Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Quiz Jan28

[The wrong quiz was posted here earlier, sorry about that!]

Eastern & Asian philosophy. READ: the text below Confucianism & Taoism, A Passion for Wisdom 22-26 (scroll back to p.22), Buddhism, Kitaro Nishida; WATCH: Buddhism's Four Noble Truths

Podcasts: Eastern philosophy 1Eastern philosophy 2

1. The original ______s (Confucians, Buddhists, Taoists - pick one) were reclusive individuals who saw society as harmful and urged harmony in nature and within one's own nature.

2.  The key Confucian virtue,  encompassing other virtues within it, is jen (pronounced "ren"), which can be  translated as _____.

3. In     'ism one is part of nature, flowing through time; in contrast to the Christian concept of soul as an intact bit of eternity in every individual, it considers soul more like a drop of water in a stream.

1. Who said “You do not understand even life. How can you understand death?”

2. What does "Tao" mean?

3. Which 'ism says "soul" is like a drop of water in a stream?

4. What is the first "noble truth" of Buddhism?

5. What leads to the end of suffering, in Buddhism?

6. Nishida Kitaro insisted on the philosophical starting point of experience, a priority he shared with American philosopher _____.

Other QQs, posted in comments?

1. Is it possible to harmonize with nature and one's own nature, in a disharmonious society? Is society necessarily harmful? Could you live a good life independently from governments, institutions, laws, and other people?

2. Do you possess "filial piety," automatically respecting your elders as esteemed and experienced authority figures? Or do you agree with Henry David Thoreau's youthful statement that he'd never received a single useful word of advice from an older person?

3. How do you think of "soul"? Is it something IN you, is it something that marks your distinct individuality or does it transcend separateness? Is it mortal or immortal, finite or infinite? Or is it just a word that names a quality of spirit or personality but that does not survive embodied existence?

4. Is it possible for a person to become "enlightened" through a process of meditation and ritual? How do you know when you've become enlightenend? What's the point of enlightenment?

An old post from Jan.2010-

the way

We’re talking about classic Chinese philosophers in Intro today,Confucius (the sage, not the biopic that bumped Avatar), Lao Tzu and many others whose names can be harder than Greeks’ to keep straight.

But The Tao of Pooh should be simple enough…

Owl of course is the opposite of Pooh, the Knowledge for the sake of Appearing Wise, the one who studies Knowledge for the sake of Knowledge, and who keeps what he learns to himself or to his own small group, rather than working for the enlightenment of others. That way, the scholars can appear Superior, and will not likely be suspected of Not Knowing Something. After all, from the scholarly point of view, it’s practically a crime not to know everything. But sometimes the knowledge of the scholar is a bit hard to understand because it doesn’t seem to match up with our own experience of things. Isn’t the knowledge that comes from experience more valuable than the knowledge that doesn’t?

Oh, yes. Ask any pragmatist. Or ask Bob Solomon: For the Confucian, the personal is the social. For the Taoist, the personal is the relation to nature. For both, the goal is harmony in human life and a larger sense of the “person” than the mere individual.Experience preferred.

Or ask Simon Critchley, who reports this Socratic jab from Confucius (aka Kongzi): “You do not understand even life. How can you understand death?” His rival Lao Tzu thought he understood his body to be the source of all his suffering. That’s blaming the victim, if you ask me. Both are now asteroids, nominally at least. Presumably their suffering (and understanding) is no more. Same for Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi), who– like Freddie the Leaf— saw death as “just like the progression of the four seasons.”

“We all fear what we don’t know, Freddie. It’s natural,” Daniel reassured him. “Yet, you were not afraid when Summer became Fall. They were natural changes. Why should you be afraid of the season of death?”

“Does the tree die, too?” Freddie asked.

“Someday. But there is something stronger than the tree. It is Life. That lasts forever and we are all a part of Life.”

“Where will we go when we die?”

“No one knows for sure. That’s the great mystery!”

“Will we return in the Spring?”

“We may not, but Life will.”

“Then what has been the reason for all of this?” Freddie continued to question. “Why were we here at all if we only have to fall and die?”

Daniel answered in his matter-of-fact way, “It’s been about the sun and the moon. It’s been about happy times together. It’s been about the shade and the old people and the children. It’s been about colors in Fall. It’s been about seasons. Isn’t that enough?

The Japanese Zen monk haiku masters (like Mabutsu) would say it is, if they said anything propositional at all. You never know just when the bottom will fall out. So true.

It was enough for Walt Whitman, too, who sang of “the beautiful uncut hair of graves” and would not be “contain’d between my hat and boots.”

Pooh, for a bear of very little brain, has sure made his mark amongst academics and intellectuals. In Pooh and the PhilosophersJohn Williams says Whitehead got it wrong: all those post-Platonists were really annotating our ursine hero. In Pooh Perplex and Postmodern Pooh, Frederick Crews discovers a humanist role-modeland skewers the pretensions of literary critics in the process: two acts of public service we can all be grateful for.

An old post from February 1, 2010-

With today’s Passion for Wisdom assignment we have another go at classical Chinese philosophers and the pre-Socratics, and Buddhists and Jains and Sophists. Then, Socrates himself (who was not “permanently pissed,” after all).

Buddhists reject the Hindu self, leaving some doubt about what it is that could possibly cycle through successive incarnations or reap the weal or woe of karma. But Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains all exalt the quest for a trance-like blissful experience, and resist what they see as western “over-intellectualization” of the sort Pooh’s friend Owl seems to exemplify.

And of course Buddhists are known for the “Noble Truths” of suffering and the “Eightfold Path” to Enlightenment which begins with seeing* (the very meaning of the Sanskrit word for philosophy) and seeks Nirvana— not happiness in the western sense, but an ego-displacing perspective that looks very alluring to some western neophytes who wish they could twinkle and glow like the current Dalai Lama too.

*(Visual metaphors are big in the history of western philosophy too. See Richard Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.)

Also very appealing to many of us is Buddhist compassion, exemplified for me (though I can’t quite explain why) in a particular photograph of the DL with a certain former heavyweight champion; and the DL’s forthright “faith in science“. There’s a strong Socratic element in Buddhism’s claim that the “illusion of understanding” blocks our way to enlightenment… as there is in the scientific method and its ethos offallibilism.

Less appealing to me is the concept of “renunciation” and the judgment of the everyday world as itself a grand illusion. I like the response of the logically-minded Nyayayikas, who “rejected the notion that the everyday world was an illusion.” Transitory yes, but unreal? No.

(Here’s the DL in London in 1997.)

One of the most striking images here clarifies the Taoist conception of “soul” as an impersonal part of nature. In the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, by contrast, one is holy insofar as one is not part of nature and is outside of time… The Christian soul is an intact bit of eternity in everyone. The Taoist soul is more like a drop of water in a stream. Again: Taoists believe that to be wise is to realize one’s unity with nature and to live in conjunction with nature’s rhythm, the Tao… The personal self may die, but the Tao with which the sage identifies lives on.

Speaking of water… Thales of Miletus (634-546 BCE) said water was the nature, the archê, the originating principle of all reality. With his olive presses he resisted the charge of “unworldliness” so often lodged against philosophers.

Earth, air, fire, and water, hot and cold, wet and dry… Opposition is often basic to Greek philosophy, whereas the Chinese would rather talk about ‘harmony’…

The ancient Greeks referred to all other peoples as barbarians (whose unintelligible speech sounded to them like “bar-bar-bar”). Herodotus: “the Greeks have been from very ancient times distinguished from the barbarians by superior sagacity and freedom from foolish simpleness.” This cultural chauvinism persists, apparently, and was delightfully exemplified by the proud Greek father in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (finding uncredited Greek origins for everything, including Japanese kimonos).

But they do have plenty to be proud of, including Hippocrates’ (c.460-377 BCE) naturalism: “Men think [a disease] divine merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end of divine things.”

Democritus (460-370 BCE), “The Laughing Philosopher,” expanded the atomic theory of Leucippus and agreed with Pythagoras: “the Cosmos can be understood because it obeys certain laws that are the same everywhere in the universe.” This proposition is the foundation of science. Carl Sagan thought a lot of him (and Steve Gould thought a lot of Sagan).

With Democritus the attempt to deanimate and demythologize the world was complete. Greek “soul” was insubstantial except when embodied, and then was a “mere breath.” Something like this view, incidentally, led the Egyptians to mummify their dead, and the early Christians to emphasize physical resurrection as necessary for salvation. The ancient Hebrews mostly restricted their concern to the concrete human being, not soul. Similarly, the Chinese related soul to social identity without specific metaphysical expectations. (Buddhists, again, thought soul was either an illusion or– as the Taoists said– was one with the rest of the universe, rejecting the Hindu doctrine of reincarnation or rebirth.) As for the modern scientific take on soul, it looks a lot like Democritus’s… but Michael Shermer says the soul of science is substantial enough.

Protagoras (c. 490 – c. 420 BCE ) said (1) that man is the measure of all things (which is often interpreted as a sort of radical relativism) (2) that he could make the “worse (or weaker) argument appear the better (or stronger)” and (3) that one could not tell if the gods existed or not. He and his peers were sophists, and are at least partly responsible for giving it a bad name. Sophistry, or subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation, leads to the cliche that a “good” philosopher (or lawyer) can prove anything.

But the philosophy of Protagoras does not have to be read as sophistry, mercenary argumentation offered for a fee. It might be seen as confidence in our ability to know the world because we view it in human terms– a view later associated with the German Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Or, it could be viewed as a precursor to pragmatism and an attempt to render thought practical and useful.
Another old post, from 2011-
Asian spirit

It’s misleading to say that there’s a strong tradition of doubting God in Asian philosophy, since that would imply a strong antecedent tradition of not doubting God. It may be difficult for westerners to wrap themselves around the idea of these ancient traditions, exempt from the gaze and regulation of God or Gods… or the idea of godless traditions whose greatest aspiration is to leave the world behind, on a road to nowhere. “Release,” renunciation, and no regrets? How does that work, training oneself out of humanness while at the same time dissolving into the wide unhuman universe?How does a drop rejoin the ocean without remorse or fear?

The Carvaka, the first doubters we know about, seemed too eager to leave and too quick to judge the uncivilized ignorant fools who imagine that spirit is something different from body. I happen to share their view that spirit cannot hang from nowhere, and I see the point of the Stoics’ imperative to cultivate an attitude of tranquil acceptance. But I’m not thrilled about it. Honestly, I’d rather stay a little longer. Or have somewhere to go. Then again, I’ve long resonated to Emerson‘s very similar statement: “Other world ! there is no other world. God is one and omnipresent ; here or nowhere is the whole fact.”

Our challenge: if the whole fact excludes God from our world, can we still be as sanguine about it as the Carvaka? Or as “spiritual” as the Buddha? We should in any case reject the nihilism of proclaiming that no morality could have any meaning because the whole system [has] no purpose. Pleasure is a fine goal, but it’s not the only good one. Bertrand Russell was right to repudiate this kind of thinking when he pooh-poohed the whole notion that an ultimately-pointless universe condemns us to meaningless lives. And he was right, in Conquest of Happiness, to advise lives full of outward interest. We should turn our attention away from the end and from self-absorption, to the intrinsically meaningful persons, places, and things whose potential meanings are inexhaustible. (BTW: if you’re at war with the self, aren’t you still self-absorbed?)

A materialist (or Philip Pullman fan) has to love the Jains‘ materialistic version of karma, a fine dust of atoms that gets on your jiva, your spirit, and keeps your cycle of birth and re-birth spinning. It’s a reminder that spirit can lodge in and on matter, and in fact it does. Recall William James, on this: “To any one who has ever looked on the face of a dead child or parent the mere fact that matter could have taken for a time that precious form, ought to make matter sacred ever after… That beloved incarnation was among matter’s possibilities.” Enough said, from my perspective.

The Buddha (the original one, Siddhartha) sought freedom and enlightenment in the forest (where we hung our “Home Sweet Home” sign), and found “blissful clarity” there under the Bodhi tree, waking at once to the ubiquity of suffering and the possibility of rightly seeing (the first step on the 8-fold path). He saw beyond the rupture between our feelings and desires and the vast, unresponsive universe. What did the Buddha see? Not much. No God, no karma (or any other universal justice), no dependence on community for meaning… He invited us to use our human consciousness to realize that we are not a part of nature, we are all of nature. But this is not pantheism, the whole show is too ephemeral. The point is that there are no definite boundaries between our particular fields of experience and the totality of them all. Looking to belong to something larger than yourself? Here you go. It’s another secular version of the trans-end-dance.

Buddha claimed to see nothing, literally nothing in the place where others imagined they saw a substantial ego. Our self-referential feelings exist, as sensations– but not as coherent, enduring, loci of meaningful existence. Can this be true? Granted, there’s no little homunculus-doppelganger of you at your control-switch. But does it follow that, where selfhood is concerned, there really is no there there? Can’t we accept an alternative definition of “self” that dispenses with such naive literalism about consciousness, but still acknowledges an organizing subjectivity whose memories and plans and dreams converge on a stable singular identity and “a name I call myself”? A self that’s as real as the time and space it chooses to attend to, no more and no less? Well, I hope so. I’ve certainly invested a lot of words in the project of defending the self— and not just mine.

Robert Thurman says Buddha had a humanizing and naturalizing influence on Hinduism, and on us: we can all be the Buddha.* (Or, at least more compassionate TEDsters.) Worldly, war-mongering energies were diverted to paradoxically-personal pursuits: when people are responsible for their own salvation, a great deal of their time and effort is required. That’s time not spent making public mischief, but it’s also “me”-time, isn’t it?

Finally, Confucius left God out of it, and heaven. We don’t know yet how to serve men… We don’t know yet about life… Originally, Taoism was as atheistic as Buddhism and Confucianism before the rise of Asian superstition and “social magic,” the real effect that human beings can feel from their community and its emblematic leaders.

My favorite Asian naturalist is the autodidact Wang Ch’ung, who educated himself while standing in bookstores. Me too.

“If the heavens had produced creatures on purpose, they ought to have taught them to love each other, and not to prey upon and destroy one another.” Looks like we’re going to have to teach ourselves. See you at Borders. (My birthday card just arrived.)

*Robert Thurman, like me, likes the Beatles. Like a good Buddhist, he also likes the Stones.

• What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is a religion to about 300 million people around the world. The word comes from 'budhi', 'to awaken'. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35.

• Is Buddhism a Religion?

To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or 'way of life'. It is a philosophy because philosophy 'means love of wisdom' and the Buddhist path can be summed up as:

(1) to lead a moral life,
(2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
(3) to develop wisdom and understanding.

• How Can Buddhism Help Me?

Buddhism explains a purpose to life, it explains apparent injustice and inequality around the world, and it provides a code of practice or way of life that leads to true happiness.

• Why is Buddhism Becoming Popular?

Buddhism is becoming popular in western countries for a number of reasons, The first good reason is Buddhism has answers to many of the problems in modern materialistic societies. It also includes (for those who are interested) a deep understanding of the human mind (and natural therapies) which prominent psychologists around the world are now discovering to be both very advanced and effective.

• Who Was the Buddha?

Siddhartha Gotama was born into a royal family in Lumbini, now located in Nepal, in 563 BC. At 29, he realised that wealth and luxury did not guarantee happiness, so he explored the different teachings religions and philosophies of the day, to find the key to human happiness. After six years of study and meditation he finally found 'the middle path' and was enlightened. After enlightenment, the Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching the principles of Buddhism — called the Dhamma, or Truth — until his death at the age of 80.

• Was the Buddha a God?

He was not, nor did he claim to be. He was a man who taught a path to enlightenment from his own experience.

• Do Buddhists Worship Idols?

Buddhists sometimes pay respect to images of the Buddha, not in worship, nor to ask for favours. A statue of the Buddha with hands rested gently in its lap and a compassionate smile reminds us to strive to develop peace and love within ourselves. Bowing to the statue is an expression of gratitude for the teaching.

• Why are so Many Buddhist Countries Poor?

One of the Buddhist teachings is that wealth does not guarantee happiness and also wealth is impermanent. The people of every country suffer whether rich or poor, but those who understand Buddhist teachings can find true happiness.

• Are There Different Types of Buddhism?

There are many different types of Buddhism, because the emphasis changes from country to country due to customs and culture. What does not vary is the essence of the teaching — the Dhamma or truth.

• Are Other Religions Wrong?

Buddhism is also a belief system which is tolerant of all other beliefs or religions. Buddhism agrees with the moral teachings of other religions but Buddhism goes further by providing a long term purpose within our existence, through wisdom and true understanding. Real Buddhism is very tolerant and not concerned with labels like 'Christian', 'Moslem', 'Hindu' or 'Buddhist'; that is why there have never been any wars fought in the name of Buddhism. That is why Buddhists do not preach and try to convert, only explain if an explanation is sought.

• Is Buddhism Scientific?

Science is knowledge which can be made into a system, which depends upon seeing and testing facts and stating general natural laws. The core of Buddhism fit into this definition, because the Four Noble truths (see below) can be tested and proven by anyone in fact the Buddha himself asked his followers to test the teaching rather than accept his word as true. Buddhism depends more on understanding than faith.

• What did the Buddha Teach?

The Buddha taught many things, but the basic concepts in Buddhism can be summed up by the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

• What is the First Noble Truth?

The first truth is that life is suffering i.e., life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like loneliness frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. This is an irrefutable fact that cannot be denied. It is realistic rather than pessimistic because pessimism is expecting things to be bad. lnstead, Buddhism explains how suffering can be avoided and how we can be truly happy.

• What is the Second Noble Truth?

The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion. We will suffer if we expect other people to conform to our expectation, if we want others to like us, if we do not get something we want,etc. In other words, getting what you want does not guarantee happiness. Rather than constantly struggling to get what you want, try to modify your wanting. Wanting deprives us of contentment and happiness. A lifetime of wanting and craving and especially the craving to continue to exist, creates a powerful energy which causes the individual to be born. So craving leads to physical suffering because it causes us to be reborn.

• What is the Third Noble Truth?

The third truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained; that true happiness and contentment are possible. lf we give up useless craving and learn to live each day at a time (not dwelling in the past or the imagined future) then we can become happy and free. We then have more time and energy to help others. This is Nirvana.

• What is the Fourth Noble Truth?

The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path which leads to the end of suffering.

• What is the Noble 8-Fold Path?

In summary, the Noble 8-fold Path is being moral (through what we say, do and our livelihood), focussing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions, and developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by developing compassion for others.

• What are the 5 Precepts?

The moral code within Buddhism is the precepts, of which the main five are: not to take the life of anything living, not to take anything not freely given, to abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence, to refrain from untrue speech, and to avoid intoxication, that is, losing mindfulness.

• What is Karma?

Karma is the law that every cause has an effect, i.e., our actions have results. This simple law explains a number of things: inequality in the world, why some are born handicapped and some gifted, why some live only a short life. Karma underlines the importance of all individuals being responsible for their past and present actions. How can we test the karmic effect of our actions? The answer is summed up by looking at (1) the intention behind the action, (2) effects of the action on oneself, and (3) the effects on others.

• What is Wisdom?

Buddhism teaches that wisdom should be developed with compassion. At one extreme, you could be a good hearted fool and at the other extreme, you could attain knowledge without any emotion. Buddhism uses the middle path to develop both. The highest wisdom is seeing that in reality, all phenomena are incomplete, impermanent and do not constitute a fixed entity. True wisdom is not simply believing what we are told but instead experiencing and understanding truth and reality. Wisdom requires an open, objective, unbigoted mind. The Buddhist path requires courage, patience, flexibility and intelligence.

• What is Compassion?

Compassion includes qualities of sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy, concern, caring. In Buddhism, we can really understand others, when we can really understand ourselves, through wisdom.

• How do I Become a Buddhist?
Buddhist teachings can be understood and tested by anyone. Buddhism teaches that the solutions to our problems are within ourselves not outside. The Buddha asked all his followers not to take his word as true, but rather to test the teachings for themselves. ln this way, each person decides for themselves and takes responsibility for their own actions and understanding. This makes Buddhism less of a fixed package of beliefs which is to be accepted in its entirety, and more of a teaching which each person learns and uses in their own way.
Nishida Kitarō

Nishida Kitarō was the most significant and influential Japanese philosopher of the twentieth-century. His work is pathbreaking in several respects: it established in Japan the creative discipline of philosophy as practiced in Europe and the Americas; it enriched that discipline by infusing Anglo-European philosophy with Asian sources of thought; it provided a new basis for philosophical treatments of East Asian Buddhist thought; and it produced novel theories of self and world with rich implications for contemporary philosophizing. Nishida's work is also frustrating for its repetitive and often obscure style, exceedingly abstract formulations, and detailed but frequently dead-end investigations. Nishida once said of his work, “I have always been a miner of ore; I have never managed to refine it” (Nishida 1958, Preface). A concise presentation of his achievements therefore will require extensive selection, interpretation and clarification.

This article presents his work in a roughly chronological order. We may understand his philosophical project overall as an attempt to restore to experience and consciousness the rigor, necessity and universality accorded to logic. This project developed in a direction quite opposite to that of psychologism, which would reduce logic to the contingencies of the individual mind or brain. It also differed from efforts to establish pure logic as a self-explanatory realm in that Nishida insisted on the starting point of experience, a priority he shared with Husserl's phenomenology and William James' radical empiricism. We might characterize his philosophy in general as a phenomenological metaphysics or an ontology of logical forms, but with one qualification: although he proposed a unitary source of such forms, that source is neither exclusionary nor positive; in other words the source itself cannot be described monistically as a single, more basic form or thing. Nishida eventually called this source MU (nothingness), a notion he found particularly prominent in the traditions of the East. His interests led him to develop a philosophy of culture, and his status as Japan's premier philosopher led government officials to call upon him for justification of Japanese expansionism in the late 1930s and early 40s. His last work recapitulated his non-dualistic account of world and self, but also reinterpreted the meaning of death. (continues)


  1. (8# TR)
    DQ: Do you possess "filial piety," automatically respecting your elders as esteemed and experienced authority figures? Or do you agree with Henry David Thoreau's youthful statement that he'd never received a single useful word of advice from an older person?

    I am going to have to say I disagree with both, and here’s why. Every person I meet will get the same respect that every human is entitled to, and I expect to receive the same from them. However, that respect can be taken anytime, it’s like an unwritten contract. On the flip side my respect can be elevated once I have learned and interacted more with that person. Henry David Thoreau’s statement to me looks narcissistic. Although I may try to give my respect equally to everyone I meet, I am not going to presume I know more/wiser than someone who is almost 2-3x my age. I might be more “progressive” than my mother or grandmother and might have received better education than them, but to assume I know more about the world and the people around me is a ridiculous statement. I think it’s ignorant to refuse advice or knowledge from someone who has “been there, done that.”

  2. Anonymous3:16 PM CDT

    It is possible to harmonize with nature and one's own nature, but if one is only doing so to prevent the harm that might come from society, then they must have misunderstood it all. There is no way one can truly desolate from society. We don't live in this world alone. Understanding society and not expecting too much from it will definitely help one live a better life with less harm. Do what makes you happy and go out of your way to make this society more of what you want it to be by starting that change you want to see within you first in order to see it in society later.
    Mariem Farag #12

  3. I believe that the soul is something that is very real and IN you. I also don't think that our souls transcend separateness. We all have our own individual souls, not one collective soul. And though our bodies have been made finite, I believe our souls are infinite. No matter how that eternity is spent, I believe all of our souls are eternal. Our souls are inside of us, and it's not just a representation of your personality. It is a very real thing that everyone has, and it has a fate. That is what I believe about our souls.

  4. Is it possible for a person to become "enlightened" through a process of meditation and ritual? How do you know when you've become enlightenend? What's the point of enlightenment?

    In my opinion, it is possible for a person to become enlightened through meditation and ritual. I know I've become enlightened right after I meditate (pray), because I know that whatever I am have prayed about is now in God's hand. The point of enlightenment is to make you a better person, and a firm believer of whomever you believe in.

  5. #8 . Is it possible for a person to become "enlightened" through a process of meditation and ritual? How do you know when you've become enlightenend? What's the point of enlightenment?

    i believe that a person can become enlightened through meditation because a person has to think, consider, and reflect. these are all key points in understanding something. once a person has time to become aware of his/her surroundings and what is really going on around them they then become enlightened to a situation. the purpose of enlightenment is to evolve as a person and get an individual perspective of life rather than following what you know.

  6. (#8) Is it possible for a person to become "enlightened" through a process of meditation and ritual? How do you know when you've become enlightenend? What's the point of enlightenment?

    I'd have to say that it's not limited to just the process of meditation or ritual but many other forms of prayer and concentration to one's god or gods. You'll feel enlightened or have the knowledge of enlightenment by achieving your purpose in your own way, feeling that you've completed what life feels like it needs to be completed. The point of enlightenment is to feel completion, to know that you can live life to the fullest by the use of your own potential.

  7. Anonymous9:19 AM CDT

    #12 learned about karma when I was young my dad would always saw for every action there is a reaction; or for every bad action preformed there is a punishment that follows. kali sunstrom (kns)

  8. (8)
    Harmony is a bit of a lofty goal to put on a society is it not? Harmony implies that everyone is working together. This seems to be unrealistic and utopianist.
    I tend to prefer equilibrium. Equilibrium is the constant struggle between opposing forces that settles into a balancing cycle of ebb and flow.

  9. Anonymous3:50 PM CDT

    (8) Our group thought it was possible to have harmony in an unbalanced society; however, some aspects- such as social media- are harmful to our community and fellow generations.

  10. [8] karol saleh
    janet peoples
    austin wilson
    Is it possible to harmonize with nature and one's own nature, in a disharmonious society? Could you live a good life independently from governments, institutions, laws, and other people?
    my group said that if you are interested in nature, then you can respect it. to have harmony with nature, you must respect it. and also we discussed that if we don't have for example laws, then the world would be a different place. without a government, people as a whole world would fall a part.

  11. [8] karol saleh
    janet peoples
    austin wilson
    Is it possible to harmonize with nature and one's own nature, in a disharmonious society? Could you live a good life independently from governments, institutions, laws, and other people?
    my group said that if you are interested in nature, then you can respect it. to have harmony with nature, you must respect it. and also we discussed that if we don't have for example laws, then the world would be a different place. without a government, people as a whole world would fall a part.

  12. (#8) Ethan, Robby, and I discussed on our walk that society could not harmonize completely. Today, influences such as, social media, can bring specific groups together and harmonize them with a certain topic or movement during a certain time period. But even when these influential groups come together for a movement it eventually dies out and our society is interested in a newer, more popular topic. We also discussed, but agreed to disagree that Ethan believed that society could function without much government influence, while as Robby and I believe that government is essential to humanity being sane.

  13. Justin Huggins (12) when I was growing up I was taught that you treat people how you want to be treated. If you treat people poorly you will be treated poorly in return. And if you treat people with respect, likewise, you will be treated with respect as well.

  14. I think it is possible to become enlightened, but perhaps not in the sense we're thinking. I've always thought of enlightenment as similar to having an "aha" moment in life. Suddenly, as a result of an experience or conversation you've had, you "get it". In that moment, a particular area (or areas) of your life makes sense. It's a bit more practical and attainable than a thought-less state where one achieves ultimate compassion and understanding. Not to say that this state isn't achievable at all.

  15. (#8) I feel like our section has discussed DQ1 quite a bit; So, I would like to give my response to DQ2. As far as filial piety is concerned, I would have to agree with Thoreau's statement. I say this because so much of this "olden day knowledge" is available to us through the internet, media, and sometimes even through common sense. Don't get me wrong; It is still important to heed the words of the aged folk as they have more experience in life. But, It is definitely possible to learn the same if not more useful information from outside sources.

  16. Ian Law #4

    2. I don't know, I think someone needs to earn respect no matter how old they are. Age doesn't necessarily bring wisdom.

    4. I think enlightenment requires the acquisition of some worldly knowledge, so simply meditating would be ineffectual and lead nowhere.

    And a quiz question:
    What is Sophistry?

    1. Sophistry is the use of false arguments with the intent to deceive someone or something.

  17. Nick Corley 6

    I believe in the Taoist's point of view. Nature is harmonious, and it has been operating in the state far longer than we have been living in society. I see the human race as being temporarily inefficient. This is because we are just becoming accustomed to this new way of living, and I believe that this is why society ultimately collapses. With consciousness comes conflict, thus developing greed and selfishness among communities and citizens.

    BQ: Why do you think Taoists believe society can never be harmonious like nature is?

  18. Chad Andrews - #6

    Quiz Question Proposed - Which faith sees society as harmful and urges harmony in nature, and one's own nature?

  19. Sean Byars Section 6
    Quiz Question: Who was Mo Tzu and how did his philosophy contradict Confucianism?

  20. Stephen Martin (4)
    How do you think of "soul"? Is it something IN you, is it something that marks your distinct individuality or does it transcend separateness? Is it mortal or immortal, finite or infinite? Or is it just a word that names a quality of spirit or personality but that does not survive embodied existence?

    The soul is not In me, I Am a soul and I am eternal. This corporeal body I wear has a lifespan, and after its time is complete my soul will live on.

  21. Amy Young #4
    DQ: Do you possess "filial piety," automatically respecting your elders as esteemed and experienced authority figures? Or do you agree with Henry David Thoreau's youthful statement that he'd never received a single useful word of advice from an older person?

    I do possess this because I always respect my elders. I love listening to their stories and life lessons.

  22. Harrison Matteau Section 6:
    I believe it is possible to harmonize with nature and stay absent from society because harmonizing is a self process that stands alone from society. Yes society can play a factor, but one's self is internal, and is not affected by outside factors overall.
    In answer to number 3, my faith has been a deciding factor in this question for most of my life. I do believe in a soul and that once I pass on I will be rejoined with my savior in heaven because I have accepted Christ's gift for me. That being said, I am uncertain if this soul will be a conscience entity or if it is something more, but I am confident that I will be aware of my being and this life that I have lived here on Earth. I also believe that this soul is immortal and eternal.

  23. (6)

    BQ: why do Buddhists believe Karma is important?

  24. We talked about the soul and whether or not we believe in it, what it is, and what happens when we die.
    Katie, alley, and amyna

  25. J. Skylar Dean, Akmal Ishmetovl, Luis Mejia Discussion Group Section 4:

    We talked through all questions, and all agreed that the soul is who we are and is immortal

  26. Courtney Manns Section 6
    QQ: What are the five precepts of Buddhism philosophy?

    1. Sophie Raffo #612:12 PM CST

      Sophie Raffo#6
      They are moral codes.
      1. Do not take the life of anything living
      2. Do not to take anything not freely given
      3.To abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence
      4. To refrain from untrue speech
      and to avoid intoxication, which would be losing mindfulness.

    2. Sophie Raffo #612:17 PM CST

      *#5 Avoid intoxication, loss of midfulness*

  27. Anonymous11:40 AM CST

    Devin Mahoney (6)
    Quiz Question:

    What are the 8 folds to Buddha's recipe for achieving happiness, virtue and nirvana (the fourth noble truth)?

    1. Emmanuela Okot (6)

      The 8 fold path is to be a moral person, through what you say and do. To focus our mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions, develop wisdom and understanding of the Four Noble Truths. And lastly developing compassion for others.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Preston, Danni and Harrison. Section 4. We talked about the soul and whether it was immortal or even real. We also talked about harmonizing with the world and if it was possible.

  30. Beshoy Aziz11:48 AM CST

    Beshoy Aziz (#6)
    Is it possible for a person to become "enlightened" through a process of meditation and ritual? How do you know when you've become enlightenend? What's the point of enlightenment?
    I think meditating can somewhat enlighten people because by meditating you can think deeply about the stuff you know; however, Enlightenment requires some knowledge. To be enlightened, I think you have to gather a lot of information, and know what is going on around you.

  31. Sophie Raffo12:07 PM CST

    Sophie Raffo #6
    Quiz Question:
    What is Nishida's term for self-awareness? What is its other translation?

  32. 6 Brock Francis
    Q: What is the common notion between taoist and Judeo-Christian-Islams?

  33. 6 Brock Francis
    DQ 1.
    It is possible for one to harmonize with nature and that specific being's nature. My definition to the idea of harmony with one's own nature is in link with internal peace and overall, personal happiness. Society is not harmful, but a few of its standards, like racism, are harmful. A good life could be lived without government, institutions, and law under the assumption that the person is able to connect with his or her own nature and live within it. In regarded to living without people, I believe that human interaction is a fundamental part of life and necessary to living within one's personal nature.

  34. Nick Corley, Chad Andrews, and Sean Byars (Section 6)
    In our discussion today, we talked about how harmony is evident in nature, but not present in society. The enlightened take this disarray and attempt to transform it into disharmonious, yet harmonious state in which we live. We also discussed how elders are not always wise. There are some people who grow older and obtain wisdom, but others who stay the same.

  35. Emmanuela Okot, Michael Hickson (6)
    DQ 4
    We discussed that it is possible to become enlightened and reach a certain point of understanding through meditation. It was very interesting for the both of us to learn that meditation is not solely about clearing your mind but also a time to ponder and think about the things that go on around you as a person. I believe that the point on enlightenment is when you get to the point of understanding and accepting the things around.

  36. Janeka Haden, Courtney, Caleb, Austin; we all discussed how souls are important but are kind of an abstract concept.

  37. (6)
    Robert,Lace, and I discussed weather or not we believed in the concept of the soul. We agreed that it did exist, but in an unexplainable way. It depends on how one views the afterlife, but the soul is something that is present in every being

  38. Sophie Raffo #67:24 PM CST

    Sophie, Ryan, and Courtney M. #6
    We Discussed Question #3 and #4 on the list.We all agreed on the fact that souls are in fact separate entities from our bodies.We also explored the idea that there are multiple dimensions in which our souls exist. A big idea we talked about was the fact that science and religion are very close, despite the argument that scientists have to be one or the other.
    Our thoughts on enlightenment in #4 were also very similar. We do believe you can achieve enlightenment through dedication and focus. Many people are too busy just "floating by" in life to obtain that focus.