Synopsis of previous episodes:
After completing his mission of the journey to the West, Monkey King, Wu Kong, had been waiting Abraham Lincoln in the Heaven of Rationality for 2,500 years. In 1865, after he was shot by the Southerner Booth, Abraham's transmigrated soul met with Father, George Washington, who assigned him a mission to crush the delusions of three monkeys who guarded the door of the Heaven of rationality. At the footstep of the Heaven door, Abe was stopped by Wu Kong who urged him to take the vow to walk on the path of Bodhisattvas, who by virtue of their universal compassion and ace wisdom could save all universal beings from the Ocean of sufferings. Abe refused to accept this offer of Bodhisattva Fellowship based on his reason of assuming the path as irrational.
It was Wu Kong's turn to snap out this politician of awesome acumen.
"What did you say, Abe? You think our Bodhisattva's path is irrational. Did you believe that a human can't be a perfectly rational being? Did you hold that mankind, monkey kind or any creature kind can never be sane enough to achieve the ultimate truth?"
Wu Kong was excited and breathing fast. He assumed that Abe was looking down the limitless capability of a life being.
"Mr. Wu, to say the truth, I do believe that mankind can be perfectly rational and it is possible that there exists a man who is a perfectly rational being. In the meantime, I also do believe that everyman could be a perfectly rational being at one time", without any stutter, Abe immediately answered his thought.
Actually this was the rubric of a small but fierce debate that occurred among Abe and his colleagues when they were working in the judicial circuit in Illinois. The question for debate was whether George Washington, the founding father and the first president of the United States, was perfect. It was sensible to think that being human, he was also a fallible creature. In American education of Lincoln's time, children were taught to admire Washington as an idol, at the sight of whose strong figure, the once ruling class Englishmen would shit immediately, as American Yankees joked. In opposition to the grown-up individualism prevailing in the American people, who tended to reject any possible notion of hero worship, Lincoln argued that there was some great merit in retaining the notion of Washington without blemish that it was taught in their childhood education. "It makes human nature better to believe that one human being was perfect. Human perfection was possible."
This kind of practical reasoning was the political genius of Abraham Lincoln who perhaps was certainly cautious of the moral relativistic attitude of the majority of his fellow Yankees, who held that since nobody was being perfect, it was OK to think in any way, live in any way and express in any way in terms of diversity or freedom of expression. In fact, in his speech of resignation, the first modern Burmese military dictator Ne Win justified his mistakes in the same way. Without any apology or recompense, he proclaimed, "I worked for my country as much my capacity permitted. Some might be right; some might be wrong. That is just the imperfect nature of human being". This was exactly what once John Jay reported to George Washington, "history proved this to be the spirit of the opulent".
Imperfectionism is one of the main excuses when people try to justify their arbitrary follies and blunders. When the impending danger of the occurrence of tyranny was surrounded by factionalism and individualism in American society, another subsequent problem was the inclination to mindless materialism and irrational moral relativism. Abraham thought a spiritual rein was certainly necessary for controlling these new problems of the tendency of looseness of humans. All kinds of spiritualism are fundamentally based on perfectionism so he thought there was also a merit to take some perfectionism since a strong moral rule is necessary for minimizing the conflicts arisen from moral relativist attitudes so that society can have pacing progress with widely distributed freedom and opportunity with minimal unnecessary corruptions and conflicts.
This was the same story with Immanuel Kant who finally found out that the existence of God was inevitably and ultimately necessary for punishing the bad and rewarding the good. Without such moral ideals with attraction of incentive and threat of punishment, a society will be anarchic rather than free. For Abraham, the main problem was not asking the question whether a being could be perfect or not but whether to consider there was a merit in taking that notion. On the other hand, he was fully humorous in lampooning any insane behavior of moral fanaticism. He was always a looking gaunt, awkwardly dressed caricature, and also a great satirist and story-teller, from the time of his lonely home-shun life in Illinois to the last days of the rumbling years of the White House. Herndon, the closest friend to Abe and Lincoln's biographer, recalled that Abe kept his audience "in full laugh till near daylight". One of his favorite anecdotes was about a man who had great veneration of the Revolutionary relics. Learning an old woman still possessed a dress she had worn in the American Revolution, he traveled to her house and asked to see it. She took the dress from a bureau and handed it to him. He was so excited that he brought the dress to his lips and kissed it. The old lady resented and she said, "Boy, if you want to kiss something old you had better kiss my ass. It is sixteen years older than the dress". In fact, Lincoln conveyed practical wisdom in the form of such humorous tales to his listeners who were advantageous comfortable consumers of the rumination from philosophy, politics, economics, and metaphysic in his short conversations, which will remain life-long with the American history.
Wu Kong was more and more frustrated. What's the hell this guy is arguing? This peasant's son rejected the path of becoming a perfect rational being, Bodhisattva as irrational. Now he was speaking that he believed a being could be perfectly rational. In the last talk, he said he never believed that all men are created equal. Now he was affirming that a being could be perfectly rational at one time. The previous talks and current talks looked inconsistent. However, Abe was known not to tell any lie for his repute of honesty. There might be some currently imperceptible reason for him, Wu Kong guessed. Abe was calm like the mountain and there was no trace of any liar's diffidence in him. In fact, he understood Wu Kong's confusion. He started to substantiate his argument.
"Mr. Wu, you might be perplexed at my seemingly inconsistent arguments. Because my thoughts are based on practical reasoning that might be different from pure reasoning of the Heavenly beings as you are and your colleagues. Taking the aspect of practical reasoning, I want to take rationalism in terms of practical attitudes and behaviors. I agreed with you that a human being can be perfectly rational to get insight into ultimate truth as in the case of enlightenment of your teacher Buddha because I saw invaluable merit in taking this attitude for rational unity of mankind".
In The apology of Burmakin VI, I started to argue that both the military Burmese and people Burmese have the unconscious but the prevailing notion of their Buddhist heritage as the real essence or the spirit of the age for ultimate rational unity of mankind. The arrogance of the obscene Burmese military dictatorship had its roots in this delusion. When we could form the national Burmese army with the help of Japan's royal army and declared our Independence during World War II, our victory song reflected our racial spirit based on this presumptuous assumption: "In the world, there is a dictator for the unity of mankind. So it is, there a Burmese dictator has arisen for the unity of mankind"
(ကမ ၻာမွာ အာဏာရွင္ တို႔လည္း အာဏာရွင္).The rule of a Bodhisattva king of the welfare for all state has been our traditional cultural spirit since our first integration of the nation of the Pagan Empire. It is similar to but more perfect than the philosopher king of Plato, because the Bodhisattva king has his incredible merit from his enormous past Karma that will quell all kinds of rebellion (all rebels or any dissent is bad as he is the Bodhisattva, the complete example of morally good deeds) and will establish a welfare for all state, in which all people, regardless of their merit, will completely enjoy food, clothes and home (economically, the hugely entrenched free-riders spirit of our Burmese community that is inclined to shun a system of capitalism full of competition from mutual struggles). Insightful Western researchers accordingly argued that Burmese originally have the totalitarian mind set based on their cultural heritage of theravadism that insisted the integrity of the standardized rules without any acceptance of diversity so that it should not be a surprise that this kind of society gives rise to military dictatorship of ultimate humiliation of human honor. If these bright people could use harsher words, this essentially means we have deficient reasoning power in our choice for the setup of a social system.
In his speaking with Wu Kong, Abraham Lincoln was speaking about the importance of the rational unity of mankind that sounds like that the voice of our arrogant Burman race. The difference needs to be etched out: what we Burmese are taking our Buddhist heritage as the basis for the rational unity of mankind is irrational collectivism attitude in which, society, Bodhisattva Raja and Buddhism is everything and the children, the women, the poor, the uneducated, the infirmed, the sick, and all other sorts of wisdom are nothing. The Buddha Raja will subdue all evils, bring the wish-everything-you-get tree (ေျမပေဒသာပင္) to this world and make the whole world calm and peaceful. That all pauperized Buddhists need to do is just waiting his golden time, and stands on this peacock-blooded majesty's good side as a good Buddhist for protecting and prolonging the reign of Buddhism for its greatest destination of the rational unity of mankind. That Our Burmese history was moving to this greatest spirit was a stupid racial attitude in assuming ourselves as completely different beings from all other races and religious people.
Of course, Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, was no suspect to be a federalist to understand the importance of the unity of mankind, but certainly not in the way of our childish thinking of integration by pressing by forces from all available sides but the integration needs to be achieved by mutually repulsive forces among the factional parts. When Wu Kong was talking about the rational unity of mankind by becoming himself a Bodhisattva, Abraham absolutely turned down this kind of irrational integration approach shadowed by egoism, discrimination, and moral aristocracy. This Bodhisattva king will compress and flatten out all factional units until all of them collapsed that is the natural history of tyranny. The acceptance of that kind of path will inevitably choke the death of liberty and drove the mankind to the road to serfdom as in our Burmese's naïve case that Abraham and his founding fathers of America had already foreseen with their clear genius and experience from their massive struggles in building a nation state. Integration from compression will starve the vital air of liberty out of all interest groups, without it no single group or person is able to survive. The founding father, Madison, wrote in Federalist 10
"It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency." When the rational unity of mankind is desirable, it is worse to remedy it by compressing the liberty of individuals, by eliminating the factions and particular interests of different groups. This is the most distinctive philosophy in founding the Constitution of the Federal Union of the United States, amidst the distressed assumption of many founding fathers of America, who were thinking about switching back to either military or monarchic rule lest moral relativism had the danger of fragmenting their newly revolutionized society into spiteful groups of mutual worrying in Hobbes' state of nature in which one more powerful group tends to exert their arbitrary destruction or dominance over any other less powerful group.
The critical inquest of founding fathers at the time of 1776 was to find a solution to control the mob's behavior (that could break down the society into Hobbes' state of nature) without compromising the liberty that is the life blood of the American Revolution and building of their nation state. It was not grounded on the ridiculous rhetoric of the disciplined democracy that the Burmese regime has been twanging to bewitch the people all the time for their intention of prohibiting the liberty of all other classes and people with different opinions under their arbitrary will. Indeed, the case that the ruling junta is trying to claim the military people as a special fellowship class as absolute necessity to control and correct the ignorance and chaos of the people's corruptive behavior, was what Wu Kong's made his kind and seemingly wise assumption in developing the universal Bodhisattva fellowship class to guide and save all beings from Samsara.
In fact, the inclination to work for the welfare of all seems to be nobly good; however, we should take a conscious notice that this attitude is most often admixed with the defense mechanisms of our unconscious psychological mental states. According to Sigmund Freud, when human ego is eroded by conflicts, the ego tries to keep conflicts out of our conscious mind by means of unconscious mental techniques, thus decreasing anxiety and maintaining a person's sense of safety, equilibrium and self-esteem. The wish to become a universal helper of Mahayana Buddhism could include manifestations of the ego defense mechanisms, such as superego that tries to control the expression of one ID by associating it with the supreme moral values and conscience, or intellectualization that uses mind higher functions to avoid experiencing emotion. The mature defense mechanisms can benefit the person(patient for psychologists, so might be for Buddha); however, an important fact to be noticed is such psychological functionalities are mostly working at one's unconscious level rather than at the level of one's own consciousness. This is what Buddha reminded us, "keep an eye on you to know yourself", our inborn tendency of justification of a cause is mainly rooted in unconsciousness rather than being fully aware of our deficient nature of mind.
The monkey sniffed at Abe's words, "If you think a being could be perfectly rational, why didn't you try to become a Bodhisattva to help all other beings? Why you were saying that you never believe all men are created equal? Fickle and ridiculous!" and the monkey turned his back against Abe in utter disappointment and incomprehension.
"Mr Wu, let me bespeak by repeating one of my favorite speeches. Then do decide whether I am trifling with you in answering your questions." by saying so Lincoln recited his final sentence of the immortal Gettysburg Address. His eyes sparkled with charm and humor as if he spoke many provocative stories with his colleagues from the circuit.
"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
"Mr Wu, I believe that a certain person could have enormously brilliant capacity to help the people or contribute to humanity. However, it is more sensible to let us believe in the fact that perhaps, the work for humanity may never be finished by those who have already sacrificed. Let us see together in practical life, this great task remains before us rather than me, so that who scarified for us may not have died in vain. Let us believe in that freedom may never be complete to us, but freedom is to be reborn anew again and again by our people as long as our human love for freedom and reason may never perish from earth. "
For the political aspect, to rely on one person or a special group of persons for the benefits of all social beings and social problems is absolutely non-sense. That is utter degradation against humanity for Abe and all other Western democratic politicians. For Swami Vivekananda, the leading first person to propagate the Eastern spirituality to the Western material world, and who seemed to be more Buddhist than any Buddhist else, used to say very harsh words for such plague of sloppy hope and delusive reliance of his Indian masses with an eloquent satire.
" Neither is it work to cogitate as to whether the rice plate should be placed in front of the God for ten minutes or for half an hour- that is called lunacy. Millions of rupees have been spent only that the temple doors at Varanasi or Vrindaban may play at opening and shutting all day long! Now the Lord is having His toilet, now He is taking His meals, now He is busy on something else we know not what… And all this, while the Living God is dying for the want of food, for want of education! The banias of Bombay are erecting hospitals for bugs – while they would do nothing for men- even if they die! You have not the brain to understand this simple thing- that is the plague with our country, and lunatic asylums are rife all over…"
The contemporary India seemed not to repent much from Swami's harsh warning. They are still happy to be not possessing a brain of that simple thing, only the lunatic asylums but God is still busy for some education to help them (See also
Nothing in the Universe to everything in the Universe V for the reason of the India educated in quitting the Hindu religion and joining the Christian community). We could also notice that our lunacy and misuse of funds for hero-Buddha-worship is not less folly than our fellow Indians that Buddha as a perfectly rational being, would certainly never ever appreciate. Not only the masses, Vivekananda also railed his brother monks in the same kind of philosophy on self-reliance instead of heroism that our Eastern despotic religious fervor tended to display.
"You think you understand Shri Ramakrisha…Who cares for your Bhakti and Mukti? Who cares what the Scriptures say? I will go to hell cheerfully a thousand times, if I can rouse my countrymen, immersed in Tamas (same concept as ignorance - ေမာဟ),
make them stand on their feet and be Men, inspired with the spirit of Karma-Yoga. I am not a follower of Ramakrishna or any one, I am a follower of him only who carries out my plans! I am not a servant of Ramakrishna or any one, but him only who serves and helps others, without caring for his own Mukti."
Abraham, even if he was a satirist, being immersed in the literature of Shakespeare's classics had some sort of beautiful and orderly calligraphy in his arrangement of speech to his Western people, who contrast with the Eastern men in their nature of seriousness.
On the other hand, Swami's words might be quite raw and might be indigestibly hard to our Eastern people, who contrast with Westerners by their nature of looseness. In case of General Aung San, who was obviously inclined to the materialism priority of the West and admiration of the activeness of the Japanese empire, wanted to take some extreme action against sluggishness of people from Buddhism in his nation building process. In one of his rarely known speeches, he said "it is useless to have so many monks and nuns in our country, who don't contribute labor to the nation-building process. Our country also has a small population. We need more people for economic activity for our country. Therefore, some monks and nuns must to get out of the religion, marry one another and give births to their children. Both fathers and mothers and their children as lay people, have to work for our country." When Daw Su had some faith in the Western people's power of masses, she was tended to believe and say "Buddha was just a normal man" that became her point of weakness for the military junta to attack upon her thinking as a threat to the integrity of spirituality of Buddhism. This kind of belief is in contrast with the fundamental theoretical understanding of Abraham Lincoln and the founding fathers of America since they had very difficult struggles in their good spirits of the nation-building process to control tyranny with liberty, and to counter-balance liberty with the moral rule either from God or Constitution. When the Secretary of the State, William Seward, was passionate about the elimination of slavery, he began to speak to the public that there was a higher law (still this term is the wide-spread use and some conventional belief in American politics) than the laws of the Constitution since the Laws of Constitution at that time legitimize owning and catching back the slaves. Lincoln refuted the claim that there was a higher law than the Constitution because the Constitution had its greatest merit in controlling the integrity of the union that overruled the cause of elimination of slavery. This author was not advocating that Burmese should adhere to the evil constitution of the military, that is by no means, a real social contract between the people and the government, but guaranteed the forever enslavement of people by the military junta. This is the subtle difference to be understood. The states of the United States are bound by the laws of Constitution for their mutual benefit and progress, and more important, not to corrupt into the state of tyranny or anarchy by fragmentation from the union. Burma is not bound by this arbitrary paper written by the military for the dominance their eternally indelible master morality oppressing all common people as low and useless. No real social contract of agreement exists among Burmese and ethnic groups, however, the author also didn't mean that the current Burmese nation should be separated in the name of self-rule. History proves us that tyranny and aristocracy are easy to prevail when the states are small in size and many small states even corrupt into mafia nations. It is always better to live in a big globalized state that guarantees equal status and somewhat equal opportunity of citizenship rather than living in a self-ruled tribal state with foxy democracy, surviving on the mafia trade and evolving the triumph of the mafia spirit.
In fact, with rigorous critical thinking, the founding fathers of America and Abraham tried to construct a systematic method for moving their nation. For them, a method that guarantees the minimal risk for their nation generations was much more important than moral ideals of democracy or liberty. For them, democracy, liberty or spirituality were not ultimate Dharma, but just the elemental devices to be applied for controlling our human tendencies toward violence and inclination towards totalitarianism, and maintaining the balance and integrity of society.
After gladly reiterating his Gettysburg Address, Abe got the momentum in corroborating his argument.
"Mr. Wu, I do agree that if you have certain strength to help others, it will be a shame and immoral if you don't help them. I also have no reason for arguing against your purpose of the welfare for all. I do believe that both you Bodhisattvas and I have the same kind of ultimate purpose. However, I fully doubted that your motivation to perfectly help a creature should finally work. This might be your super ego to identify yourself with high moral values. When ego is involved, we can't avoid discrimination. This mind-set of discrimination is the root of the conflicts that plague my America and perhaps the whole humanity. In general, I don't find any culpability of your good purpose. Nevertheless, I need to argue that the path of Bodhisattva for the welfare for all has its methodological weakness, as it is some sort of subtle but noticeable discrimination.
I have fought many debate battles against slavery in my America. The common notion of the pro-slavery people was that those African people were barbarians so they should not be given any equal status in our civilized society. So I said "if you don't like him, just leave him alone". People might be often too ignorant, either morally or intellectually. However, it doesn't make sense to me that a certain type of people should be acting as the master class to reform the low people as they presumed. If we want to provide the social service, just provide the service but not the reform. A reform should be coming from the self-reliance and one's own capability building rather than magnanimous rewards from the Bodhisattva fellows. For me, it is a very sensitive demarcation in making the choice for moving toward a better society. Don't give a slave the bread, but give him some equal opportunity for getting his bread without the leave of anybody else. Don't try to Christianize him, but let him get the education to reason his choice of religion, without the leave of any intellectual else. Ignorance itself is a mutually interactive happening. So might be enlightenment. Now I have taught Americans for their smartness of choice that I hope will benefit many next generations. In my next life, when I get back to America, I will certainly need to learn back from them for my another new struggle for another new birth of freedom of this nation and humanity. But certainly, I am not a Bodhisattva to illuminate the beings until all the sufferings are abolished, for everybody has his own capability to attain his enlightenment to fight against his sufferings. Everybody has the responsibility in himself for his new birth of freedom. Well, humanity itself will be changed by the public enlightenment ourselves, not by the enlightenment of Abraham or Uncle Tom's cabin "
(To be cont.)