Also you get soft. You’re not on the qui vive. If you develop flabby muscles because you never get involved in a fight. And so gradually the successful group fails. With the group which managed to obliterate all its enemies will fall apart. So, what are we to do about that? See, part of the whole joke of present day international politics is that the United States in order with its vast prosperity and enormous facilities for living the lazy life must have an external enemy to get excited about. And so, even though the Cold War is in a way, total nonsense, and everybody who is in the know about anything knows it. That for example, an atomic war between Russia and the United States will simply end of the human race. But the populace has to be kept bamboozled. And we ke keep fighting wars like in Vietnam in order to keep everybody excited and in order to make a frackas out and to give the soldiers practice. It’s a horrible business, but but that’s the way things run. And the question is, can we run the human race? Without the awful bloodshed and murders and tortures and all that kind of thing can we somehow introduce a new kind of gamesmanship as a substitute for war. It’s the same thing in business. Exactly. If you wipe out your competitor, then you have no reason to produce anything but a lousy product. And then you may make lots of money, because then you’ve wiped out your competitors. You’ve got the whole market, and then you’ve got this money what you’re going to buy with it. Well you know there’s nothing to buy said other people’s lousy products you wiped out their competitors. Or who cheated the public by packaging the thing to look elegant, but it was nothing inside that’s all you got to buy.
So naturally, if you’re a success in General Motors you go and buy a Rolls Royce remained. Or you go buy a Mercedes, from Germany because I happen to be better cars. Or if you want to make a lot of money in the clothing industry here making wretched prints and you want some good clothes what do you do when you have to go to Mexico and buy the things peasants wear, because they’re still substantial solid, damn good clothes. So you see, there’s something always self defeating in these attempts to succeed. Because say nothing fails like success. So, for this reason then, the Taoist always had an attitude of caution. Cautious Lao Tzu says, as one who crosses a river in spring. That means either because of the spring floods or because the ice is still there and you’re not quite sure how strong it is. Because it’s beginning to thaw.
So, the, what the Taoist tries to develop is a sensibility to the situation. He tries to feel out intuitively what kind of action is required under these circumstances, because he feels that he can never discover it analytically. With his conscious attention alone. Well now, to talk in modern western terms about how this is done, we must realize of course that we are equipped inside our heads with an absolutely fantastic thing called the brain. With its millions and millions of neurons cells it is as it were, the most amazing computer ever devised. Basic to the Taoist attitude to life is that you have that within you and you may if you don’t know anything about brains very much call it intuition or something of that kind but you have within you the most amazing logical analyzer that exists in the known world. And the point is to get it to work for you. And instead of trying with conscious attention alone, which can only think of about three things at a time without using a pencil. That is to say, keep three variables in mind at once. Very few people can do four without using a pencil. You can do four if you’re a trained musician where you got for your playing for different lines of a fugue, say you’re keeping four variables in mind at once with an organist you can go from four to six because you’ve got your two feet and they’re playing too. But that requires a higher amount of training to be able, with conscious attention to keep these many variables in mind. But the world around us has infinitely many variables going in it, and you can reason out something with your conscious verbal thinking. Say you want to make a contract in business and you figure out how to make it. Whether it will be a good contract, whether it will work but cetera et cetera and you think of all these things and write them down and you make the contract you think that’s fine but one of the variables that you couldn’t possibly include in the contract was that your partner would slip on a banana skin and break his neck. All sorts of things I mean the contract might make provisions and if your lawyer was thoughtful of what was to be done on the case of the disability of any of the part is there to cetera but eventually there are so many possibilities that can occur that you cannot think of them all.
So then the question arises, is it within the power of the human brain to comprehend, because of its immense complexity, in a kind of are un or subconscious way what the surface consciousness can never grasp and that the Taoist would say certainly it can. But you’ve got to learn to use your brain. By allowing it. To go to work on your problems without interfering with it and then it will deliver you a decision. And this is why, when you get to when you get to the real study of Taoist and Zen Buddhist practice, you get to the point where you learn to act without making decisions. Or rather, to use a more exact word, without choosing. Krishnamurti talks a great deal about being choicelessly aware. And he says freedom is precisely the state of not having to choose. Now that sounds quite paradoxical, because we’re always talking about freedom of choice. Choice is not a form of freedom in the sense of the word what is choice in the sense of the word choice is the act of hesitation that we make before making a decision. It is a mental wobbling. You know some people when they take up a pen to write they don’t just write but they jiggle the pen around indecisively like this, and then start writing. Or a person comes into a room and wonders who to talk to and sort of is in doubt you see in that moment he is choosing. Whereas a person who comes into a room and decides who to approach, he doesn’t wait to choose. We say, ‘He is decisive.’ But that’s a funny saying, because it means he doesn’t stop to decide. So in the training in Zen Buddhism which is simply a Buddhist extension of dollars I’m it all it was then Buddhism arose out of the marriage of Buddhism and Taoism in the fifth century A.D.. And over the following centuries.
So they have a way of training you so that you always act without choosing. For example, there was one day a leaky roof. And there were a couple of monks attending the Zen master and he said The roof is leaking. One monk disappeared and came back instantly with a sieve. And put it on the drips another month after some time came back with a bucket. And a master praised the one who brought the siv. Now, the action wasn’t exactly appropriate. I mean, you know to catching rain, but the point was that he was in the spirit of the Zen discipline, by acting without choosing. And you’ll notice this with certain people. Certain people never hesitate. They always seem, if something needs to be done, they seem somehow simply to grab something and do it. You know, which is a kind of a Zen capacity.
So what happens is this. That, the teacher of Zen constantly throws curves of his students and puts them in Dilemma situations where they have to act immediately. One of the things of course that you mustn’t do is rush because rush is a form of hesitation. You, rushing, when a person rushes to get a train he starts to fall over his own feet see so it really holds him up it’s like trying to drive at high speed through the water with a blunt-nosed boat. That’s rush. But now what he’s trying to get is a kind of a smooth unhesitating flowing action that is the response to the challenge. And it must be done in the what with what is called, another use of this word mu. This is called Wunyin in Chinese on Muyin in Japanese. And this word now in. Is composed of the character meaning now and the character meaning mindheart Shin. And so has the meaning of a thought, but especially for us, it is well translated by the psychological term blocking. Your blocking. You say to someone when they hesitate, when they dither, when they stop to choose
So the attitude of Moonen or Wunyin is the I’m blocked mind. Where it doesn’t hesitate ever. Just as the river doesn’t hesitate when it flows, and just when you clap your hands the sound comes out without hesitation and when the moon rises, the water doesn’t wait to reflect it, it reflects it instantly. So that instant reflection, or it’s a kind of resonance, is what is looked for as a response of the individual to his environment. And he does this to the degree that he knows himself to be one with his environment. Then his, his capacity for response increases in according to the way in which he feels that he is simply all of a piece with it and not something that is in it and with a barrier around him through which messages have to get and then those decisions have to be made up and sent out.
So then, you could say that a kind of extremely subtle sensory awareness has to be developed as between the individual and his environment, so that he feels it out. Now today, this sort of talk is very unpopular, because scientifically-minded people, especially academics scientists. Those who teach in universities, are exceedingly suspicious of intuitive reactions. I say oh wah wah wah, you can get into all sorts of trouble that way. But the thing that they neglect to do to realize is that everybody uses it. Even the most meticulously careful, analytical, rigorous sound scientist uses intuitive judgment after a certain point why? Because you may accumulate data forever. And you may decide that this is on the whole, taking all do things into due consideration and proceed as having been worked out that this is the right thing to do why do you decide then? Mostly because time’s up. And somebody is pressing for a decision or else you’re bored to death with bringing in data. Because you never know much how much data you need to make a certain decision, and therefore you may go on collecting data to all is blue but in the last analysis you’ll work on hunch. And so much is actually in the end decided by flipping coins. And the pity of flipping coins for making decisions gives you only two choices. Heads or tails. One way or the other the Chinese have a more subtle way of flipping coins. They have a method of a sixty four sided coin, to flip. So that instead of just heads or tails there are sixty four possibilities of coming to a decision when you don’t know what to do. This is called the I Ching, or the Book of Changes, where the symbols of yang onion that is to say for Yang and yin. The straight line undivided for year in a line broken in the middle there are sixty four ways of combining six of these lines in a hexagram.
And so, there is a complex method, when you have to make a grave decision for the tossing. You do it by tossing sticks or coins and it gives you one of these sixty four figures. Now, if you are very wise and have started the Book of Change for a long time, you don’t need to use the book you just look at what the figure is and you can tell what it means because you see these figures are made up of. Each six hexagram figure is made up of two three-fold components. That has two components, of which this one is water and this one is heaven.
So you will have water over heaven, and a person very skilled in the interpretation will feel out the meaning of water over heaven. But actually, if you are not so skilled, there is the book, and for each of these hexagrams, the book has an oracle. And it tells you in a curiously vague and yet curiously precise terms the meaning of this hexagram. And then you, in the light of your own situation make up your mind what it’s saying to you in the light of the problem that you’ve raised the question that you’ve asked the decision that you had to make you will find invariably that these sixty four choices are one of them or indeed all of them but you have to pick one of them because you are after all tossing a coin. But it has some peculiarly appropriate thing to say to you under your circumstances, and is just like having a conversation with a very very wise old gentleman.
And you must realize that today in Asia, this book is still widely used for making business and political decisions although people who are Westernized wouldn’t let on perhaps that they use it and so anybody who does politics or does business with Asia should be completely versed in this book. To know what sort of thinking, what sort of approach might be expected under any circumstances. If you could ever find out what hexagram had fallen when a certain politician that made a decision that would be immensely enlightening as to his future course of action.
In the same way for example in dealing with Hitler, our strategists I don’t know if they did should have been students of astrology. Because he was always consulting astrologers. And therefore astrology would be much more easy to penetrate in the evening because you would know Hitler is looking all the time at his own horoscope. Well we have access to Hitler’s horoscope, and so we know what he’s thinking about it, but you don’t have access to what hexagram Mao Zedong threw when he decided to do something or other.
So it’s a little bit more subtle. Well then, I’m making the point then that our scientists are very suspicious of the intuitive judgment. But nevertheless they all use it, in the end. And so, it is made, this suspicion, that science has of intuitive judgment has filtered down to the average person in terms of a mistrust of his own intuition. Of the marvelous analytical powers of his own brain. And so, we are always in a dither of doubt as to whether we are behaving the right way doing the right thing and so on and so forth and lack a certain kind of self-confidence. And if you see, you lack self-confidence, you will make mistakes, through sheer fumbling. If you do have self-confidence you may carry get away with doing entirely the wrong thing. In the British have an enormous degree of self-confidence. They know they’re right, and they don’t even question in there there are certain kinds of British types who are absolutely there aplomb is unbelievable. And you can’t shake them, but I wouldn’t dream of it. They’re not even defending themselves they know there’s a ride. And therefore, they can allow any kind of political revolution total free speech all sorts of things can go on which make Americans very nervous, because Americans don’t have the same degree of aplomb. They’re not quite sure. When you’re an aristocrat and you’ve been brought up for generations in the right schools and there’s never any doubt whatsoever you don’t even have to mention the fact that you’re an aristocrat see I mean that’s why aristocrats know how to treat servants. But they never take it out on their servants in the sense of having to emphasize their own superiority. Because they know they’re superior. They don’t even question it. Well, this is an extraordinary kind of nerve that they’ve built up and. So the only way. You know, you can do this.
The first of all in in Zen practice the thing that you have to understand is this. You have to regard yourself as a cloud. In the flesh because you see clouds never make mistakes. Did you ever see a cloud that was misshapen. Did you ever see a badly designed wave? Though they always do the right thing. Now so as a matter of fact do we because we are natural beings just like clouds and waves. Only we have complicated games, which cause us to doubt ourselves but if you will treat yourself for a while as a cloud or wave, and realize that you can’t make a mistake whatever you do, because even if you do something that seems to be totally disastrous it all come out in the wash somehow or other. Then, through this capacity you will develop a kind of confidence, and through confidence you will be able to trust your own intuition. Only, the thing that you have to be careful about is, and many people who have not understood Zen properly fall into trouble here is, that when they take the attitude that I can’t possibly make a mistake, they overdo it. Which shows that they don’t really believe it. So a lot of people come on and say well in Zen anything goes, you’re naturally with it anyway you are a buddha anyhow and I’m going to prove I’m a Buddha anyhow by breaking all the rules. And so they put on the weirdest filthiest clothes if you’re going to steal things and all kinds of things like that that’s overdoing it that shows that you haven’t learned, you don’t, you’re overcompensating. Because before you. Told to do this do that now that and watch and be self conscious and was and so on, and so you just go to the other extreme. But this is the middle way, of knowing it has nothing to do with your decision to do this or not whether you decide that you can’t make a mistake or whether you don’t decide it is true anyway, that you are like cloud in water. And through that that realization, without overcompensating in the other direction you will come to the point where you’ll begin to be on good terms with your own being and to be able to trust your own brain.
But at that level, you are supra-personal. That is to say, when you realize that you stand here as a body. It’s as if you see, there was a calling to a certain cosmologist cosmological theories today, a primordial explosion which blew up and created the universe. And you know how it is when you take a bottle of ink and you throw it at a white wash wall. Smash, like that and go splat all over the place. There’s a big blob in the center and then as it goes out it gets all sorts of little curlicues and wiggles. So you see the cosmic explosion is still happening. It takes a long time for that big essential bang for the whole thing to go whoosh. Takes billions of years for it to happen and it’s still happening and we’re the little curlicues out on the edge, see. And we are connected, we are part of the central explosion that originally happened. That, in a certain sense is in you. You’re still manifesting it, you see. So when you consider yourself as a physical being consider this and it is very ancient. Just like you pick up a stone to how old is this stone? Well scientists will say well it’s about that comes from those the Plasticine age and it’s probably, you know, four million years old. Then you say well where would I wait a minute wait a minute you mean four million years old where did it come from what was it before it was a stone? Well it was something or other. And that goes back back back you see so everything you touch including yourself is incredibly ancient. Goes back to the very beginning of time. So if your mind awakens, you suddenly see all your friends sitting around you looking incredibly ancient. I don’t mean in the sense of old I’m haggard but like angels, like eternal beings who were always there from the beginning.