REVIEW: ALAN WATTS READING

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1 REVIEW: ALAN WATTS READING In the reading, Watt s presents two stories. The true nature of reality. The true nature of our personal identity.

2 REALITY? Reality isn t a thing. It s one big process. We chop it up into parts in time. We chop it up into parts in space. Which makes it seem like the world is made up of parts that follow laws of cause and effect.

3 REVIEW PERSONAL IDENTITY: WHO ARE WE? Watts is slowly, but surely, telling us an Eastern (Hindu) story for who we really are. If no things exist and all is a process, then who/what are we? What is the true identify of a leaf? Question: When did the Big Bang end?

4 REVIEW: PERSONAL IDENTITY? True self: You are all there is. You are the universe experiencing itself.

5 WATTS ON THE HUMAN CONDITION: WE NEED TO WAKE UP

6 EASTERN PHILOSOPHY Can you see why the hippies loved this? Eastern philosophy as practical philosophy. Eastern philosophy as experiential and very closely associated to observations of nature. Eastern philosophy as more metaphorical and hence more poetic. More poetic = more accurate?

7 HISTORY OF HINDUISM No particular founder Ideas are years old Sacred Texts: Vedas (myths & rituals) Upanishads (philosophy, particularly metaphysics)

8 HINDU COSMOLOGY One impersonal, ultimate reality (ground of all being) called Brahman. Individual self is Atman. Trapped in suffering through The Wheel of Samsara Rebirth governed by Karma. Trapped due to Maya. Escape Samsara after awaken to realization that Atman is Brahman. (Moksha)

9 HINDU PHILOSOPHY As a result, what has Hindu philosophy said about The nature of reality? Not comprised of separate things, but one big process, or unfolding. The nature of personal identity? You are not your brain, body, or memory. You are the whole universe being aware of itself from a particular point of view. The nature of knowledge? Truth? All knowledge is maya other than the truth about who you really are. The nature of free will? Yes, since your choices affect your Karma, but your circumstances at your birth are determined. The nature of time? Cyclical

10 SUPERHERO ORIGIN STORY?

11 THE BUDDHA STORY Buddha is not a name! Buddha = enlightened one Siddhartha Gautama noble birth in India, 563 B.C.E.

12 BORN A PRINCE

13 THE FOUR SIGHTS: OLD AGE

14 THE FOUR SIGHTS: SICKNESS

15 THE FOUR SIGHTS: DEATH

16 THE FOUR SIGHTS: A MONK

17 HOW CAN YOU STOP SICKNESS, DEATH, OLD AGE?

18 LEAVES HIS RICHES AND SEARCHES FOR ANSWERS

19 LIVES THE LIFE OF A BEGGAR

20 BECOMES A STUDENT

21 RIGOROUS SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

22 PEACE UNDER THE BODHI TREE

23 THE NATURE OF REALITY: BUDDHA S METAPHYSICS The Three Marks of Existence (Conditioned Reality) The Four Noble Truths (Realities)

24 THE NATURE OF REALITY: BUDDHA S METAPHYSICS When he looked at reality, what did he see?

25 THE 3 MARKS OF EXISTENCE 1. Dukkha: Life in this world is filled with suffering.

26 THE NATURE OF REALITY: BUDDHA S METAPHYSICS When he looked at reality, what else did he see?

27 THE 3 MARKS OF EXISTENCE 2. Anicca: Everything in this world is impermanent

28 THE NATURE OF REALITY: BUDDHA S METAPHYSICS When he looked at reality, what else did he see?

29 THE 3 MARKS OF EXISTENCE 3. Anatta: The self also changes; no permanent self. Body continually change. Thoughts continually change. Our relationships to the world and others continually change. *Suffering often stems from clinging to permanent notions of the self (self-image, ego). *Hindu striving for self-realization ( I am the universe ) can make this worse.

30 GROUP DISCUSSION How is the Buddha s notion of the self different than the one espoused by Hindu philosophy (via our Alan Watts reading) and traditional western approaches to personal identity?

31 THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS #1. Dukkha: Life in this world is filled with suffering

32 THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS #2. Cause of Suffering: Craving and Clinging The cause of suffering is self-centered desire & attachments to what is impermanent. Let s take a look: Not having what you desire Becoming attached to things that inherently change. So how can we end suffering?

33 THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS #3. The solution is to eliminate desire (craving) and attachment, thus achieving Nirvana

34 THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS #4. The way to Nirvana is through The Eight-Fold Path Be more consciously aware of what and how you think and behave. Garbage in, garbage out.

35 GROUP DISCUSSION How is the Buddha s approach to reality different than the one espoused by Hindu philosophy (via our Alan Watts reading) and traditional western approaches to the nature of reality?

36 THE BUDDHA S EPISTEMOLOGY Nowhere does the Buddha separate reason from experience. Doesn t see knowledge in the same way as the west. Not a battle between rationalism and empiricism. Reason is the way we understand experience. All knowledge should be tested through experience. Try it yourself See for yourself

37 BUDDHA S PHILOSOPHY As a result, what has Buddha s philosophy said about The nature of reality? Is filled with suffering and impermanent. The nature of personal identity? There is no permanent, separate self. Just a collection of experiences, sensations, and thoughts that change moment by moment. The nature of knowledge? Truth? Knowledge is gained through personal experience. The most important knowledge is about how to live in the world.

38 TAOIST PHILOSOPHY Taoist philosophy originated in China yrs ago. It s primary text is short book of short words of wisdom entitled the Tao Te Ching The author is often referred to as Lao Tzu ( old master ).

39 LAO TZU S ORIGIN STORY

40 THE NATURE OF REALITY When he looked at reality, what did he see? 1. The Tao 2. A World of Opposites

41 TAO: THE WAY From Ch.1 of the Tao Te Ching The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things. Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

42 THE TAO So what did he see? 1. There seems to be a natural intelligence to life. Examples? Think of the growth of a person Think of the body s processes Think of nature, and the web of life. 2. There seems to be natural ebbs and flows to life. Examples? The Tao is -This natural intelligence -This natural flow of life

43 THE TAO Ch. 30 of the Tao Te Ching The Great Tao flows everywhere. It may go left or right All things depend on it for life. and it does not turn away from them. It accomplishes its task, but does not claim credit for it. It clothes and feeds all things but does not claim to be master over them.

44 A WORLD OF OPPOSITES The principle of Yin and Yang : No black without white, no hot without cold, no long without short, no creation without destruction.

45 YIN-YANG: INTERPLAY OF OPPOSITES Ch. 2 of the Tao Te Ching When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad. Being and non-being create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. Long and short define each other. High and low depend on each other. Before and after follow each other.

46 YIN-YANG OF LIFE Have you ever Gotten in your own way? Thought too much about a decision? Missed an opportunity because you were too preoccupied or stressed to see it? Did something through brute force, and later realized there was an easier way? Felt like things came naturally? Felt as if something came through you rather than by you. Lost yourself in an activity? Felt as if everything was going right?

47 IN FLOW WITH THE TAO What makes floating difficult?

48 HOW TO BE IN FLOW WITH THE TAO? Wu-wei Literally means non-action. Act without doing; Work without effort. --Chapter 63 But it really means to not force things. to let go of the need for control. to go with the flow. to align yourself with the Tao; be in harmony with the natural movement of the universe.

49 SIMPLE EXAMPLES OF WU-WEI

50 WU-WEI AND THE FORCE Obi-Wan: Use the Force, Luke. Luke looks up, then starts to look back into the targeting device. He has second thoughts. Obi-Wan: Let go, Luke. True mastery can be gained By letting things go their own way. It can't be gained by interfering. --Chapter 48 Wu-wei means living simply, having patience, and going with the flow of the Tao.

51 WU-WEI AS GOING WITH THE FLOW

52 THE POWER FROM WU-WEI: BEING IN FLOW OR IN THE ZONE

53 GROUP DISCUSSION What is the Taoist notion of wu wei and what specific examples can you think of when it may have been a useful approach to your own life?

54 TAOIST PHILOSOPHY As a result, what has Taoist philosophy said about The nature of reality? The Tao: Indescribable natural intelligence that ebbs & flows. Comprised of opposites in balance. The nature of knowledge? Truth? True knowledge indescribable with language. Truth is the way of the Tao. The nature of free will? Yes. You can choose to go with the current or against it.

55 FINAL EXAM QUESTIONS Form groups of 3-6. In your groups, reflect on the possible final exam questions. Then vote on 1) which question you would most like to answer on the exam and 2) which you would least like to answer.

56 PRACTICALITY OF TAOIST PHILOSOPHY Our view of reality is so perverse that we struggle to do what is simple, and make hard what is naturally easy. Practical Concern: Wisdom is knowledge how, rather than knowledge that. Not a philosophy of what things are, but a philosophy of how to live life. Paying attention to how things are, rather than stressing over how we desire them to be.

57 EASTERN PHILOSOPHY Eastern philosophy as practical philosophy. Eastern philosophy as experiential and very closely associated to observations of nature. Eastern philosophy as more metaphorical and hence more poetic. More poetic = more accurate? Can t we take a more practical, experiential approach to western philosophy too?

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