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The Lost Writings of Wu Hsin:

Volume Two: The Magnificence of the Ordinary


It has been said that should someone find a bright star, they have no right to keep it in their pocket. Instead, they should carry it openly so that its light may shine on all.

These lost writings of the ancient Chinese Wu Hsin are one such star. In Volume One: Aphorisms for Thirsty Fish, Wu Hsin spelled out the reality of being and stripped away the hallucination of the separate, individual doer.

In Volume Two: The Magnificence of the Ordinary, he concentrates much of his writing in describing what its like to live from this different point of view. Surprisingly, it is not some cosmic, mind blowing, disassociation from everything. Instead, he suggests that the mystery of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

He presents a view of the world where black is not separate from white. They are two opposite poles of a unitary wholeness. No good without bad, no high without low, etc. What may be good today may be bad tomorrow. Seeing this clearly, one understands it is best to live without judgment.

He also draws a definitive distinction between knowledge and knowing. The former is of things, of form, of the world. It is cumulative. The latter is organic, inherent and not contingent on anything. It is the very movement from knowledge to knowing that is the unambiguous affirmation of a life lived naturally and in alignment with What-Is. He describes such a life this way:

Wu Hsin has given up All notions of what he is not: Not the mind, Not the body, Not the senses.

He knows that he knows these But is not them. His is a life of ease. No longer habitual, No longer mechanical, Remembering only What needs to be remembered; Doing only What needs to be done, Spontaneously, in every moment.

His words are often terse, yet undeniably potent; provocative and immensely profound. In a sense, each text is hologramatic; a seeming part containing the whole. A single statement within this collection is sufficient to jolt the reader into a new dimension of awareness. He prescribes no process, sets out no path to be followed. Everything unfolds. He stresses that none of this is something to be acquired. It is not something to be gained which can eventually be lost. It is here and now; it was here before and will continue to be here in the future. It is the very Ground of Being and it is available to all without further postponement or delay. He sums this up succinctly in his opening four lines:

The world is a collection of objects. That which perceives the objects Cannot itself be an object. You are That.

There will always be conscious beings wondering about the fact of their being conscious and enquiring into its cause and aim. What am I? Who am I? Such questions have no beginning and no end. And it is crucial to know the answers, for without a full understanding of oneself, both in time and in timelessness, life is an illusion, a projection from the mind, completely enslaved to neurology, genetics and circumstances.

Simplicity and humility are the keynotes of the life and words of Wu Hsin. He espouses no teaching, claiming he has none to offer, no system or philosophy or method to expound. He knows his own real nature, acknowledging that it is no different from anothers. The key, he suggests, is that the mind must cease its incessant movement and recognize and penetrate its own being, not as being anything in particular, neither here nor there, but just timeless being. This timeless being is the source of both the primal energy of life and of consciousness. Every human has it, every human is it, but not all know themselves as they truly are. Instead they identify themselves with a name, a shape, a personality and the collections and content of their thoughts. The only way to rectify the error is to understand the modes of the mind and to turn it into an instrument of self-discovery. In earlier times, the mind was originally a tool in the struggle for biological survival. It had to learn the laws and ways of Nature in order to conquer it. That it did, but in the process, the mind acquired the art of symbolic thinking and communication, the art and skill of language. Words became important; ideas and acquired the appearance of reality, the conceptual replaced the real. The result is that man now lives in a world, where verbal pointers are mistaken to be facts. The most commonly used word is I. The mind includes in it anything and everything relating to its counterpart, the body. To explore the sense of I, to reach its source, is the breakthrough into the real and away from the imagined. Discontinuous, the sense of I must have a source from which it emanates and returns. As to methods of realizing ones unity with beingness and life, Wu Hsin is elusive. But for all, the portal, regardless of how one arrives at it, is the sense of am-ness, prior to the notion of I am, as something separate and distinct. It is through apperceiving the full scope and vastness of this am-ness, that one can realize the primordial and the ultimate. This dwelling on the sense of being is simple, easy and natural. No preparation is required and no effort, regardless of its intensity, can achieve it. The payoff is that one becomes fully conscious while remaining active and is therefore a gift to the entire world. Life goes on, but it is spontaneous and free, meaningful and happy.

Volume Two, The Magnificence of the Ordinary continues Wu Hsins elucidation of this natural state. In it, he provides additional pointers to this effortless way of being.

The world is a collection of objects. That which perceives the objects Cannot itself be an object. You are That.

Just as honey is not sweetness, The words of Wu Hsin are not The truth. However, time spent with these words is like The aftermath of rain. In due course, a sprouting of Understanding will occur and Will bear fruit at a pace Outside of ones control.

Do not deem Wu Hsin to be insane Simply because you cannot hear The music he dances to. Man is the one who is insane: His solution to his Need for security is to Lock himself away in a prison. What could be more secure than A prison? He passes his time In a solitary cell labeled me. Believing he is now safe and that No other can harm him, He has exchanged freedom For security. What is outside The walls of the prison is the unknown, Possibly not secure, Not safe, Alien, at times hostile, and Not at all predictable. Yet what sane man would choose Prison over freedom? Man is the one who is insane: He trades the experience of life, Here and now, For time and attention spent On regretting the past, Wishing for a better past and Hoping for a brighter future,

For a future that will right What is now deemed not right. The fragrance of the apple blossoms, The laughter of a child, The blueness of the sky, All sacrificed on the altar of Mental preoccupations. What a waste! Man is the one who is insane: Yet, quite normal Within societal boundaries. Numerous methods may lead one to Being more comfortable. But that is all you get: One who is more comfortable in their prison, Not one freed from their prison. Nothing gets a person out of their prison Because the person is the prison.

Wu Hsin may say something well; That doesnt mean he has Anything to say. What he speaks of is greater than Anything he can say about it. He will reveal it In much the same way As a sculptor reveals the image, By removing chunks from the block.

These words are not directed to Any individual, Any personality, Any you. Instead they go to that Which supports the you, Sustains the you, Yet is prior to it.

If one takes the rear end of a dog From the front end of a dog One has no dog.

Yu Ping watched the moon rise Yu Ping watched the moon set. He saw the sun rise and the sun set. Day after day: Moon rise, set Sun rise, set. Noticing that the sun always rose, After the moon set, Yu Ping wrongly concluded that The setting of the moon was The cause of the rising of the sun.

How can black be known In the absence of white?

The success of one Can only be measured against The failure of another.

To whatever degree Man attempts to control nature, Nature responds in kind. It cannot be mastered but It can be destroyed. In so doing, Man destroys himself.

It is the way of energy that It does not need a governor. Why perpetuate an illusion By seeking to control anything?

All enemies are implicit allies In the game of hatred. In the absence of either, There is no game.

Perfect archery Has no archer.

The strategy of seeking An advantageous position Over life is The wellspring of sorrow.

Wu Hsin did not Come into the world; Rather, he came out from it.

Man and his environment are not Separate and distinct; Push one and the other moves. This interaction is an Integral process of a Unitary wholeness.

At what point does Telling your god What to do and What you want, Become tiresome? At what point is this Seen through For the sham that it is?

Time eats every thing.

All life is a single event: One moment flowing into the next, Naturally. Nothing causing everything. Everything causing everything.

How is beginning defined? Is it the birth of the baby or Is it the birth of its mother?

What is the world other than Numberless mirrors Reflecting the light from A single source?

The Source of being Cannot be conceived. Only objects are conceived, While the subject remains Finer than mist. Wu Hsin advises to Stop searching for What cannot be found and Instead realize that Ones inherent nature is that of The sought.

No amount of study, No attendance in any school Can teach one to be oneself. Being is everything, Being any thing in particular is An illusion.

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