Master’s Viewpoint

Wu Hsin offers a highly refined view of life and living. When he writes “Nothing appears as it seems”, he challenges the reader to question and verify every belief and every assumption.

Brevity was the trademark of his writing style. Whereas his contemporaries were writing lengthy tomes, Wu Hsin’s style reflected his sense that words, too, were impediments to the attainment of Understanding; that they were only pointers and nothing more. He would use many of the same words over and over because he felt that people needed to hear words repeatedly, until the Understanding was louder than the words.

His writings are filled with paradoxes, which cause the mind to slow down and, at times, to even stop. Reading Wu Hsin, one must ponder. However, it is not an active pondering, but a passive one, much in the same way as one puts something in the oven and lets it bake for a while.

He repeatedly returns to three key points. First, on the phenomenal plane, when one ceases to resist What-Is and becomes more in harmony with It, one attains a state of Ming, or clear seeing. Having arrived at this point, all action becomes wei wu wei, or action without action (non-forcing) and there is a working in harmony with What-Is to accomplish what is required.

Second, as the clear seeing deepens (what he refers to as the opening of the great gate), the understanding arises that there is no one doing anything and that there is only the One doing everything through the many and diverse objective phenomena which serve as Its instruments.

From this flows the third and last: the seemingly separate me is a misapprehension, created by the mind which divides everything into pseudo-subject (me) and object (the world outside of this me). This seeming two-ness (dva in Sanskrit, duo in Latin, dual in English), this feeling of being separate and apart, is the root cause of unhappiness.

The return to wholeness is nothing more than the end of this division. It is an apperception of the unity between the noumenal and the phenomenal in much the same way as there is a single unity between the sun and sunlight. Then, the pseudo-subject is finally seen as only another object while the true Subjectivity exists prior to the arising of both and is their source.

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 writings are one such star. Wu Hsin spells out the reality of being and strips away the hallucination of the separate, individual doer.

He concentrates much of his writing in describing what it’s 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 these 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 another’s.

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 one’s 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.

His great treatise is laden with surprising statements. For example:

One inherent error is
The preference for
The song of the future over
The seeming blandness of
The present moment.
Another error is
Using the mind
To try to understand
The words of Wu Hsin.
The mind is a tool
Unsuited to this task.
The proper tool is silence.
The seed is in the ground;
The sun will shine;
The rain will fall;
Nothing need be done.

Nothing need be done. After all the words have been read, after their meaning has been pondered with new concepts possibly added, nothing need be done. How hard this is for the Western mind to accept. “What do I need to do to get it?” is the usual question. Here, Wu Hsin provides the disconcerting answer “Nothing need be done”.

Behind this statement lies the even more disquieting question “Who is there to do anything?” Therein, the reader is returned to one of the central themes of Wu Hsin, that is, that there really is no such thing as an individual:

There is a belief of separateness,
That you are separate from the rest.
There is nothing you can do
To rid yourself of this belief because
“You” is the belief.

Stated in modern terms, the philosophy of Wu Hsin could be summed up in this manner:

There is thinking and there is functioning, distinct from thinking.

Thinking reflects the programming for survival, for continuity, which manifests through the psychosomatic apparatus. A reference point is created via the thought me. This me is the sum or totality of all fears: the fear of pain, the fear of loss, and ultimately, the fear of absence. Most of the thoughts regarding me are repetitious, an extraneous feedback loop in the nervous system.

Interestingly however, thought is not born in the brain any more than a radio creates sound. It is merely transmitted through it.

Functioning occurs through the workings of consciousness and the life-force. Functioning is effortless and natural. Cells are replaced, wastes are eliminated, what needs to be done gets done. There is an aware-presence-energy.

Giving attention to thought perpetuates the programming. Giving attention to the functioning, the aware-presence-energy, facilitates the de-programming.

The “I/me” is latent in the apparatus at birth, as the flower is latent in the seed. The preliminary programming is installed genetically.

At some point between 18-24 months, sufficient memories, both pleasant and unpleasant, have accumulated thereby triggering the “I/me” or self consciousness to arise.  Seeing itself as separate and insecure causes the activation (boot) of the programming as a means of protection. It is perpetually modified and adjusted (upgraded) by the experiences of the apparatus and is further “tweaked” by the moment-by-moment adjustments made by the endocrine system.

From that point forward, the hardware (soma) receives the input from the environment. It is processed by the software (psyche) which provides the output ([re]action). There is no individual, as such, doing anything. Everything that happens is the cause of everything that happens.

There is no center to infinity.

I strongly doubt that Wu Hsin would want readers to take him at his word. Instead, he would ask that each investigate the matter deeply within oneself. Search for the individual, locate the operating center.

This is the lasting challenge of one of the most profound teachers of all time.



10 Responses to Master’s Viewpoint

  1. Lisa Fair says:

    Thank you!!!
    Love this site!
    Do you have an email sign up?

  2. sanatana says:

    Thanks Lisa. No email signup for now

  3. Lisa Fair says:

    Thanks again so much!!

  4. Suraya says:

    Very good site…thank you!

  5. edith says:

    “Brevity was the trademark of his writing style”. Is Wu alive in the flesh or is this you presenting his teachings only?

  6. sanatana says:

    Wu Hsin is alive via the flesh.

  7. Kelli says:

    Thank-you. For everything. Thank-you.

  8. Sun Heart says:

    thank you…..:)

  9. Much to digest. Thank you; 🙂

  10. Pragata says:

    What a treasure of clarity and simplicity!
    What a wonderful find!
    Thank you

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