Absolute Truth – Juedui de Zhen Li 絕對的真理

October 24, 2008

I have been reading the work of Daoist scholar Chen Ying-Ning 陳櫻寧, in an anthology published on his 20th anniversary, called “Daoism and Health Preservation” 道教與養生. Chen Daoshi promoted the study of Daoist Philosophy of Immortality (Xian Xue 仙學) all his life and wrote many books and articles on the subject. I have found this little piece on Absolute Truth quite interesting.

Once a student of philosophy asked him this question, “What constituted Absolute Truth in this world?” and he answered:

“ Absolute Truth happens when there is a mouth and no speech; when there is a mind and no thought. Once you open your mouth, once you start to think, it falls on two sides, it changes to mutual opposites and no longer is absolute. Therefore to seek the (Absolute) Truth in written and spoken words are all a waste of efforts. You studied philosophy, maybe it is because in philosophy you cannot find the Truth, and so you asked me this question. To be honest, there is no (Absolute) Truth as such in this world and it is not worthwhile searching for it. But let’s say you have somehow discovered the (Absolute) Truth, what good will it do (for you)?  When (you are) old and sick, when (you) have no cloths and food and when (you are) in suffering and despair, will the (Absolute) Truth that you have found get rid of them?”

Many people these days cannot tell the difference between Absolute Truth and relative truth, so they became intolerant and pedantic. According to Chen Ying-Ning, if we want the Absolute Truth, then just sit quietly, don’t think and say nothing. Given time, we might even have a chance of becoming an Immortal.



4 Responses to “Absolute Truth – Juedui de Zhen Li 絕對的真理”

  1. Joseph Yu Says:

    Dear Howard,

    Chen Ying-Ning 陳櫻寧 has painted a snake and you have added feet to the snake.

    How can people tell the difference between something that does not exist from something that exists? Chen said that it was a waste of time to try to find something that did not exist. You are putting words in his mouth when you say, “According to Chen Ying-Ning, if we want the Absolute Truth, then just sit quietly, don’t think and say nothing.”

    Once you open your mouth, it is not absolute truth already.

    I am sure you are tolerant to my comment.


  2. howardchoy Says:

    Dear Joseph,

    It is an honour to have you making a comment on my blog. I think we both added feet to the same snake and that is the nature of human understanding.

    May be whan Chen Ying Ning tried to say is Absolute Truth is beyond verbal communication or written words, but that is again only my guessing.

    The very fact that we are writing to each other means there is already two sides to any “truth” we try to get at.

    I am sure you know what I am getting at, in between words.

    Thank you for dropping by.


  3. Joseph Yu Says:

    Dear Howard,

    A snake with feet may be the image of a dragon. Nothing is absolute. I hope we continue to paint more to make snakes look better.


  4. howardchoy Says:


    “When the Dao is spoken,
    It sounds bland and without taste”.


    Thanks again Joseph, do drop by often and make your comments. You are more than welcome.

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