Phil 350 Final

What is Chan School's view on reality?
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the southern school represents reality as being one world, one reality that we take part in.
Hui-neng differentiated the idea of nirvana being something of a different world. He explained that it is not of a different world but that it is simply a letting go of desires.

there is idea that our minds when not aligned to Buddhahhood is on the shore and when it is, it is on the other shore

but it is not talking about nirvana being in a different world or realm rather it is the purifying of the brain allows one to let go desires and have a pure experience of the one world that we are all experiencing and apart of.

about being in a state of mind and understanding that allows a person to be liberated from the obsessions and desires, which would allow one to see the true nature of life because one is already in nirvana.
the mind and being is ultimately pure and everyone is born with inherent pureness or Buddhahood.
This pureness is described as not being good nor evil as these words discriminate and separate people
where in Buddhism there tends to be the idea that everyone is the same and nobody or no thing is better or worse than anyone else.

As ordinary people live their lives and experience life they may not manifest their Buddhahood.
To preserve ones pure nature, it is important to internally retrieve the original state of ones mind and nature.
This is done by having the right view which says that everyone and everything has the same buddha nature.

every person has buddha in them even a blade of grass or stone has buddha nature that can be viewed
do to our real life experiences the realization of this may just be for a moment and may be hard to kick old habits that we have been engrained with.
The poem by Shen-Xiu's is explained as a gradual form of enlightenment.

It takes work to clear the dust from the mirror by diligently taking care of it. This indicated that there is a duality to our mind and that our pure mind and our watchful mind need to work together and to attain enlightenment. This northern school of chan perspective is akin to Confucianism in that they want to constantly work and progress over time to gain enlightenment or to be a more perfect person.

The verse by Hui-neng explains that our mind is simply one thing and that enlightenment is the mind being like the sun and is allowed to shine its light.

It seems to indicate that a person does not have to do anything in particular to be enlightened which is unlike the verse by Shen-Xiu. Hui-neng verse indicates that the mind is always brilliant it can just be covered by clouds but it doesnt change the fact that it is already brilliant and as the innate ability to reach enlightenment.
Chan viewed knowledge and language as our conceptualized agreement on what the world is. This is because we ultimately share the same mind and agree on certain terms and concepts that is true for us but may not represent the whole truth of the world.

as there may be more to what that object or person is than language can utter. There is more emphasis on experiential and intuitive knowledge. that is knowledge that doesn't require any thought it merely is aware of its original mind and nature as it is.

For instance an example of drinking water is given where only the person drinking the water can truly understand how cold or warm it is.

I agree that our world is basically just human concepts and our own understanding of things as we see them and not what they may truly be. For instance there was a time not to long ago when we thought atoms were the smallest particles in the universe but through advances in science a new truth has emerged that there are these things called quarks that are subatomic particles that are even smaller. This example is to show that our concept of what is true is ever evolving and it doesn't change the fact that quarks have always been there we were just ignorant to its existence as we may be ignorant to many other aspects to life.
Doaism has similarities to the southern school of Chan in
they both seem to explain there is a real version of the world that we are not fully privy towards. Also another similarity is the idea that you do not necessarily need to do anything in particular to either be enlightened or to be a part of Dao. one must live naturally or to follow ones pureness in order to obtain these qualities.
This is exemplified within a quote by Lin Ji where in one line it says "move your bowels, piss, get dressed, eat your rice, and if you get tired, then lie down. fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what i mean". Here the quote continues to describe the idea that one should follow ones nature and just do what you have to do, there is no need to pile on more and to overthink what you need to do. This reminds me of the story of Siddhartha Gautama the founder of Buddhism where he was born rich then decided to be poor and starve and then through certain trials he discovered essentially that the best practice is to eat when your hungry sleep when your tired and to find some sort of balance in life rather than to live through radicals means and to just be present with yourself and with life.
the challenge of situationism is the idea of a person acting within social norms to be socially accepted or to conform rather than trying to act morally.

Zhang Zai details a couple main ideas around the cognitive model of moral personality by saying it is based off of a persons cognitive ability to recognize the appropriate act for a situation.
This idea is called mind to world where it is dependent upon a persons mind to figure out what is the right action to take for instance should one take off their shoes when going into someone's house or not? When you arrive to a persons house you may be able to recognize that there is a shoe rack next to the door or you can see that the owner does not take off their shoes so you follow suit not out of conforming but out of respect for what rules this individual has sanctioned appropriate for their household.

There is also the idea of World to mind that Confucianism holds to be the appropriate way of handling rites and rules where a leader leads through virtue and regulates people through propriety will then cause people to set themselves right because they will feel shame going against this situation.
Zhang Zai saw that to establish a moral identity it would have to be through a moral transformation that is developed over time and by our volition, because we are not born a perfect moral agent.

A key factor to this moral transformation is the constant and lifelong pursuit of learning because through learning we are able to remove our bad and accomplish what is good. This learning can be done by reading classics, studying the sages, and discussing the essence of learning with friends.

After this Zhang Zai saw that it was important to build a habit of doing good deeds as morality is accumulated through time, effort, and constant self examination. It was also seen to be important to recognize and study people who were moral exemplars.

What was found through these moral exemplars were three common characteristics that included certainty, positivity, and their unity of self and moral goods.

After understanding the exemplars or the sages Zhang Zai found it to be important to understand the external influences that can help one advance in achieving the ultimate moral goal.

These external forces are the rites, rules, and propriety of situationism that allows for one to understand how to act morally but to also understand when one is conforming rather than acting correctly. From here it is important to self regulate and to reduce desires to what is worthy of being desired such as altruistic desires of taking care of the well being of others in distress.

These are all steps towards climbing a moral ladder in order to achieve, what Zhang Zai saw as the ultimate goal, to be an effortless sage. Everything becomes second nature the this type of sage and is similar to riding a bike where at first it is hard but with time and practice one is able to ride a bike effortlessly and through any terrain.
Zhang Zai views moral cultivation as a life long process where you climb a moral ladder through constant effort, through cognitive adjusting, and through learning. What makes this view interesting is that it is program that anyone can follow and allows for development to occur but not everyone will be able to climb the ladder all the way to the effortless sage.
It also provides some understanding for handling different moral situations that may occur. For instance, the Milgram experiment displayed this sentiment where some people where completely against shocking people and some people went along with it because they were not acting on their morality and decided to conform to the social norms of that situation. Here it can be shown that people who act of what they can cognitively believe is right shows they have climbed higher on the moral ladder and can go against social norms if it is truly the right thing to do in that situation. Therefore I do believe through constant practice and self examination that this method can be beneficial in fighting against evil. This is because through moral cultivation one can cognitively figure out for themselves the correct way to act in a situation whether that be by complying to social norms like taking off ones shoes when going into someone's home or go against them like in the Milgram's experiment where they refused to shock people.
Globalist virtue ethics is about understanding what virtuous traits are the most "robust" or have the ability to hold true even through extremely difficult situations. A person who goes by these virtues would be able to stay true to their ethics and never deviate from the right path. For instance a person who participated in the Milgram's experiment who has robust character would never shock a person because it goes against what they believe to be the right thing to do. A big proponent for this kind of thinking are the Cheng brothers and believe that there is real support for there to be a set of universal virtues that everyone can share.

a Moral Skeptic would argue that this kind of thinking is purely idealistic and questions if this kind of person would truly be able to hold on to their virtues through any challenging situation.
The key virtues by the cheng brothers include humaneness or ren, Authenticity or cheng, and Respectfulness or Jing.

Humanness is considered the highest peak of virtues. This is because it allows one to care for the well being of others and is associated with idea that humans evolved to have a reciprocal altruism. Which means that when one person does a good deed for another than that person who received the good deed will be more willing to help the person who helped them. This allows for the progression of relationships and doing good deeds for people.
The Humaneness is also closely connected to the metaphysical idea that we are all one with each other. This can further show why we want to connect and help each other because it is ultimately good for us all.

The second virtue of authenticity is also important because it is how we function naturally and if you are not functioning as your authentic self then you are already not acting morally and putting on a facade. This will taint ones ability to be virtuous and will stray one from doing good.

The Third virtue includes respectfulness. Respectfulness is a way of fencing off evil and allows one to act authentically. It is explained as a mental state of devotion, commitment, and concentration. When one is able to act in this way it clearly shows that one is able to maintain a a centered calm mind that can handle great stresses and to act in a way that is more true to ones virtue.
Read 222-226. Evaluate Cheng brothers' virtue ethics against the challenge of moral skepticism. Do you think this mora teaching can answer to the problems raised by situationism? Do you think this moral teaching can help combat evils in the world?Moral skeptics like Gilbert Harman argued against the Cheng Brothers and doubted the existence of robust character traits. These traits are not going to be completely fixed in people and will vary with each situation. It is impossible to truly know if these traits can be real and to be long lasting or robust. Skeptics also worry about how true one can examine oneself. There is a great amount of potential error and lack of knowledge for ones true self. How does one even know what a true self is? This can lead to the incorporation of virtues that are not robust which would potentially lead one down the wrong path. Even though it is not possible to truly say for sure if there are robust character traits I believe that the three key traits the Cheng Brothers talk about are great traits to follow. Adhering to humaneness, authenticity, and respect can allow one to develop a moral character that is at least more true and potentially more virtuosic than if someone did not follow these 3 virtues. When a situation occurs that is extremely stressful I believe it has a greater chance of prevailing than by just criticizing it with no alternative solution.What is Zhu Xi's moral epistemology? How can learning about external things improve our own moral cultivation?Zhu Xi's moral epistemology is about gaining morality through a gradual learning process. This learning process would slowly allow a person to understand what something is and why something is. By understanding these two properties a person is able to get a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a morally correct person. Understanding and morality are closely linked because as one learns more one can see more intricacies in all aspects of life that allows one to make a more correct decision over time. An exampled used was watering a plant. someone may have a good heart and want to keep watering a plant every day to keep alive and healthy but they may not understand what type of plant it is. This could lead to overhydrating the plant which would in turn kill the plant. With more knowledge one can learn more about what type of plant it is and understand why you should only water it once a week compared to once a day. for instance it could be a dessert plant versus a jungle plant which would indicate different patterns for watering the plant correctly. So understanding what makes a situation and understanding why a situation occurs can lead to a deeper understanding that will allow a person to take the right action.What is Zhu Xi's methodology in cultivating sagehood? Do you think this method will work? Do you think this moral teaching can help combat evils in the world?Zhu Xi believed that in order to cultivate sagehood the most important prerequisite is the virtue of reverence in the heart. This reverence in the heart is the ability to clear the mind from external factors and to be able to focus on how the mind is operating on a task. This begins as an inward effort to construct the mind properly but also requires to externally show proper behavior. Such as wearing the correct clothing for a certain event displays ones ability to wear something that is appropriate. This is important because it displays respect instead of wearing whatever may feel comfortable, as that would display ones personal desire and may be disrespectful. For sagehood it begins with reverence but also requires self discipline. Discipline would allow one to become serious which brings out an alert mind that can grasp the concepts of things in life. With these two mental states it does seem like it could help fight the evils of the world. By seeing things for what they are due to learning and by being clear headed can produce a higher level of awareness to truth and morality.Read 239-242. What is Zhu Xi's theory of moral motivation? How are we motivated to engage in moral acts according to him?Zhu Xi's theory of moral motivation is about how a moral act must be motivated by the moral judgment of what is right and good. Zhu Xi believes that moral knowledge is what must come first but that moral action is what is most important. Without acting in accordance to ones morals than all the moral knowledge is essentially useless. Zhu Xi sees the mind as the most integral part to moral motivation as internal processes is how we determine if an action is appropriate or not therefore our motivation from our internal morals will propel people to act correctly. These acts should also come from a place of deliberation rather than spontaneity which would also allow one to appropriately process a situation and understand the principles behind it that would allow one to make a moral judgement and act it out with proper intent.What is Wang Yangming's theory of Liangzhi? Do you think we have it in us?Wang Yangming is quoted saying "the sense of right and wrong is what one knows without thinking it over and what one is capable of without having learnt it; this is so called Liangzhi" This is explaining that people can naturally know that a particular thing is right or wrong from intuition rather than from learning. I am not sure if this can be true, It may be a possibility for the average person but when you start thinking about the spectrum of humans whether that be intelligence, emotional intelligence, or whatever other aspect of the human experience everyone seems to have their ability and limitations. I question whether this kind of naturalness is correct because it demands that every person to be true to ones natural self and to go with their judgments at all times which may just have biases that they are unaware of. When you apply the scientific model to scenarios humans are way less likely to be able to predict that something is a good or bad outcome due to our biases and limited understanding of the world. To be fair I do believe there are some natural inclinations that we can hold to be true for ourselves but to say that it is true for every situation is nearly impossible. Baby's can swim naturally, crawl, smile and cry but just because something is natural does not always make it good. For instance, we naturally want to eat fatty sugary food because it use to be somethin we had to hunt and fight for but in today's society we need to do the opposite and reduce our intake to live healthy.What is Wang Yangming's moral reflexivism? What is his view on human desire?Wang Yangming explains in the book that reflexivism has two selves "the self that naturally produces ideas, emotions and desires, and the other self that is constantly monitoring the natural self's mental activities like a cat catching mice" Here reflexivism is about how we have our idea brain and our monitoring brain and both interact but our monitoring self has to be in control. It watches our thoughts and desires to figure out which thoughts are correct and which one should be put away. Here what I agree with is that it takes introspection in order to understand oneself and to improve ones thought patterns that line up with what ought to be good as much as possible. To me this is more about how our brain learns to understand ourselves rather than to go with our natural inclinations and understanding of what is right and wrong. What I have a hard time grasping is everyone's ability to do this because I feel that some people just may not be able to make certain decisions on morality such as a baby born with autism. There are cases where these children will spit on people, yell, and do other negative behaviors and it is not their fault it is just the world overloads their senses and are unable to act or monitor their thoughts correctly at all times.From the whole chapter, what do you conclude about Wang Yangming's moral methodology? On what points do you agree or disagree with him? Do you think this method will work to fight against evils in the world?Wang Yangming moral methodology has good points but is also very idealistic and feels like it forgets about the potential outliers of society. The good points made include cleansing our mind of selfish ideas, and being introspective of our thoughts. In order to cleanse our minds he states that we must be like a cat trying to catch mice. Which means our monitoring self should examine the thoughts, ideas, and desires and get rid of what is negative and nourish what is good and useful. This also ties into having a method of introspection in ones life. I believe it is important to have a form of introspection whether that be from meditation, creating art, or writing down ones thoughts in a journal. This process is a way to understanding the self which can help you understand others as well and be able to make more correct decisions. With that said this moral methodology tends to feels kind of like a hippie, with no real understanding of the worlds problems. it seems to tell people that all everyone has to do is think about your thoughts, be natural, and everything will be fine. Where there may be some merit to that way of thinking I still feel that it is important to learn, grow, and try to understand what is good and bad rather than to just believe or take it on pure faith that something is good.Read 267-274: What is Wang Fuzhi's sentimentalist theory of moral motivation?emotions are motivational force and moral sentiments is how we guide these emotions properly. we need to use reflection and principle of fairness to understand the needs of others.What is Wang Fuzhi's moral theory? How do you evaluate his proposal? Do you think this theory can help fight against evils in the world?-altruism is possible through the combination of moral sentiments, emotions, and reflection. -principle of fairness (understanding we are biological and social beings that share the same physical and material needs.) -emotions are motivational force and moral sentiments is how we guide these emotions properly. -with individual effort and an appropriate moral culture allows all people a chance at cultivating ones morality.Read 274-284: How do we enlarge our circles of concern according to Wang Fuzhi?social sentimentalism does not place motivational force on the moral sentiment of sympathy alone; rather, it advocates the combined force of the four sentiments proposed by Mencius Building a Culture of Altruism Social culture is affective, and we thus need to construct a moral world in our society based on our shared inborn moral sentimentsWhat is Confucianism?(1) perfectibility in all men (everyone is capable of perfecting themselves and their character) (2) daily self examination (an important part to developing oneself is through reflecting on actions and thoughts daily) (3) self improvement (through self reflection one should seek self improve first and foremost) (4) Hierarchy (moral, social, political) (sage, human people, superior people, the masses, inferior people. everyone has their role in society.) (5) superior man (a loyal person who thinks of righteousness) (6) filial piety (about having respect, serving, and having reverence for ones parents)What Is Daoism?(1) Doa is nameless (dao is eternal and has no name) (2) Abandon learning (it is important not to learn but to be natural) (3) Wu-wei= without action (it is important to not act and to let nature take its course) (4) embrace simplicity (a simple life is free of desires) (5) embrace nature (embracing nature means embracing dao because the dao models itself after nature) (6) Be like a useless tree (a useless tree is allowed to be what it is supposed to be and not what others think it should be)What Is Chinese Buddhism?(1) buddha mind (= is everyone's true mind), (2) buddha nature (=is within everyone; everyone has the potential to become buddha), (3) becoming a buddha (=by seeing ones true nature) (4) (southern chan says) mind is originally pure and clear (5) Enlightenment (cannot be taught can only be reached by one's own effort and understanding of one's true nature) (6) materialism as a cause to suffering (materialism leads to attachment which causes suffering and to reach nirvana one must be detached from our mind and reality)what Is Neo-Confucianism or Neo-Confucian Moral Philosophy?(1) programs for moral transformation (programs to develop morality) (2) Moral motivation (each neo Confucius teacher has their own emphasis on what motivates a person I.e. knowledge/emotions/ understanding) (3) Robust moral traits (idea that their are traits that can help someone against any situational pressure) (4) moral judgment (using reason and reflection to develop a moral character) (5) moral intuition (using our innate conscience to develop moral character) (6) moral sentiments (using our emotions and moral sprouts to develop moral character)