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A Divine Dance

 Li - La:
Alternate Name Semantics
Pirsig's Female Character in Lila:
Here, 'That' refers to Divine. An equivalent in Pirsig's MoQ is DQ, or Dynamic Quality.
(Note: SOM builds without That.)
In this text, Lila is DQ. Lila is 'author' of all things. In MoQ DQ is 'creator' of all things known.
Lila is Divine Mother.
The following quoted text is from
Buddhism Vis-à-Vis Hinduism
by Ram Swarup at this link:
"... They build in vain who build without That.
"This 'builder' who weaves the fabric of existence is everywhere. Its power is found to be flimsy when the true knowledge comes, but before that it is so nightmarishly real. Having no support anywhere in essence, it is yet so ubiquitous in its external expression. It surrounds one on all sides. It seeps through every pore. It is laid thick, layer upon layer. It is gross as well as subtle. Its empire is vast. Its sovereignty is everywhere. It lives not only in the grosser acts and thoughts of men, it lives in their righteousness, ideals and good too. No wonder sages who have seen its universal sway have tried to describe it by different images and names. They call it Lila, Maya, Avidya, Inconscience. This power is the author of the whole realm of names and forms, good as well as bad. So Maya or Avidya is not just like wrong perception or an error of judgment; it is more like a Kantian category which imposes itself at the very source of all phenomenal perceptions and judgments and enters into the very constitution and fibre of our empirical knowledge, effort and will."
Subsequently, in the same reference:
"The views of Hinduism a[n]d Buddhism on dukkha and ananda are compl[e]mentary, not contradictory. Looked at from below, from the viewpoint of duality and multiplicity, in divorce from the divine, the world is true to the Buddhist picture of suffering, misery, change and sorrow. But looked at from above, through the all-comprehensive view of the One or That, all is seeded in ananda, everything is the ecstatic play of the Divine Mother, or the loving and rapturous Lila of Sri Krishna or Shiva - to use traditional Hindu images."
Pirsig's MoQ is about reality. Metaphysics is that branch of philosophy which examines any nature of reality.
Here we see lila as a play, an adventure.
Is this Pirsig's omniscient, "prefers preconditions?" Contingency!
Here 'shackle' is Pirsig's "exclusive SQ," or exclusive Static Quality.
 From Himalayan Academy, Publications, Vedic Experiences
Part III
Blossoming and
"Reality is lightsome, that is, light and graceful. The earth, if truly viewed, is not a place for tragedy. Tragedy is only an invention of human pride when the individual takes himself and his position in the world too seriously. On the other hand, life might degenerate into comedy were it not for the fact that the suffering of Man is too intense to permit us to belittle it. The Vedic Revelation here brings us a message of poise and gracefulness. It tells us that reality is not ponderous, that it is lila, a play, an adventure with no ulterior aims or goals outside the range of the game itself. Indeed, this game has many rules and not everybody knows them. In this game there are evil, suffering, and error, but all are part of the play. Moreover, the play, the lightsome character of reality, would be misunderstood if this dimension were to be severed from what really makes a play a play, namely, its feature of gratuity, of grace. Nothing is done from either obligation or necessity. There is this one advantage in the experience of contingency: the knowledge that all is contingent, including the rules of behavior of the contingent beings. To speak of contingency and then to shackle contingent beings with laws of necessity is disastrous, according to the Vedic Revelation. The world is lightsome, because it is grace, a product of grace and not of necessity."
Here, li is patterns. Thus in MoQ li, from a Chinese philosophical perspective is SQ.
Here, in your site author's opinion, they get close, but miss their mark. This appears analytic and synthetic where wholes are a sum of their parts. In MoQ, as in Hindu philosophy, parts interpenetrate and commingle. This sounds as if Chinese see parts of wholes as individuistic. MoQ does not.
Lila as play.
Brahman is DQ.
Maya: illusion or spell that lila play is reality.
This is a major problem with SOM. SOM provides aberrant perspectives and concomitant illusion.
Pirsig makes a map analogy in Lila. [See p. 100 of Lila, Bantam, hardbound.] He uses it to distinguish SOM and MoQ. SOM is only maya—SOM has no Brahman. MoQ is both DQ (Brahman) and SQ (maya).
Here, we see an analogy of DQ or VES as One. We also see an analogy of 'the many' to SQ or material/known reality. PDR-30May1998
The Tao of Physics
by Fritjof Capra
Third Edition, Updated, Shambhala, 1991, paperback
See pp. 289-90: "Joseph Needham, in his thorough study of Chinese science and civilization, discusses at great length how the Western concept of fundamental laws of nature, with its original implication of a divine lawgiver, has no counterpart in Chinese thought. 'In the Chinese world view,' Needham writes, 'the harmonious cooperation of all beings arose, not from the orders of a superior authority external to themselves, but from the fact that they were all parts in a hierarchy of wholes forming a cosmic pattern, and what they obeyed were the internal dictates of their own natures.' [J. Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, vol. II, p582.]
"According to Needham, the Chinese did not even have a word corresponding to the classical Western idea of a 'law of nature.' The term which comes closest to it is li, which the Neo Confucian philosopher Chu Hsi describes as the 'innumerable vein-like patterns included in the Tao.' [J. Needham, p. 484.] Needham translates li as 'principle of organisation' and gives the following comments:
In its most ancient meaning, it signified the pattern in things, the markings of jade or fibres in muscle...It acquired the common dictionary meaning 'principle,' but always conserved the undertone of 'pattern'...There is 'law' implicit in it, but this law is the law to which parts of wholes have to conform by virtue of their very existence as parts of wholes...The most important thing about parts is that they have to fit precisely into place with the other parts in the whole organism which they compose. [J. Needham, pp. 558, 567.]
"It is easy to see how such a view led the Chinese thinkers to the idea which has only recently been developed in modern physics, that self-consistency is the essence of all laws of nature. The following passage by Ch'en Shun, an immediate pupil of Chu Hsi who lived around A.D. 1200, gives a very clear account of this idea in words which could be taken as a perfect explanation of the notion of self-consistency in the bootstrap [Capra, et al's.] philosophy:
Li is a natural and unescapable law of affairs and things...The meaning of 'natural and unescapable' is that (human) affairs and (natural) things are made just exactly to fit into place. The meaning of 'law' is that the fitting into place occurs without the slightest excess or deficiency...The men of old, investigating things to the utmost, and searching out li, wanted to elucidate the natural unescapableness of (human) affairs and (natural) things, and this simply means that what they were looking for was all the exact places where things precisely fit together. Just that. [J. Needham, p.566]"
Back to the Hindu 'lila' and Capra's words on that topic, in The Tao of Physics:
See pp. 87-8: "The basic recurring theme in Hindu mythology is the creation of the world by the self-sacrifice of God—'sacrifice' in the original sense of 'making sacred'—whereby God becomes the world which, in the end, becomes again God. This creative activity of the Divine is called lila, the play of God, and the world is seen as the stage of the divine play. Like most of Hindu mythology, the myth of lila has a strong magical flavour. Brahman is the great magician who transforms himself into the world and he performs this feat with his 'magic creative power,' which is the original meaning of maya in the Rig Veda. The word maya—one of the most important terms in Indian philosophy—has changed its meaning over the centuries. From the 'might,' or 'power,' of the divine actor and magician, it came to signify the psychological state of anybody under the spell of the magic play. As long as we confuse the myriad forms of the divine lila with reality, without perceiving the unity of Brahman underlying all these forms, we are under the spell of maya.
Doug note based upon a 15Feb2005 email from AH,
"How analogous do you think DQ aka isotropic omniflux is to Brahman, where Brahman has been described in Hindu literature as 'pantheistic Creator without attributes?'":
"...perceiving the unity of Brahman underlying all..." is what Heraclitus was talking about when he described "understanding logos."
Thank you for that excellent query, AH!


"Maya, therefore, does not mean that the world is an illusion, as is often wrongly stated. The illusion merely lies in our point of view , if we think that the shapes and structures, things and events, around us are realities of nature, instead of realizing that they are concepts of our measuring and categorizing minds. Maya is the illusion of taking these concepts for reality, of confusing the map with the territory.
"In the Hindu view of nature, then, all forms are relative, fluid and ever-changing maya, conjured up by the great magician of the divine play. The world of maya changes [dances] continuously, because the divine lila is a rhythmic, dynamic play. The dynamic force of the play is karma, another important concept of Indian thought. Karma means 'action.' It is the active principle of the play, the total universe in action, where everything is dynamically connected with everything else. In the words of the Gita, 'Karma is the force of creation, where from all things have their life.'"
More on the Hindu 'lila' and Capra's words on that topic, in The Tao of Physics:
See p. 198: "...Experiencing the universe as an organic and rhythmically moving cosmos, the Hindus were able to develop evolutionary cosmologies which come very close to our modern scientific models. One of these cosmologies is based on the Hindu myth of lila—the divine play—in which Brahman transforms himself into the world. Lila is a rhythmic play which goes on in endless cycles, the One become the many and the many returning into the One..."

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©Quantonics, Inc., 1998-2027 Rev. 27Nov2014  PDR — Created 29May1998 PDR
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