Nguyễn Chiến Công


« A book is just words and words are not reality. The word is not the actual, and no book can contain the truth because truth is a living thing. What we do not know, we try to understand and give it words, and make it into a continuous noise. And so, people have been saying and praying using words that they themselves don’t understand, a mere repetition. When religion is based on a book, you have people who are dull, biased, intolerant, and narrow-minded. The book says so and that’s that, they just stick the words in their mind, like a program to be installed on a machine. They believe the book and the words contain the unalterable, fixed truth. Religions keep us in the bondage of ignorance, and if they allow doubt then the whole thing collapses. And so we clog our brain, with the past, something dead. We think the word or knowledge is psychologically of great importance, but it is not. You can’t ascend through knowledge because there must be an end to knowledge for the new to be. The problem of creating something new, but is consistent with everything that has been seen before, is contradicting and is extremely difficult.

Because new is a word for something which has never been before. And that area cannot be understood or grasped by words or symbols, it is there beyond all remembrances. Words cannot measure the immeasurable clear night sky full of stars above the mountains. Away from the noises and the blinding yet faint lights of cities. It is as if man has stolen the light from the stars to fuel his desire for light in darkness. Man, living in cities has lost that majestic scenery. We’ve lost the view of that immense sparkly sky, a view as if every night brings you to the edge of the universe. Yet, far away, there are these soaring mountains and above, the Milky Way among other galaxies moving in an orderly fashion in the heavenly sky. The immense night sky always reminds us just how small we are here on earth. That silence can never be measured by words. We ourselves must be sensitive to beauty and to ugliness, not only the beauty that man has created but also the beauty of nature.

A good book, like a good piece of music, may have its peculiar vibrations of sound because it might resonate in one’s mind and not invent new fetters for one; it has no other pretense. Read it again if you want to, but understand it, not to analyze or to memorize. »

Excerpt from Wisdom of a grain of sand.

Here are a few books that I liked:

The ending of time - J. Krishnamurti, David Bohm

A great dialogue between two beautiful minds: J. Krishnamurti and David Bohm.

Religion and nothingness - Keiji Nishitani

Detailed investigations on both Western and Eastern philosophies.

Tao Te Ching - Laozi

A short East Asian philosophy classic passed on through millenia.
I made a translation, you can read it in English or Vietnamese.

Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse

Sometimes the flow of a river is enough for one to see oneself.

How to live - Derek Sivers

Honest take on life by an honest man, because he’s honest with himself.

Le petit prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It has everything in it. Innocence, adventure, curiosity, imagination, compassion, etc.

Pale blue dot - Carl Sagan

We are such a small thing on this big universe. Are all the quarrels on Earth worth it?

The Feynman lectures on physics - Richard Feynman

One of the best ways to dig into physics.

Habibi - Craig Thompson

Beautiful graphic novel. I love the name: Habibi means “my love” in Arabic.

Songs of innocence and of experience - William Blake

I don’t like poetry much but this one rings a bell. Two stages of life. One light, one dark.