04 April 2012

Sinology Philosophy & The Bible in One Sentence

From Li Ka Shing's quote to a statement that link up the Chinese and Biblical Philosophy and Wisdom. May that be your principle for life.
While translating, compiling, and organizing Li Ka Sheng's quotes (see Success Principles from Li Ka Shing Quotes), one particular quote stands out and I shared it on Facebook:
建立自己, 追求忘我
build yourself up and then learn to forget about yourself
I have been studying Ancient Chinese Wisdom (see Ancient Chinese Wisdom) and find this short sentence captures the essence of Ancient Chinese Wisdom (or more simply, Sinology).

Building oneself up and developing one's character (修身养性) is the teaching of Confucius Ru School. Forgetting oneself, our pride, our achievement, our ego is the main teaching of Zen Buddhism (禅). Lao Zi Dao School teaches us not to go against the Dao (the Natural Principles of Universe or of God) and also encourages us to forget about our ego too.

Recently heard a message on Confucius teaching and I was reminded that Confucius also taught us to 'forget about ourselves'. In fact, it was even stronger. It said that Confucius had already attained the state of "No-Self". In LunYu 论语, the main book on Confucius sayings, Chapter 9 verse 4 says:

Confucius stops doing four things. No preconception, no certainty, no stubbornness and no ego.
When seeing an event, Confucius has no preconceived opinions or prejudices. He will not say he is absolutely and certainly right. He will be open to the truth and will not be so stubborn and stick to his original opinion. He will also not let his ego get into the way of the truth.

Just going after 'forgetting oneself' is a very tough thing to do since we are born with self-centeredness. It will be easier for us to go after something better. By going after something better, we will easily forget ourselves. So while Li's quote captures the essence of the Chinese philosophy, it stills can be improved by adding the part from Lao Zi's Dao that will help us to focus our attention on the right thing and easily achieve the 'forgetting oneself'.

So, I will need to add one more phase and get:

建立自己, 追求忘我, 跟随道

Build yourself up, learn to forget about yourself by following after the Dao( the natural principles of life).

In fact, following after Dao, in I-Ching, is actually the way of Heaven and Earth. See I-Ching in One Minute for Abundant Life.

It also links us up to the Bible. The Gospel of John 约翰福音 Chapter 1 verse 1 says 
In the beginning was the Word(Dao  ) , and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
In reading the full passage, we know that John was saying the Word is Jesus.

So, I can change the Dao into Jesus and we have a sentence that links up the philosophy of the Chinese Ancient Wisdom and the Biblical Wisdom. 

建立自己, 追求忘我, 跟随耶稣
Build yourself up, forget about yourself, follow Jesus Christ.
This reflects the saying of Jesus in Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me(be my disciple), let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

So in a sentence, we link up the Chinese and Biblical Wisdom.

For a Believer of Christ, it is better to change the order ...

跟随耶稣, 追求忘我, 建立自己.
Follow Jesus, forget oneself and build oneself.
Gal 5:16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh; and you will have Gal 5:22 ... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentlenesses,  and self-control.

We can also add in more phrases to link back to Chinese 礼记 - 大学 The Great Learning as

跟随耶稣, 追求忘我, 建立自己 - 正心、修身、齐家、治国、平天下
Follow Jesus, forget oneself, build oneself up to have a righteous heart, character development, management of the family, ruling the country, and peace on earth.

Lim Liat (C) 4 April 2012

For more on this, please see Chinese Classics & The Bible


Unknown said...

Hello Lim Liat!

Grace and peace to you! I found you from a reply you made on the "One Daring Jew" website while researching the subject of Christians practicing Tai Chi. Accolades on your pursuit of truth while honoring Christ.
I am seriously considering the pursuit of teaching authentic Tai Chi to help others suffering with chronic illness on a full time basis but for some reason having a hard time going "All in". Your website is truly inspiring! Seeing another Christian recognize God's Truth beautifully revealing in so many ways throughout time. God is showing me that I need to surround myself with, and be encouraged by, others on a similar path. Fears, lies I tell myself, and feeling alone in my convictions are getting in the way of what I believe God has called me to do. By far, the biggest reason that always held me hostage was my dislike for conflict. Being a Christian that fully recognizes the profound benefits in such ancient practices while equally professing Christ stirs up emotions on both sides (Taoists/Buddhists and Christians).
I look forward to getting to know you more and will pray for you as you come to mind that you continue to "work out your salvation in fear and trembling" while pursuing your business.


Jesse said...

I have often wondered how well Chinese Philosophy and Christianity would link up. This is fascinating and affirming. Do you have a post that probes the deeper meaning for why this is? My understanding is that Christianity is the truth, and much of Chinese philosophy was striving to find the truth, and so in many ways touches on absolute truth, just as you have described. A universal principle is of course that we need to move beyond ourselves, and we can't do that by a negative focus, but only a positive one. So by focusing on the Greater we build up our lesser.

Lim Liat said...

For more on Ancient Chinese Philosophies and the Bible, please see