Friday, August 25, 2017
I thought this Buddhist concept was like the Canadian way of compromise, to remain neutral, and to strive for balance. I have increasingly come to realize our attempts to translate eastern philosophy into English is quite subpar and pained, and the reasons behind this are mainly because for a great deal of the philosophical concepts we don't have words so the translation becomes a clumsy amalgamation of English words that try to convey the meaning. As well there is an inherent western cultural bias in translating these concepts that creeps in even under the best intentions. In trying to grasp the idea of the Middle Way I often thought well yes moderation is the key; this of course having a connection to my cultural bias. But upon closer study of this concept I can see that isn't the intended meaning. The meaning is more along the lines of dispassionate non choosing of either extreme that is rooted in the teaching of the Tao and the concept of Wu Wei. The Middle Way is just letting life and its intricacies flow like a river course takes the path of least resistance using a power greater than its own to establish its outreach. This lack of action forcing an outcome is being in harmony with the Tao. Wu Wei is the concept of non action which is how to be in accord with the Tao. I picked up on this meaning when I connected it with attachments and not getting attached to something. Humans are very passionate beings and once we discover something we like or find it beneficial we addict to it and can become dependent on it or want to control it. After we realize this flaw in our behaviour that has perhaps caused us pain and suffering we then forcefully avoid situations and behaviours which can cause this psychic or physical dependency and lead to interruption within our lives. The Middle Way is not teaching us to temper our zeal and perhaps let a little bit in and try to control it that way, which never works anyhow. Instead it is teaching a way to not get attached or not trying to force yourself to fight against getting attached. Just let things happen, go with the flow, enjoy this temporal experience, and let go when it is time. The right time will become obvious and you go with it. You can see for example how this applies to life, death, and love affairs. The attachment way leads to heavy amounts of suffering. The Middle Way leads to celebration and adaptation to the rhythms of life as embodied in the concept of maya, maya teaching us how this created world we find ourselves in is impermanent.