Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The age of the responsible student or customer

Some years ago I read a bedside-reading marketing book with a quiz as the preface. One question was like "A customer seek investment advice from a bank manager, what do you think the manager will advice him: A: Invest in stock, B: Invest in bond, C: Invest in real estate, D: Invest in education, E: Invest in bank deposit"....you know what I mean. Of course, nowadays when bank managers are selling all kinds of investment instruments (including the now ill-famed Lehman Brothers' derivative instrument Mini-Bond in Hong Kong), more than one answer will be applicable.

Similarly when you ask a surgeon in private practice for treatment option advice, you bet which option will get a higher chance in his recommendation. The same logic is applicable to advice from our lawyers, professors...and, surely tai-chi and meditation teachers!

From another perspective, the student or customer is inundated with loads of information and advice from different sources, often time free-of-charge (including this blog), each provides information for different (often time idiosyncratic, that would include me here:)) reasons. And previous secret texts (祕笈) are being disclosed, for example, the Chinese text 太極法說 (Inner structure of Tai-chi) of the Wu-family that I mentioned previously. Recently I came across another secret Chinese text circulated among some Taoist Dragon Gate Taoist internal alchemist in the Qing Dynasty ("Insider techniques for practicing Golden Flower [Dan] immortality"- 天仙金丹心法). One interesting thing about this text is that the important passages were hidden with different anagrams! A contemporary Taoist named Xong Fei (松飛) deconstructed the scrambled texts and showed readers the secret texts!

Recently I read a piece of interesting news from one of China's local TV news coverage. For some time police of a small town had reports of burglary cases in which the locks inside the house were forcibly opened while the main door's lock was untempered. When the culprit was finally arrested, the police discovered him to be an unemployed junior high graduate at his early twenties. Quite a shy young man actually! He said he was interested in door locks when he was a little kid.  Over the years he found out all he could about locks through reading books and searching over the internet (though he never attended any course on lock-smithing, lock-opening or lock-repairing for lack of fund). He bought his tools from neighborhood shops and over the internet. The police found a parade of intricate tools at his home that dazzled even the most professional locksmiths.  Everybody was amazed.

The moral of this story is: You can learn almost anything in this age of the responsible student or customer.  The catch is you have to make the decision as to what you're going to learn, and to have the passion to pursue your goal with dedication and perseverance.  It sounds more difficult than one might think initially.  For one thing professionals can't make the decision for you, not to mention that fact the probably most of us don't have passion on anything after middle age, with some much earlier than that!

A secret text on Internal Alchemy

1 comment:

  1. I also teach and I found this passage on the way of Bodhisattva quite clear about this "shopping around" Era.

    Those who wish to keep a rule of life
    Must guard their minds in perfect self-possession.
    Without this guard upon the mind,
    No discipline can ever be maintained.

    Wandering where it will, the elephant of the mind,
    Will bring us down to pains of deepest hell.
    No worldly beast, however wild,
    Could bring upon us such calamities.

    Taken from http://www.tibetanbuddhistaltar.org/vigilance-from-the-way-of-the-bodhisattva-by-shantideva/


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