#22 Eastern Futures Part 2: Eastern Asian Philosophy, Bruce Lee, Gong Fu, The Toa, Zen And The Future

Photo by Arun Prakash on Unsplash

In this part two of Eastern Futures on The Fabrice Guerrier Show, we explore the complexity of eastern asian philosophy as a unique framework that can help us understand and shape our future. The host Fabrice speaks on the thoughts of Bruce Lee and explores a myriad of ideas from Gong Fu, The Toa, Zen, Ying and Ying, Satori, Buddhism and more.

I feel I have this great creative and spiritual force within me that is greater than faith, greater than ambition, greater than confidence, greater than determination, greater than vision. It is all these combined. . . . Whether it is the godhead or not, I feel this great force, this untapped power, this dynamic something within me. This feeling defies description, and there is no experience with which this feeling may be compared. It is something like a strong emotion mixed with faith, but a lot stronger.” Bruce Lee

Bruce lee says “You must accept the fact that there is no help but self-help. For the same reason, I cannot tell you how to “gain” freedom—since freedom exists within you—/ cannot tell you how to “gain” self-knowledge. While I can tell you what not to do, I cannot tell you what you should do, since that would be confining you to a particular approach. Formulas can only inhibit freedom, externally dictated prescriptions only squelch creativity and assure mediocrity. Bear in mind that the freedom that accrues from self-knowledge can- not be acquired through strict adherence to a formula; we do not suddenly “become” free, we simply “are” free.


Jeet Kun Do/ Chi

Martial Arts speaks of the body and living in alignment, there is force called chi energy and it’s a cosmic energy that can be harnessed through physical activity, focus action and intention. It’s important for the future.

The Ancient Philosophy of The Tao

Pronounced “dao” in “the way of nature” or “the creative force governing the universe.”

From the Toa de ching: Tao is that from which all things in the universe are created. The process by which all things are created is produced by this energy or Ch’i, which originates from Tao. This energy is divided into two aspects: Yin and Yang. All things in the universe have Yin energy and Yang energy. When Yin and Yang energies merge together, they produce a state of harmony.

Ying Yang

The common mistake of most martial artists identify the forces as Yin and Yang, as dualistic (thus the so -called soft style and the firm style). But Yin/Yang is one inseparable force of one unceasing interplay of movement. They are conceived as essentially one.

Lee says “the Yin/Yang symbol there is a white spot on the black part and a black spot on the white one. This is to illustrate the balance in life, for nothing can survive long by going to either extreme, be it pure Yin (gentleness) or pure Yang (firmness). Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survive by bending with the wind”.

Gung Fu

Gung fu is not about fight it’s a sharp mastery of any task one has been  brought to engage. Gung fu is a philosophy; it’s an integral part of the philosophies of Tao- ism and Buddhism, the ideals of giving with adversity, to bend slightly and then spring up stronger than before, to have patience in all things, to profit by one’s mistakes and lessons in life. These are the many-sided aspects of the art of gung fu; it teaches the way to live, as well as the way to protect oneself. – Bruce Lee says

Gung fu, according to the authentic Chinese translation, is a term used to denote, a tremendous sense of total achievement or accomplishment. A master of gung fu, then, is one who display tremendous proficiency in one’s crafty and this craft could, in effect, be anything.

Complete mastery oneself / how can you reach this?

Bruce Lee says “Gung fu is practiced not only for health and self-protection but for cultivation of the mind as well. Gungfu was used by Taoist priests and Chinese monks as a philosophy, or way of thinking, in which the ideals of giving with adversity, to bend slightly and then spring up stronger than before, are practiced. The qualities of patience and profiting from one’s mistakes are a part of the discipline of gung fu.


A story:

It was obvious to the master from the start of the conversation that the professor was not so much interested in learning about Zen as he was in impress- ing the master with his own opinions and knowledge. As the Zen teacher explained, the learned man would frequently interrupt him with remarks like “Oh, yes, we have that, too” and so on. Finally, the Zen teacher stopped talking and began to serve tea to the learned man. He poured the cup full, then kept pouring until the cup over- flowed. “Enough!” the learned man once more interrupted. “The cup is overfull, no more will go in!”  “Indeed, I see,” answered the Zen teacher. “Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. If you do not first empty your cup, how can you taste my cup of tea?”

Kwan-yin, the Goddess of Mercy, is sometimes represented with up to 1,000 arms, each holding a different instrument. If her mind stops with the use, for instance, of a spear, all the other arms (999) will be of no use whatso- ever. It is only because of her mind not stopping with the use of one arm, but moving from one instrument to another, that all her arms prove useful with the utmost degree of efficiency. Thus the figure is meant to demonstrate that when the ultimate truth is realized, even as many as 1,000 arms on one body may each be serviceable in one way or another.

Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Lao Tzu

Listen on


Apple Podcast

Listen to Eastern Futures Part 1: a conversation with world renowned thought leader and scholar of Chinese history, international relations and politics, Professor Kerry Brown from King’s College London.

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