Friday, February 24, 2017

Why Do People Naturally Cultivate Virtue?

(The following is an excerpt from a letter to a Yi Fa Society student)

The answer to the question "why do humans decide to cultivate Virtue naturally" is because Virtue is a part of nature, it's part of the fundamental structure of reality.

However, another thing I think you need to somewhat distance yourself from is the idea that Virtue is tied into our ideas of "good".
There's a lot of things a given culture (including ours) will think of as "good" which is not a part of Virtue in the sense of "De", of nature.

And it can be better to understand Virtue, if you are able, as a natural substance, which as such is actually "neutral" in comparison to our ideas of morality.
This is an inherent understanding of Eastern philosophy, and especially in both the I Ching and the Tao Te Ching.

Because it is natural, people do try inherently to cultivate Virtue; but because people are so often distanced from what is Real and what is Natural, it is often very difficult for them to go far.
In particular, a lot of people will only take partial measures to generate Virtue; some will try to work on Virtue only in their minds and ways of thinking, others will try to do so only in terms of acts, and most will fail to engage in the cultivation of their Consciousness (not even realizing that this is essential to understand and develop Virtue; they think they already "know" what Virtue is, so it's not necessary to actually expand their consciousness as a prerequisite to becoming Virtuous!).

On the other hand, some spiritual practitioners will think that meditation and spiritual exercises alone, without the actual application of Virtue in their lives, is enough. Like that thinking happy thoughts, or trying to calm the mind, is itself Virtue.
That's not the case either.

There's much further elaboration on these issues in the Yi Fa Curriculum at Level 2 and especially Level 3.

1 comment:

  1. My answer before I read your article:

    We are essentially made out of virtue it is the substance that fills the mechanics of our mind -- if you can imagine the mind as a sphere made up of very small machines. The edge of it is the limits of our mind/virtue -- this edge represents both our boundaries/limits of 'our ability to be virtuous' and also the full-extent of it's current success. The idealized shapes of that boundary is by definition different than it's current state. However the idealized shape is a product of the imagination, which if the imagination switches from synthesis and antithesis to simple observation we do not feel we are our of place, but are exactly where we need to be. Because the power of visualization is being used to observe rather than modulate.


    Reading your article now I am surprised by the similarities of thought process. Good to know!!