in the thinking of ancient and classical Greece, and later in the works of Plotinus. It originally referred to rituals that created the conditions on earth for a ‘divine intervention’ in human affairs. Sometimes referred to as ‘magic’, the practice of ‘theurgy’ is used by Plotinus to refer to the act of ‘contemplation’ or ‘meditation’ designed to ‘unite’ the individual with the ‘divine essence’. In this sense, ‘theurgy’ refers to a set of (disciplined) purification practises, performed with the body and mind, which generate a ‘frequency’ of being here and now, which through its rarefied structure, facilitates the manifestation of a divine presence in the affairs of humanity.

Theology literally translates as the ‘study of god’, or the ‘science of god’, and is a Judeo-Christian term referring specifically to the study of the theory, faith and practice of the monotheistic, Christian tradition in all its various branches, sects, schools and lineages, etc. Theology stems from the original Greek word ‘theologia’, and was used by the early Christian thinkers after Christ, as a means to develop a distinctly ‘Greek’ interpretation of teachings originally delivered in Syriac-Aramaic (the probable language of Jesus Christ), which expressed religious terms as preserved in Hebrew – the language of the ancient Jewish religion. This transition became vital for the early Christians – after that sect of radical Judaism – was ‘expelled’ from the Jewish religion and had to develop an entirely ‘new’ way for interpreting its guiding strictures. The early Christian were Jews who routinely used Hebrew to communicate their non-conformist ideas, and the use of Greek philosophical terms was considered a viable alternative. In this transition, of course, the Greek philosophical terms were ‘changed’ in meaning to suit the strictures of early Christian thought, and to ‘distance’ the emerging Christian Church from the pantheistic and atheistic tendencies found within Greek thought proper. This explains why later Christian leaders ‘banned’ all original Greek thought. As a consequence, and unless otherwise stated, Christian theology ‘rejects’ the notions of ‘theogony’ and ‘theurgy’ as examples of pre-Christian pagan practises and modes of thought.

Decoding Wittgenstein

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was an outstanding British philosopher of affluent Austrian birth (his father had made his considerable fortune through the steel industry). As a consequence, Wittgenstein had a typical bourgeois upbringing in Austria that can only be described as ‘opulent’ in the extreme (when he finally inherited his father’s fortune in 1913 – he was one of the richest men in Europe), prior to his travelling to the UK to study aeronautical engineering at Manchester University in 1908. Due to his lack of experience in practical labour, Wittgenstein proved inadequate in the practical aspects of engineering, and instead turned his mind toward solving theoretical engineering problems through the use of mathematics – this is how he came into contact with Bertrand Russell’s text entitled ‘The Principles of Mathematics’ (1903). This experience led Wittgenstein on the altogether different path of abstract philosophical enquiry, that resulted in him relocating to Cambridge University, and studying under Bertrand Russell. However, during WWI (1914-1918), and despite his academic associations with the UK, Wittgenstein volunteered for military service in the Austrian Army – where he saw action on the Russian-front. After WWI, Wittgenstein continued to apply his mind to the central question of defining logic. This led to the 1921 publication of his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (Latin for ‘Logico-Philosophical Treatise’). This work is often categorised as the ‘Early Wittgenstein’, and in this 75 page masterpiece, Wittgenstein believes that he solves the problem of logic by stating that all language is comprised of ‘pictures’ that are used to explain or give meaning to thoughts in the mind and objects in the environment. According to Wittgenstein, language statements can be true, false, or meaningless, and that ‘logic’ is simply this language symbolism used in in a truthful or meaningful manner. As a middle class person, Wittgenstein lived the high-life of the true ‘individualistic’ bourgeois person – and this explains why – as a young privileged man – he treated language in ‘isolation’, (as if it only happened to one person at a time), and that the use of language was simply that of many isolated individuals quoting tautologies at one another. Being bi-sexual in nature, even his sexual appetites were as unhindered as his economic circumstance, and highly individualistic in nature. As Wittgenstein was trained as an engineer, it is reasonable to assume that he thought that logic could be (or should be) described as if it where a machine comprised of individually functioning parts, that when operated together, produce the desired ‘manufactured’ object. The Tractatus then, appears to be the product of bourgeois individuality, and mechanical determinism expressed as a cogent (youthful) intellectual idea.  Following the publishing of the Tractatus, Wittgenstein believed that he had solved the problem of logic by defining it as being the product of the individualistic use of a symbolic language (with each letter, word and sentence being a picture expressed in thought, through the voice, or as marks on paper, etc), and retired from the world of academic philosophy. What Wittgenstein did achieve with his early work was to draw the attention of philosophers to the very concept and functionality of the language they routinely used, but never fully or adequately assessed during their formulations of theories, ideas and concepts. As a consequence, Wittgenstein even considered mathematics to simply be an extension of language symbolism that only offers abstract truths about the physical world (but which cannot know anything for certain beyond its own symbolism). This is why Bertrand Russell considered the Tractatus to be a work of genius. After spending time teaching, travelling and partaking in various manual jobs, (including that of gardener in  monastery, and later a porter at London’s Guy’s Hospital), Wittgenstein began to mature through meaningful social interaction in the world, and as a consequence of beginning to experience life as understood by less economically privileged people as himself, his ideas about language (and its purpose and meaning), began to change. This led to his writing of his second work of genus entitled ‘Philosophical Investigations’ which was not published until two years after his death in 1953, but which was finished in reality probably by around 1948. It is evident that Wittgenstein was questioning his own theory of ‘isolated’ or ‘individualistic’ symbolic language as early as 1933, as can be seen from content of the ‘The Blue Book’. The content and conclusions of the ‘Philosophical Investigations’ is generally termed the ‘Latter Wittgenstein’ and differs from his Tractatus in that language is now re-interpreted as a ‘social’ or ‘collective activity that has no inherent meaning if the rules of the game are not understood and applied during meaningful social interaction. Bertrand Russell considered this paper to be mundane and in many ways missing the point Wittgenstein had established in the original Tractatus.

 

Email: Buddha, Nagarjuna, Plotinus and the World of Matter (6.9.2017)

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Dear N

Thank you for your very interesting Plotinus quotation and Nagarjuna-related question.

The tetralemma of the Indian Buddhist monk Nagarjuna states:

1) All exists.

2) All does not exist.

3) All exists and does not exist.

4) All neither exists or does not exist.

This is how Nagarjuna (the 14th Ch’an Patriarch) summarises the entirety of the Buddha’s teaching. Therefore, we may state that:

a) The mind exists.

b) The mind does not exist.

c) The mind both exists and does not exist.

d) The mind neither exists nor does not exist.

This may be viewed as a developmental schematic of ever deepening understanding or awareness of the mind-body nexus and its essence. Exactly the same analysis can be applied to ‘matter’ but not to ‘spirit’ – as the Buddha rejected the notion of a spirit or mind that exists in opposition (or ‘outside’ of) the material world. In the Theravada School the mind-body nexus is ‘empty’ of ‘atma’ (or ‘soul’), but appears to contain a personal self (i.e. perceiving ‘mind’ function) that is a temporary coming together of elements which dissipate at death. In this school the physical world ‘exists’, but is ‘empty’ of any permanent state. In the Mahayana and Vajrayana Schools – the idea of ‘emptiness’ is exactly the same – but is extended so as to imply (or suggest) that the world of physical matter is ‘empty’ of any and all substantiality. However, as the Buddha also rejected any notions of ‘eternalism’ and ‘nihilism’ – these schools must be careful in their analysis. Therefore, we can say:

i) The world of matter exists.

ii) The world of matter does not exist.

iii) The world of matter both exists and does not exist.

iv) The world of matter neither exists nor does not exist.

Perhaps the 4th statement is the enlightened position, and although the world of matter may not exist as we think it does – it is also true from a Buddhist perspective – that the world of matter does not exist as we may presume it not to. This is not merely a matter of semantics – but a matter of actual inner and outer realisation attained through self-cultivation, experience and assessment. In the Four Noble Truths the Buddha clearly states that material existence is the basis of physical life and all subsequent philosophical development. This suggests that existence and the world of physical matter are inherently linked, integrated and entwined. In other words, the Buddha appears to be stating that a non-embodied existence is impossible, as the basis for life. In this regard, he is in agreement with the Greek philosopher Epicurus (with life being a special arrangement of atoms that congeal at conception, and fall apart at physical death). This view would correlate with the Buddha’s five aggregates – although the Buddha does seem to entertain a ‘limited’ notion of rebirth (not evident in the five aggregates themselves) which is negated at the point of the realisation of enlightenment.

As for Plotinus, it is important to consider that his original Greek thought has been translated into Western languages usually involving an underlying Judeo-Christian influence that attempts to separate his teaching into a ‘rejected’ material world and an ‘accepted’ spiritual world (that stands in opposition to the material world). One prime example of this modern Eurocentric bias is the continuous rendering of the Greek ‘psyche’ (i.e. ‘breath of life’) as the Judeo-Christian ‘soul’ which implies a completely different meaning. The Greek ‘pyscho’ refers to the spark of life in the functioning conscious mind that defines human existence – whilst the Judeo-Christian ‘soul’ is a completely different entity that links a monotheistic entity to each individual person. A ‘soul’ may be related to an individual’s mind and body – but remains continuously ‘distinct’ from both the mind and body, so that at the point of physical death, the ‘soul’ survives and moves into another dimension of existence (leaving the mind and body behind). The confusion arises from the fact that the early Christian ideologues took the Greek term ‘psyche’ and changed its definition and usage (rejecting the original Greek meaning). Later, when Christianity spread into pagan Germany, the non-Christian Germans believed in a pagan entity called a ‘soul’ which the Christian missionaries could not prevent. Their answer was to usurp this non-Christian term and use it in a Christian manner, therefore, a distorted interpretation of the Christianised Greek ‘psyche’ became commonly known as ‘soul’ within Christian theology. As I said above, the Christianised ‘soul’ concept has no bearing whatsoever upon the philosophy developed by non-Christian Greeks! I think this is important because the term ‘matter’ is often viewed within non-Christianised Greek philosophy – a priori from a Christian position. Obviously, this is incorrect and constitutes a ‘category error’. Plotinus does use various words referring to ‘divine’ or ‘god-like’ states of mind – but despite seeking a realisation of ‘Oneness’ – the schematic of Plotinus has nothing to do with monotheism. From correctly translating from the Greek, it would appear that Plotinus is advocating an ever rarefied perception of the essential nature of material existence – with lesser understanding in the material world serving to ‘corrupt’ matter. This may be taken to imply that the deep insight that Plotinus found (and according to him – all people possess) is ‘hidden’ by an obscuring layer of ‘not understanding’ material existence in its highest frequency. Perhaps today, this might correspond to human awareness (or ‘consciousness’) at its highest degree of development, being associated with light energy, and ignorance as being trapped in congealed light energy, (i.e. light energy slowed down), which constitutes material existence.

Best Wishes

Adrian

PS: Curiously, as far as I am aware, the Pali term ‘atma’ also means ‘breath of life’ – like the Greek term ‘psyche’. For religionists, this ‘breath’ or ‘spark’ is divine, whilst for materialists, this term is natural in origin.

Chinese Syncretism & Hakka Taiping Uprising (Email)

0000000000000

Email to ‘AS’ on the 3.9.2016

Dear Venerable
Thank you for your interesting email.
Through the historical habit of ‘syncretism’ in China, radically different and representative spiritual or material elements can be ‘aligned’ (either temporarily or permanently), so that an ‘intersection’ between different philosophical schools can be achieved.  The point of this was to remove the the potential for violence between competing socio-spiritual entities.  This policy sometimes when individual emperors launched pogroms either against Buddhism or Daoism (depending on which they supported, or opposed).  In the 19th century, the Hakka people rose-up against the Qing Dynasty (Taiping Uprising), combining Missionary Christianity, with Chinese Cosmology – with a ‘new’ Chinese ‘Son of God’.  Of course, the Western churches took exception to this and provided the non-Christian Qing Dynasty with the modern weapons to defeat the formerly victorious Hakka Armies.  Shen () corresponds to the realisation of expansive and all-embracing space (as described in both Daoist and Buddhist teachings).  Interestingly, the Daoist concepts of qi () and jing (), are quite often represented by the single Chinese ideogram ‘炁’ (qi) which suggests an integration of ‘breath’ (氣 – Qi) and ‘essential nature’ (精 – Jing) achieved during successful self-cultivation.  ‘炁’ (qi) is used as a transliteration of the Sanskrit ‘prana’.  I am referring here, of course, to the ‘Three Treasures’ (San Bao – 三寶) of which shen is a part.  Now, if the three Daoist gods of the three purities can be related to the three treasures, and the three treasures linked to the three bodies of the Buddha (Trikaya), then there is a trail of evidence!
With Metta
Adrian

Was Ho Chi Minh a Taiwanese Hakka?

Ho-Hak-01

Original Chinese Language Article By: Chinese History & Literature Institute (中華文史學會)

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

The name of ‘Ho Chi Minh’ (胡志明 – Hu Zhi Ming) is a very familiar name in Vietnam, Taiwan, Mainland China, and through the Chinese diaspora.  In fact the name Ho Chi Minh is held in the same respect as that of Sun Yat-Sen (孫中山 – Sun Zhong Shan).  He handled, fought and then defeated the imperialist Japanese and French regimes in Vietnam, and successfully steered Communist North Vietnam toward a final victory over the imperialist forces of the Western, democratic camp.

In 1930, Ho Chi Minh established the Indochinese Communist Party (which later became known as the Vietnamese Labour Party, and then the Communist Party of Vietnam).  In 1941, Ho Chi Minh founded the ‘Viet Minh’ (越南獨立同盟會 – Yue Nan Du Li Tong Meng Hui) – also referred to as the ‘Union of Vietnam’ (越盟 – Yue Meng).  Following Japan’s defeat in 1945, Ho Chi Minh led the Viet Minh as a Revolutionary Army, and unified the whole of geographical Vietnam under a single Vietnamese rule.  On September 2nd, 1945, Ho Chi Minh formally declared the founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.   As the Republic of China had sent around 180,000 Chinese troops into Vietnam (to disarm the defeated Japanese), the Democratic Republic of Vietnam arranged its government along Kuomingtang lines – with a ‘Nationalist’ faction and a ‘Communist’ faction working together (later, the Nationalist faction would be liquidated, with its members fleeing to South Vietnam where it formed a ‘puppet’ government backed by the USA – becoming the ‘Republic of Vietnam’).  Ho Chi Minh set about ruling a united nation until the French colonialist troops landed on the 17th parallel (separating Vietnam into ‘North’ and ‘South’ sections) – and initiating the First Vietnam (or ‘Indochina’) War.  A major player in these events was Ho Chi Minh.

In the records of the Communist Party of Vietnam (supported from evidence from Communist Parties around the world), Ho Chi Minh was born into a Vietnamese family of Confucian scholars.  In the Chinese language, Ho Chi Minh is known as ‘Ruan Ai Guo’ (阮愛國).  This is pronounced in Vietnamese as ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’.  Ho Chi Minh was born in 1890, in the Nghe An province of Vietnam.  Nguyen Ai Quoc joined the Communist Party of France in 1923, and through this action came into contact with Zhou Enlai (周恩來) of the Communist Party of China.  At this time, Nguyen Ai Quoc also joined the Communist Party of China.  He then travelled to the Soviet Union in 1923, at the same time that Sun Yat-Sen in China had begun negotiations with the Communist faction – moving the Kuomingtang to the left.  Part of this policy included the founding of the new officer training centre at the Whampoa Military Academy.  Whilst living in Guangzhou, China, Nguyen Ai Quoc founded the Marxist-Leninist ‘Vietnam Revolutionary Youth League’.   This led to many momentous events within history, and during the Anti-Japanese War, Nguyen Ai Quoc changed his name to the famous ‘Ho Chi Minh’.  He founded North Vietnam and the North Vietnamese Army that defeated the French, before he passed away during North Vietnam’s successful war against the US.

Above is the generally accepted historical narrative for Ho Chi Minh in the East, but now there is a dissenting voice from Taiwan that claims that the man the world knows as ‘Ho Chi Minh’ is not Vietnamese, but rather a Taiwanese Hakka.  This idea has been voiced by Mr Hu Junxiong (胡俊熊) from Miaoli County – who has written an excellent scholarly work entitled ‘Research into Ho Chi Minh’s Biography’ (胡志明生平考 – Hu Zhi Ming Sheng Ping Kao).  Hu Junxiong correctly states that ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc was an important Communist innovator in Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh must be considered the Socialist founding father of the modern Vietnamese nation.’  However, he then goes onto state that ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc is not Ho Chi Minh.’  What does he mean by this statement?

In this book, Hu Junxiong states that within his family there was a Communist hero named Hu Jizhang (胡集璋).  During the era of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, Hu Jizhang was a member of the Communist Party of Taiwan.  In this book, there is the presentation of much archived newspaper articles, reports, important biographical material, and details of his imprisonment.  After his release from prison, Hu Jizhang fled Taiwan and travelled to Guangzhou in China. It is here that Hu Jizhang was ordered to assume the identity of ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ to further the Communist Revolution in Vietnam (and Indochina) along Soviet lines.  In the early 1930’s he was recognised as a prominent member of the Third Communist International.  This book states that records in Moscow have revealed that the real ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ in fact died of tuberculosis in 1924.  However, history also shows that ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ again appears on the world stage in 1931 as a member of the Communist Party of China, and a builder of Marxist-Leninist movements in Vietnam.  This culminated in the founding of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and Nguyen Ai Quoc was sent to the Soviet Union for advanced study – this is known through Soviet records, which include identity photographs.

hu002

Hu Jizhang – Communist Party of Taiwan Report

When the Japanese imperialists invaded East Asia – Nguyen Ai Quoc first took on the pseudonym ‘Hu Guang’ (胡光), and then later ‘Ho Chi Minh’.  At this point it is important for the reader to understand that the Chinese surname ‘胡’ is usually pronounced ‘Hu’ within Chinese culture, and ‘Ho’ within Vietnam, and is a common Hakka surname in Taiwan.  The theory in the book is that ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ later reverted to his real family name of ‘Hu’, or ‘Ho’.

There is discussion in the book about a visit by Ho Chi Minh and a number of other officials, after Independence, to meet the (pre-revolutionary period) wife of ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ (it is unclear whether it was in China or Vietnam), but it was reported that when this lady set eyes on ‘Ho Chi Minh’, she stated that she did not know this man.  It is interesting to note that ‘Ho Chi Minh’ seems to be ‘unknown’ amongst the ordinary people – even those who supposedly knew ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ quite well.  A close examination of a photograph of ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ taken in France in 1923, and a photograph of ‘Ho Chi Minh’ taken in Moscow in 1924, reveal a number of differences, including the eyes and ears.

apf2320090414101825105      apf2320090413064345211

This book investigates interesting questions about whether Ho Chi Minh was a Taiwanese Hakka, or an ethnic Vietnamese?  It also keeps alive the memory of Hu Jizhang and the Taiwanese Communist Party that was eradicated by the Nationalists when they took control of the island.  It also offers narratives about the ‘disappearance’ of Hu Jizhang, and draws attention to the many vagaries surrounding the life of Ho Chi Minh.

This is an excellent piece of historical research by Mr Hu Junxiong that links old Taiwan to modern Vietnam, and Taiwanese Hakka to ethnic Vietnamese culture.  This suggests that other people should research their own family history and bring to light new and interesting information that helps build a better understanding of history and historical events.  I suspect that in time more information will come to light about the assumed connection between Hu Jizhang and Ho Chi Minh.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2016.

Original Chinese Language Source Article:

https://sites.google.com/site/chineseppa/doyouknow/yuenanrenminzhengquandeguofu、yuegongdizaozhe–huzhimingshitaiwanjikejiaren

越南國父、越共締造者–胡志明是台灣籍客家人?

文@中華文史學會

胡志明 (Hồ Chí Minh),這個名字是全體越南人再熟悉不過的稱謂,就差不多像台灣、大陸地區與海外華僑心底的國父 孫中山先生一樣的地位。

他是越南獨立於日本帝國主義與法蘭西殖民主義統治的推手,在當時民主陣營眼中他是個共產陣營在越南北部所安置的危機。

胡志明先後在1930年成立印度支那共產黨(後來改組為越南勞動黨,即現今越南共產黨)與1941年成立的越南獨立同盟會(簡稱”越盟”)。後來於1945年日本投降之際,胡志明率領越盟的革命軍隊佔領全越南,並於9月2日宣布越南民主共和國的成立,且在中華民國政府推動之下越南民主共和國的兩大政黨–越南國民黨與越南共產黨組成聯合內閣(後來國民黨被共產黨清算,開始逃往南越,與美國陣營成立越南共和國/越南民國),開始政府運作。直到法國政府登陸佔領北緯17度線以南的國土,越南分裂南北,開始了第一次越南戰爭(印度支那戰爭)的序幕。而這一些事件的主要參與者就是革命之父—-胡志明。

就越南共產黨官方與世界上所有共產黨的資料都顯示胡志明的原名是阮愛國 (Nguyễn Ái Quốc)是出生在1890年的越南義安省的學者家庭。阮愛國最早在1923年加入法國共產黨,依此與中國共產黨的周恩來有了聯繫。此時的阮愛國也加入了中共,並在中國國民黨仿效蘇聯黨軍化、納共化(中共黨員加入國民黨,即第一次國共合作時期)時,成為了陸軍軍官學校(黃埔軍校)的教職人員。在中國廣州的同時,他也組織了一個叫做越南青年革命同志會的同鄉會。等等經歷許多歷史事件與歷程後,此時的阮愛國已於抗戰時改名為”胡志明”,並開始建黨、建軍、建國,最終帶領北越人民參與抗法戰爭,最終因病辭世。

但在台灣有人開始提出了反對意見,他就是苗栗客家的胡俊熊先生。他寫了一本名作【胡志明生平考】的籍冊,當中主要說明著 :「阮愛國是越南共產的先驅,而胡志明是社會主義越南的建國者……」在這裡看起來胡俊熊是沒有錯的,但其內涵表示著”阮愛國不等於胡志明”。這是怎麼回事呢 ?

在這本書當中述說著胡俊熊先生家族當中有一位共產革命英雄–胡集璋。胡集璋是當時日據時代的台灣共產黨人,在書中的許多報章都有列出其被逮入獄以及簡歷資料。不過後來胡集璋出獄後就流亡到中國廣州,最終在1930年代,被共產第三國際揀選,命令他取代原先越南革命者–阮愛國的地位,因為妄想赤化全世界的蘇聯共黨不希望在越南與中南半島的成果半途而廢,於是才作出此決定。

且書中也有提及,在莫斯科資料記述表明阮愛國已於1924年就已經死於肺結核,但在1931年阮愛國卻復活了,且開始繼續在中國共產黨與越南共產革命團體活動。越共官方與莫斯科表示這幾年阮愛國出國到蘇聯深造去了,並且還公布留有他在莫斯科的照片,以此作為證明。

後來在日本侵略東亞之時,這一個”阮愛國”開始化名為”胡光”,且在接下來的所有假名都是以”胡”做為姓氏。最後到抗戰後期,他化名作”胡志明”。在我們台灣人眼中這有著神奇的韻味,就是他竟然叫作”志明”,這不是台灣男性中最普遍的名字嗎 ? 他取這個名字後就再也不化名,不取假名了。就以”胡志明”作為真正性命使用下去。

關於台灣共產黨員–胡集璋的報導

沒記錯的話書中有談及在越南獨立後,胡志明與幾個黨員前去探訪在革命前的”妻子”,即阮愛國的妻子(不過忘記是中國的還是越南的),聽說”阮愛國”探訪,迫不及待地打開房門,一瞧,她嘴裡說出了類似「我不認識這個人」的話語。這也是值得讓人思考的地方。

不過就筆者言,仔細一瞧阮愛國於1923年的照片與1924年的胡志明照片竟然有些許差別,像是在眼神方面、頭型方面,最明顯的是耳朵的部分。如下 :

最後,我們姑且不論胡志明究竟是否是台灣人還是他就像共產黨官方所說的是位本土越南人,但在這本書當中給我們對於台灣共產黨,這一個失落記憶中的政黨的一個認識,以及對於台共青年胡集璋的生平了解以及其”莫名的失蹤”開啟與越南革命的一個巧妙連結。

從一本書之曉台灣與越南兩個地區的共產黨歷史發展,胡俊熊先生出版這本書可以說是值得的。希望胡俊熊先生與其家屬可以對於族親胡集璋的研究更加深入,我相信有朝一日,胡集璋與胡志明的真相定會大白。

The Rise of Western-inspired Buddho-Fascism

images (5)

The Buddha may have been the first spiritual teacher to overtly base his teaching upon anti-racism.  A true Buddhist harbours no hate in either mind or body towards others, but quietly works to uproot ignorance in the mind and to perpetuate enlightened wisdom in the world.  However, despite this firm philosophical foundation, racism and intolerance towards others has spread into some aspects of Buddhism; a corruption of the Buddha’s pristine teachings by Western imperialist attitudes.  In fact modern Japanese nationalism imported from the West (since 1868) has often imbued racism into Buddhist philosophy, and this exactly mirrors the Western racism observable in various Buddhist countries throughout Southeast Asia today, with its emphasis upon pursuing a destructive ‘anti-Islamic’ rhetoric.  Racism is also readily observable in the West through the opinions and attitudes held by various individuals who have voluntarily ‘embraced’ what appears to them to be the ‘exotic’ path of Asian Buddhism.  Western-style racism is also observable throughout the so-called ‘pro-Tibetan’ movement in the West and its a priori position of racial hatred toward China, Chinese culture and the Chinese people.  This is compounded by the fact that some middle class people in the West form ‘Western’ Buddhist groups that are inherently ‘anti-Asian’ in essence, (that is their members quite naturally hold ‘racist’ viewpoints toward Asian people and Asian cultures), whilst simultaneously wearing robes, shaving their heads, and ascribing to themselves ‘Asian’ sounding names.  In many ways this parodies the odious ‘black and white minstrels’, whereby in the Buddhist sense, ‘white’ Europeans dress-up in ‘foreign’ clothing and pretend to ‘mimic’ Asian culture.  Whereas black consciousness and political awareness groups have successfully campaigned to get this type of racist misrepresentation ‘removed’ from mainstream entertainment, no such ‘Asian’ movement has so far succeeded to the same degree, or in the same manner, although awareness of this issue definitely exists amongst various Asian groups from both within and outside of Asia.  The problem for Asian Buddhism in the West is that its Eurocentric mimicry has gone unopposed and has become acceptable to the mainstream, but what about Buddhism in the East?

Buddhism in the East is the home of true Buddhism.  The Buddha taught a philosophy of psychology and behaviour that essentially revolutionised how humanity viewed existence and its self.  He did this probably before the Greeks had their ‘awakening’ and over two thousand years before Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels managed a similar feat with their theory of Scientific Socialism in the 19th century CE.  However, despite this pure philosophy that emphasises the uprooting of greed, hatred and delusion through the act of meditation, over the last four hundred years or so, Asia has been subjected to the most ruthless occupation and manipulation by the forces of Western imperialism and colonialism.  This has exposed the Asian people to all the negative aspects of the Western mind-set, mediated through racism, violence and sexual promiscuity.  Racism and religious bigotry became the currency through which Europeans and Asians interacted, and Asians were judged either ‘worthy’ or ‘unworthy’ by their colonial masters, depending entirely upon how well they succumbed to, or resisted the racial terror.  Western colonialism throughout Asia spread a rampant Christianisation that used ‘intolerance’ and ‘racism’ as its primary mainstays.  This rapid importation of a foreign, and highly aggressive religion demanded that all Asian belief systems be either abandoned, radically altered, or be subservient toward the Western Christian Church and the capitalist ideology it overtly supported.

Today, the anti-Muslim sentiment that exists within some groups of Asian Buddhism is directly the result of the historical importation of Western racism and prejudice into Asian communities during the imperialist era, and of the spread of Islamophobia from the West through direct and contemporary Western, political influence, and through social media.  Why do certain Buddhist monks living in Thailand or Burma hold-up anti-Muslim placards written in English, and not in the language of their respective countries or communities?  To whom are these Buddhist monks showing their racist attitudes?  Certainly not to their fellow Buddhists, or even to the Muslims they so claim to hate.  The Western distortion that creates ‘racism’ in the minds of some Asians is simple to discern as it is the exact inverse of the teachings of the Buddha.  Western racism is premised upon greed, hatred, and delusion, whereas the Buddha’s message is premised upon non-greed, non-hatred, and non-aggression.  As ‘racism’ toward anyone is the manifestation of ‘hatred’, then it is obvious that Buddhists who ‘hate’ anyone (including Muslims) are not following legitimate Buddhist teachings, but rather the prescriptions of Western racism.

This intolerance, however, manifests in other ways, such as that of religious bigotry and distorted fundamentalism.  Many Asian Buddhists, mimicking the behaviour of those who follow theistic religions, have developed an inappropriate ‘fundamentalist’ attitude toward Buddhist teachings and traditions that are ‘theistic’ in nature, and which denigrate the Buddha (and his image) into something approaching a ‘god-like’ entity.  This thinking is ‘threatening’ in nature, and demands a certain type of unquestioned obedience toward an assumed ‘orthodoxy’ – the very position that the Buddha denied as being spiritually valid.  This is Buddhism mimicking Eurocentric Christianity, and manifesting an intolerant ‘nationalistic’ attitude that is essentially ‘fascist’ in nature.  Buddho-fascism (like Islamo-fascism) is a creation of Western imperialism that has successfully exported religious intolerance and bigotry around the world.  Buddhists in Asia who hold such views are political ‘fascists’ and not spiritual Buddhists.  All Asian (and Western Buddhists) have to do to rectify this situation is apply the genuine teachings of the Buddha, and uproot greed, hatred, and delusion from the human mind, and greed, hatred, and delusion from human interaction.

 

 

The Agency of Disagreement

u=748195942,1199993164&fm=21&gp=0

Social media is primarily designed to share the world of visual imagery – but what does this mean?  For many it is merely the conveyance of photographs, paintings, pictures or written descriptions of objects or circumstance, whilst for others this process includes not only the outer texture of an object or an event, but also the ‘inner’ terrain of the mind when experiencing the outer object (i.e. the psychological and emotional response).  This tends to mean three ways of conveying (or communicating)  the world:

1) External description.

2) Internal description.

3) Integrated description.

As people are conditioned to think and react differently to exactly the same outer world, this means that an external object (or event) will be interpreted in a diverse and bewildering number of ways by different people.  Therefore a ‘tree’ for example, even if there is a general consensus that it is a ‘tree’, will be inwardly ‘experienced’ in a diverse manner.  Assuming the outer world is a sensory constant (in as much as for the time being it is always likely to be ‘there’) then it is obvious that it is the psychological and emotional responses of the inner person that is responsible for human creativity.  Ironically this dynamic process also ensures that where there is ‘creativity’ there will also be disagreement – as the agency of ‘disagreement’ appears to be the price humanity pays for being able to think for itself.  This being the case, conflict can be avoided by planning for it.  How an individual responds to the outer world is a matter of upbringing and conditioning, but the interesting point about this is that the concept of ‘conditioning’ is an ongoing process that take surprising twist and turns, even if at times many appear stuck in their ways.  The way to maintain peace is to be able to present ‘difference’ in a robust and convincing manner, so that those who do not like what you say (or do) are encouraged to seek-out why their inner world differs from your own.  This is an individual process of continuous inner and outer dialogue with the external world and inner psychological imprint of that world, as well as the learning process of sharing different viewpoints with others an having those viewpoints either validated or challenged in a constructive and progressive manner.  Education regarding the outer world, and an appreciation of the workings of the inner world are required if the average individual is to maximise the benefit of the human tendency toward the development and advancement of evolutionary knowledge.  If too much time is spent fighting over whose inner experiences are more valid than anyone else’s, then humanity will cease to progress.  There must be clarity of thought and the ability to acknowledge when the quality of thought has been improved through the agency of a difference of opinion.

 

US Death Penalty as Domestic Terrorism

aDP-002

The capitalist system is inherently unequal.  It privileges a minority with immense wealth whilst disempowering and alienating the majority.  The minority (i.e. the bourgeoisie) retain their wealth through defining and controlling the political and education systems and the structure of society which is default set to keep the impoverished minority (i.e. the proletariat) firmly in its place with no hope of improvement.  Religion plays a fundamental role in this disempowerment and continuation of ignorance from one generation to the next.  In the US the Death Penalty is used in a number of States to punish those whose behaviour has been conditioned through the auspices of the bourgeois oppression they have faced since birth.  Crime in capitalist societies is the exact consequence of bourgeois oppression against the masses.  Those who are made desperate through hunger, poverty, race-hate, religious fundamentalism and sexual perversity manifest these bourgeois traits in their everyday behaviour.   In the US it is the individual victims of capitalism that are brutally murdered by State sanctioned violence (in the execution chamber) – whilst the State continues to function unaffected by the entire duplicitous procedure.  Murdering the working class is nothing but the product of Judeo-Christian revenge, and is backward and medieval in nature.  Documentaries on US television covering the Death Penalty are designed to turn State sanctioned killing into something of a fetish for the middle class so that they feel ‘safe’ in their gated communities.  Execution squads in these US prisons are comprised of dead-eyed individuals that lack any moral compass, and who describe what they do as a social service, and think that they comprise an ‘elite’ or ‘special force’ on the frontline of fighting crime.  Their amoral certainty and unquestioning and unthinking dedication to duty is reminiscent of those Nazi Germans who comprised the Waffen SS, and who described their murderous activities in much the same language.  Execution is murder and the US system views itself as so correct in its religious fundamentalism that it has mastered the judicial murder of its own citizens behind closed doors.  The only difference between US judicial murder and the murder employed by terrorists is that the terrorists carry-out their atrocities in public – as can be seen through the actions perpetuated by Israel through its illegal occupation of Palestine.  The domestic US policy of murdering its own citizens is reflected by the US foreign policy of supporting fascism and other equally despicable regimes throughout the world, in furtherance of its policy of inflicting terrorism on the international community.

Huanglong Ch’an Poem

aChanPoem-001

An isolated hut on a mountain-top that towers above a thousand-peaks,

In one half an old monk – the other half a cloud.

Last night a storm blew the cloud away,

The cloud did not equal the old monk’s silent manner.

Original Chinese Language Text:

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_464cd0330100kw9o.html

黄龙禅宗诗

千峰顶上一间屋,

 老僧半间云半间。

昨夜云随风雨去;

到头不似老僧闲。

 

%d bloggers like this: