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Friday, July 2, 2010

Book of the week: Artist of Life by Bruce Lee

Oh yes!!Master Bruce Lee had a degree in philosophy!! By fusing Eastern philosophy, gung fu ,and  western philosophy, he was revolutionary. Bruce Lee was an artist. In an article, he said that “to be a martial artist means also to be an artist of life.”  “All knowledge ultimately means self knowledge”. This was following Socrates maxim “Know thyself.” Bruce Lee was a perfectionist dedicated to discipline, self improvement and change.
 The logic of his philosophy was labeled Jeet kune do. According to which, the martial artist must inquire two questions. “1) What is it that I want to accomplish? 2) What is the quickest, most efficient and effective way to reach my objective?” In my opinion this applies to all artists of life. We all need to adapt, be flexible and flow like water.  We need to let our emotions flow like water. Even if our emotions make us weak, they are also our strength.  Here a passage from the Tao Te Ching about the nature of water: Nothing is weaker than water, But when it attacks something hard, Or resistant, then nothing withstands it, And nothing will alter its way.

And here more from Artist of Life:
The rivers and seas are lords of a hundred valleys. This is because their strength is in lowliness; they are kings of them all. So it is that the perfect master wishing to lead them, he follows. Thus, though he is above them, he follows. Thus, though he is above them, men do not feel him to be an injury. And since he will not strive, none strive with him.
The world is full of people who are determined to be somebody or to give trouble. They want to get ahead, to stand out. Such ambition has no use for a gung fu man, who rejects all forms of self-assertiveness and competition:One who tries to stand on tiptoe cannot stand still. One who stretches his legs too far cannot walk. One who advertises himself too much is ignored. One who is too insistent on his own view finds few to agree with him. One who claims too much credit does not get even what he deserves. One who is too proud is soon humiliated. These are condemned as extremes of greediness and self-destructive activity. Therefore, one who acts naturally avoids such extremes. 
Those who know do not speak; those who speak do not know.
Stop your sense, let sharp things be blunted,
Tangles resolved, the light tempered and turmoil subdued;
For this is mystic unity in which the wise man is moved
Neither by affection nor yet by estrangement,
Or profit or loss or honour or shame.
Accordingly, by all the world, he is held highest.

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