Sunday, November 27, 2016

THE WISDOM OF ... Bruce Lee (Nov 27, 1940 - Jul 20, 1973) ("Striking Thoughts")

Bruce Lee would've been 76 today! I'm posting some excerpts below from "Striking Thoughts" in his honor.

Also, I posted 4 videos to this site's Facebook Page with Bruce Lee's philosophical bits. Please check it out here:

50 of the 825 aphorisms are divided into the sections they appeared in. I have another 37 I didn’t have a chance to put into the correct sections yet. In time, I will work on organizing the 37 additional aphorisms into the appropriate sections.

Within the pages of Striking Thoughts, you will find the secrets of Bruce Lee's amazing success— as an actor, martial artist, and inspiration to the world. Consisting of eight sections, Striking Thoughts covers 72 topics and 825 aphorisms—from spirituality to personal liberation and from family life to filmmaking—all of which Bruce lived by.

His ideas helped energize his life and career, and made it possible for him to live a happy and assured life, overcoming difficult obstacles with seeming ease. His ideas also inspired his family, friends, students, and colleagues to achieve success in their own lives and this personal collection will help you in your journey too.

Sections include:

·         On First Principles—including life, existence, time, and death
·         On Being Human—including the mind, happiness, fear, and dreams
·         On Matters of Existence—health, love, marriage, raising children, ethics, racism, and adversity
·         On Achievement—work, goals, faith, success, money, and fame
·         On Art and Artists—art, filmmaking, and acting
·         On Personal Liberation—conditioning, Zen Buddhism, meditation, and freedom
·         On the Process of Becoming—self-actualization, self-help, self-expression, and growth
·         On Ultimate (Final) Principles—Yin-yang, totality, Tao, and the truth

"A teacher is never a giver of truth—he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself. A good teacher is merely a catalyst."—Bruce Lee

Part I : On First Principles

·         Emptiness the starting point. — In order to taste my cup of water you must first empty your cup. My friend, drop all your preconceived and fixed ideas and be neutral. Do you know why this cup is useful? Because it is empty.
·         Life is wide, limitless. There is no border, no frontier.
·         Life lives; and in the living flow, no questions are raised. The reason is that life is a living now! So, in order to live life whole-heartedly, the answer is life simply is.
·         The meaning of life is that it is to be lived, and it is not to be traded and conceptualized and squeezed into a pattern of systems.
·         The aphorism "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he" contains the secret of life.
·         Meaning is found in relationship. — Meaning is the relationship of the foreground figure to the background.
·         Life is never stagnation. It is constant movement, unrhythmic movement, as we as constant change. Things live by moving and gain strength as they go.
·         Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning.
·         The primary reality is not what I think, but that I live, for those also live who do not think.
·         The timeless moment. — The "moment" has no yesterday or tomorrow. It is not the result of thought and therefore has no time.
·         Knowledge, surely, is always of time, whereas knowing is not of time. Knowledge is from a source, from accumulation, from conclusion, while knowing is a movement.
·         To realize freedom the mind has to learn to look at life, which is a vast movement, without the bondage of time, for freedom lies beyond the field of consciousness — care for watching, but don't stop and interpret "I am free," then you're living in a memory of something that has gone before.
·         To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to spend or waste, and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.
·         Time means a lot to me because, you see, I, too, am also a learner and am often lost in the joy of forever developing and simplifying. If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of.
·         Be aware of doing your best to understand the ROOT in life, and realize the DIRECT and the INDIRECT are in fact a complementary WHOLE. It is to see things as they are and not to become attached to anything — to be unconscious meant to be innocent of the working of a relative (empirical) mind — where there is no abiding of though anywhere on anything — this is being unbound. This not abiding anywhere is the root of our life.
·         Concentration is the ROOT of all the higher abilities in man.
·         Seek to understand the root. — It is futile to argue as to which single leaf, which design of branch, or which attractive flower you like; when you understand the root, you understand all its blossoming.
·         What we are after is the ROOT and not the branches. The root is the real knowledge; the branches are surface knowledge. Real knowledge breeds "body feel" and personal expression; surface knowledge breeds mechanical conditioning and imposing limitation and squelches creativity.
·         Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.

Part II : On Being Human

·         Flow in the living moment. — We are always in a process of becoming and NOTHING is fixed. Have no rigid system in you, and you'll be flexible to change with the ever changing. OPEN yourself and flow, my friend. Flow in the TOTAL OPENNESS OF THE LIVING MOMENT. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo.
·         You cannot force the Now. — But can you neither condemn nor justify and yet be extraordinarily alive as you walk on? You can never invite the wind, but you must leave the window open.
·         The Moment is freedom. — I couldn't live by a rigid schedule. I try to live freely from moment to moment, letting things happen and adjusting to them.
·         The Now is indivisible. — Completeness, the now, is an absence of the conscious mind to strive to divide that which is indivisible. For once the completeness of things is taken apart it is no longer complete.
·         The Western approach to reality is mostly through theory, and theory begins by denying reality — to talk about reality, to go around reality, to catch anything that attracts our sense-intellect and abstract it away from reality itself. Thus philosophy begins by saying that the outside world is not a basic fact, that its existence can be doubted and that every proposition in which the reality of the outside world is affirmed is not an evident proposition but one that needs to be divided, dissected and analyzed. It is to stand consciously aside and try to square a circle.
·         In Science we have finally come back to the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, who said everything is flow, flux, process. There are no "things." NOTHINGNESS in Eastern language is "no-thingness". We in the West think of nothingness as a void, an emptiness, an nonexistence. In Eastern philosophy and modern physical science, nothingness — no-thingness — is a form of process, ever moving.
·         What IS is more important than WHAT SHOULD BE. To many people are looking at "what is" from a position of thinking "what should be."
·         Conditioning obstructs our view of reality. — We do not see IT in its suchness because of our indoctrination, crooked and twisted.
·         True thusness is without defiling thought; it cannot be known through conception and thought.
·         Reality is apparent when one ceases to compare. — There is "what is" only when there is no comparison at all, and to live with what is, is to be peaceful.
·         Reality is being itself. — It is being itself, in becoming itself. Reality in its isness, the "isness" of a thing. Thus isness is the meaning — having freedom in its primary sense — not limited by attachments, confinements, partialization, complexities.
·         A self-willed man obeys a different law, the one law I, too, hold absolutely sacred — the human law in himself, his own individual will.
·         One should be in harmony with, not in opposition to, the strength and force of the opposition. This means that one should do nothing that is not natural or spontaneous; the important thing is not to strain in any way.
·         The dualistic philosophy reigned supreme in Europe, dominating the development of Western science. But with the advent of atomic physics, findings based on demonstrable experiment were seen to negate the dualistic theory, and the trend of thought since then has been back to the monistic conception of the ancient Taoists.
·         If thought exists, I who think and the world about which I think also exist; the one exists but for the other, having no possible separation between them. Therefore, the world and I are both in active correlation; I am that which sees the world, and the world is that which is seen by me. I exist for the world and the world exists for me. … One sure and primary and fundamental fact is the joint existence of a subject and of its world. The one does not exist without the other. I acquire no understanding of myself except as I take account of objects, of the surroundings. I do not think unless I think of things — and there I find myself.
·         When we hold to the core, the opposite sides are the same if they are seen from the center of the moving circle. I do not experience; I am experience. I am not the subject of experience; I am that experience. I am awareness. Nothing else can be I or can exist.
·         Taoist philosophy … is essentially monistic. … Matter and energy, Yang and Yin, heaven and earth, are conceived of as essentially one or as two coexistent poles of one indivisible whole.
·         Voidness is that which stands right in the middle between this and that. The void is all-inclusive; having no opposite, there is nothing which it excludes or opposes. The all illuminating light shines and is beyond the movement of the opposites.
·         Like everyone else you want to learn the way to win. But never to accept the way to lose. To accept defeat — to learn to die — is to be liberated from it. Once you accept, you are free to flow and to harmonize. Fluidity is the way to an empty mind. You must free your ambitious mind and learn the art of dying.

Part III : On Matters of Existence

·         True thusness is the substance of thought, and thought is the function of true thusness. There is no thought except that of true thusness. Thusness does not move, but its motion and function are inexhaustible.
·         Liberate yourself from concepts and see the truth with your own eyes. — It exists HERE and NOW; it requires only one thing to see it: openness, freedom — the freedom to be open and not tethered by any ideas, concepts, etc. … When our mind is tranquil, there will be an occasional pause to its feverish activities, there will be a let-go, and it is only then in the interval between two thoughts that a flash of UNDERSTANDING — understanding, which is not thought — can take place.
·         Balance your thoughts with action. — If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done.

Part IV : On Achievement

·         Concepts vs. self-actualization. — Instead of dedicating your life to actualize a concept of what you should be like, ACTUALIZE YOURSELF. The process of maturing does not mean to become a captive of conceptualization. It is to come to the realization of what lies in our innermost selves.
·         Life is better lived than conceptualized. — This writing can be less demanding should I allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I've come to understand that life is best to be lived — not to be conceptualized. If you have to think, you still do not understand.
·         Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.

Part VIII : On Ultimate (Final) Principles

·         What you HABITUALLY THINK largely determines what you will ultimately become.
·         Know the difference between a catastrophe and an inconvenience. — To realize that it's just an inconvenience, that it is not a catastrophe, but just an unpleasantness, is part of coming into your own, part of waking up.
·         The change is from inner to outer. — We start by dissolving our attitude not by altering outer conditions.
·         Choose the positive. — You have choice — you are master of your attitude — choose the POSITIVE, the CONSTRUCTIVE. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.
·         Cease negative mental chattering. — If you think a thing is impossible, you'll make it impossible. Pessimism blunts the tools you need to succeed.
·         A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
·         Don't fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.

Please check out these selected Bruce Lee-related entries...

Animated GIF's of Bruce Lee:

Videos of Bruce:

Other Bruce Lee-related posts:



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