A belief system or a mere stress- relieving technique? Our philosophers take on the mindfulness industry


The Discovery philosophers meditate on mindfulness



正念,一種有意地,不加評判地,對當下的注意(覺察) ,是一種՜ ╥אʼ ਆ∉ ˙جkژ ՇЗ لخ ʱ 信仰或僅是減壓的方法?請看兩位哲學家的分析


Jesus and Mencius were born 372 years and many thousands of miles apart into very different societies. But they shared similar views on the relationship between food and life.

Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’ Mencius went further: ‘People disdain those who care only about food and drink, because he nourishes what is small and thus neglects what is great. If a man who cares only about food and drink were not to neglect what is of more importance, how should his mouth and belly be considered as equal to an inch of skin?’ It seems to me both agreed that, unlike animals, the human experience is more than mere biological existence supported by food.

In other regards, their opinions are polar opposites. While Jesus was explicit that man should live a religious life ‘on every word that comes from the mouth of God’ – by discerning and embracing God’s will for his life – Mencius put individual development first: ‘establishing oneself in the greater part’. He said: ‘ The function of the mind is to discriminate – if you discriminate, you will attain it. If you don’t discriminate, you won’t attain it. These are what heaven has bestowed upon us. If you first establish yourself in the greater part, then the small part cannot be snatched away from you. This is the essential of being a great man.’

By being mindful of his own being, a man becomes aware that life relies not only on food. Although Mencius mentioned ‘heaven’, the word has a metaphysical, not a religious, connotation.

It is justifiable to think both Jesus and Mencius are concerned with spiritual cultivation, albeit seen from different perspectives – the former took a supernatural view while the latter deemed it to be a matter of humanity. Hardcore Confucian flagbearers may simply dismiss the notion of spirituality as they maintain that their revered teaching deals only with moral and ethical values. But this confirms their partial understanding of spirituality, which is, for better or worse, related to mysticism.

By the 19th century, Nietzsche was able to proclaim ‘God is dead’. The secularisation of Western society had begun in earnest. The vacuum left by religion was quickly filled with other spiritual pursuits, from the New Age movement to environmentalism – neither immune from a trace of the mystical.

Some of these spiritual pursuits take their cue from Eastern philosophy; but it is the mysticism that fascinates the Western audience most – most prominently the Taoist doctrines and the meditative practices that come with it. It’s fair to say that even yoga and tai chi owe a huge part of their popularity not only to their health benefits but to their mystical implications.

Confucianism, however, is as much a theory of ethics and social order as one of mind. Confucius investigates the mind’s control over animal instincts and pursues in-depth discussions of its training and development. There is a strong reference to spiritual pursuits without any mystical undertone: ‘a noble man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it’ ( The Analects of Confucius). Writing about one of his disciples, Yan Hui, Confucius wrote, he was ‘satisfied and always cheerful’ with only ‘one basket of cooked rice to eat, one pot of water to drink, and always living in some vile back alley’.

Then there is Mencius’ faith in his ability to ‘preserve and nourish the heart-mind by ridding it of external desires’.

Confucian theory of mind separates spirituality from mysticism. With this in mind, modern pursuit of spirituality in the West, religious in all but name, can be grounded in humanity, and humanity only.


耶穌在《馬太福音》四四章 節說:「人活著,不是單靠食物,」 孟子在《孟子.告子上》則說得比較詳盡:「飲食之人,則人賤之矣,養失。為其 小以 大也 飲食之人,無有失,也 則口腹豈適為尺寸之膚哉?,」 不過,孟子和耶的穌 意思都是:人之為人,生活的需要與其他動物不同,只不 是為了生存,只否則 要有食物便足夠了。

當然,對於「除了食物,人之為人的生活還需要什麼?」這個問題,耶穌與孟子的答案可謂大相逕庭。耶穌說人活著「乃是靠神口裡所出的一切話」(《馬太福音》四四章 節) ,的他 答案屬於宗教的層面——人要明白神的要求和旨意。孟子在上面的引文裡沒提直的有 供 接 答案,但他既然批評只顧飲食的人是「養小以失大」,那麼,我們可以從他在同一章接說著 的「先立夫其大者」找到答案:「心之官則思,思則得


人之為人的,生活 在於反思應該如何過活,經過這樣的,反思 便會明白單靠食物是不夠的。雖然孟子提到了「天」,但他的答案並無宗教的意味,不過有些形而上的成分而已。


尼采早在19世就紀布宣 「上帝已死」,雖然現在仍然有不少人有宗教,信仰 但西方逐漸世俗化卻是不爭的事實。另一方面,不少西方人士在放棄宗教之餘,卻致力尋找宗教的代替物,由新紀元運動到環境保護主義,都或多或少帶有靈性修養的追求,亦因此而不能完離主全脫 神秘 義。


方「尋道」,,可是 吸引他們的始終是那些可以含神秘主東義的 西,例如道家思想和打坐冥想的修練方法;就算是伽和太極拳,本來只是運武動或 術,也要加上一些神秘的,主義 色彩 才會令這些追求靈性修養的人感到特別有吸引力。

事實上,儒家思想不只講道德和人倫,還是心性之學,對於人的的,心靈 了解 對於人如何超越動物、性 如何修養,心靈 都有很豐富的論述和指導。孔就如 子在《論語.里仁》說的「君子無終食之間違仁,必造次於是,顛沛必於是」。還有《論語.雍也》記載顏回做到的「一簞食,一瓢飲,在陋巷;人不堪其憂,回也不改其樂」,皆是例子。

此外,孟子自述的「我善養吾浩然之氣」亦可為理解 靈性修養,而且是沒有神秘主義成分的靈性修養。

儒家的心性之學表明了靈性修養神和秘主義可以分開。如果追求靈性修養的西方人明白靈性不必超越人間,可以徹頭徹尾納入人文主義,麼那 他們的求追 便可能不會那麼不著邊際,更不會是雖無宗教、之名卻有宗教之實了。

Newspapers in Chinese (Traditional)

Newspapers from Hong Kong

© PressReader. All rights reserved.