The Return To The Right Views

The Return To The Right Views

Except for those indispensable material conditions, the most direct influence on us is our views towards life, which guide the mind and behaviour.

Right views are the premise of a happy life. And in philosophical perspective, views refer to the outlook towards world and life. Our views and behaviours complement each other.

On one hand, views guide the way we perceive the world and life. On the other hand, views are an accumulation of our experiences.

In fact, our growing process is one through which we gain the cognition of the world, while it is a pity that people often form wrong views or misconceptions.

Our views are determined by our cognition of the world, which at the same time are based upon the senses.

Generally, we tend to identify with our senses, and regard those matters and phenomena we perceive as the only truth.

It is a question then whether our senses are really reliable.  As a matter of fact, man’s senses have always failed us.


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Firstly, our senses are finite. For example, small sounds can be drowned out in a noisy environment, which evades our ears.

It is the case with the sense of hearing, then how about our vision? In the dark, the brightest colors or most magnificent scenery exist in the name only.

If it were not with scientific instruments, mankind could only perceive a limited scope of the world.

We cannot see tiny matters unless we use a microscope; while only by telescope can we see distant objects.

The story of the blind men and the elephant (blind men feel an elephant, only touching some part of it, and concluding what the elephant is like) is known to all, and we are not quite different from the blind men in the story.

Our naked eyes and feelings only allow us to reach a very tiny part the whole world, while the greater integrity and truth behind it has been neglected.

If we cannot fully understand this and cling to our superficial knowledge about the world, then the views based upon such understanding can never be accurate and reliable enough.



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Secondly, our senses are sometimes misleading. Since ancient times, people have believed that the moon waxes and wanes.

However, when does the moon ever wax and wane?

The earth we inhabit is rotating rapidly every moment and there is a saying that one can travel eighty thousand li per day even motionless on the earth.

Nevertheless, none of us can feel the distance we have travelled.

For a long time, people perceived the earth as the center of the universe.

It is not until 17th century that Galileo first observed that the earth revolved around the sun.

His discovery at the time was astounding and deemed treacherous heresy.

It is imaginable that if we held the view of that era, we would hardly believe the truth actually contradicted with what we had sensed.



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The stars in the sky seem so small that they can be grasped within our hands.

But astronomers tell us that many of them are much larger than the earth.

And some of the stars no longer exist when we can see them because it takes dozens or even hundreds of light years for their light rays to reach our sight range.

When on the ship, we feel the mountains on both banks are moving slowly, while they are in fact stationary.

It is the advance of the ship that caused our illusion.

When a pen is partially in the water, it seems to be bent, while our eyes are deceived by the refraction of water.



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The question is then whether such illusions can be corrected through the scientific method?

Nowadays, we are advocating science. However, over the past centuries with the progress of science, each era witnessed the establishment of different theory systems as standards.

Some plausible conclusions were constantly faced with new challenges and falsified.

Therefore, our senses are not reliable enough in revealing the world, and the science under continuous evolution can be anything but absolute truth.

Our view towards the world is also influenced by our emotions.

When we like someone, his shortcomings can be regarded as merits; while when we hate one, his merits are deemed defects.

When we are in a good mood, everything has never been so wonderful: the bright sunshine, the clear sky, the greeting trees, smiling flowers, singing birds and dancing butterflies; the world is vibrating with vitality.

However, when we feel depressed, the same world is enclouded.



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Kinship and blood ties also inject emotions into our perceptions. In the eyes of parents, their children always seem particularly important, drawing their attention all the time.

To those unrelated, this child is no different from any other, and even his existence in this world has no relevance to them.

Men or women in love view each other as important as their own life; their every move cause enormous joy or suffering to the other. For an outsider, that represents at best a small episode in a colorful world.

Our biased senses and feelings make it difficult for us to have a correct understanding of the world. As a result, we often make the mistake of confusing names with attributes.

Every object has both name and attributes. Take a table as an example: there are both matter that makes up the table and the name used to define it.

So, is the name and attribute the same? The answer is no. The name is established as a convention to help us know and differentiate things.

But we often do not understand this reality, and we routinely get attached to the name of things which brings us unnecessary pain and worries.

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In real life, the name we are particularly sensitive to and care most about is our own name.

Our name is just a code that our parents have chosen for us; like the number one or two, it has no inherent self. But when we have such a code, we cling to it as “I”.

When we hear our name mentioned, we become very attentive: is anyone talking about me? What is it about?

If we hear praise and compliments, we feel glad; if we hear slander and verbal attack, we feel upset.

This fixation on the name and words makes us unable to tolerate abuse from others.

When someone calls us donkey, pig or moron, we will be furious, thinking he is insulting us.In fact, donkey, pig and moron are just names.



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Wrong perception cheats us into regarding the false as the.

From the point of view of the Dharma, everything that exists is a provisional form of compounded causes and conditions.

Take a table as an example, if we examine it through the wisdom of the Dharma, we will find that it is merely a combination of many materials, such as wood, nails, paint and manual work.

To make communications easier, ancient people named such a product “table” which consists of elements other than table.

Then it can be concluded that this table has no independent existence.

If one day any one of the family members that make up the table resigns or dies, the table will also come to the end of its life!

The table is not so called by nature; rather it is people who named it as such for the sake of convenience.

If ancient people had called it a monster, then every table is a monster now, and the word monster would not scare us anymore. This is the case not only for the table but also for everything in this world.



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In the Diamond Sutra it is said that “All compounded things are like a dream, a phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning. That is how to meditate on them. That is how to observe them.

Everything is an illusion dependent on causes and conditions without independent or inherent existence.

If we analyse everything we encounter in this way, we will let go of attachments and gradually become free and undisturbed.

Another misconception in mankind’s views is the search for eternity. We hope that ourselves and everything around us can last forever, such as life, career, wealth, family and interpersonal relationships.

However, all existences on earth are impermanent and bound to change. So, if we fail to recognize such truth and let go of our attachment towards eternity, we will not have the right attitude to face changes in life.

If we hope our wealth to last forever, we will not be able to face a business bankruptcy; if we hope our family will last forever, we will not be able to face a divorce; if we hope our friendships will last forever, we will not accept being estranged from friends.

If we wish our love to last forever, we will not be able to face our lover’s unfaithfulness… Human beings have formed wrong views about life because of distorted understanding.

It is under the guidance of such misconceptions that humanity’s tragicomedy was staged.


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In order to change our fate and our lives. We must first start with changing our understanding and establishing right views towards life. 

Since ancient Greece, western philosophy had been focused on the exploration of metaphysics (understanding the ultimate nature of reality). While after the 16th century it turned to epistemology (the theory of knowledge). 

The ability of human beings to correctly understand the world or not depends, after all, on the improvement of their cognitive abilities.


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