Newpath Tenrikyo - Dynamic Mission Terms - FUNDAMENTAL - FOUNDATIONS

What do we mean when we say that some thing concept or idea is fundamental? Obviously it is in our vocabulary so we must have some kind of feel or understanding of the use of the word even if we might not have an exact dictionary definition in mind. So a thing or concept is said to be fundamental when it provides a foundation or a base upon which we can build either physical structures or collections of ideas that reasonably flow from a fundamental principle. Whatever our use, that which is fundamental guides our constructions or actions and is essential to what we intend build. Most, but by no means all, of us know that whether we are building a physical structure or a a structure made of ideas, a solid foundation is better than a shifting foundation.

soft foundationThere is however a problem with our judgments about foundations. Sometimes what we believe to be a firm and solid foundation turns out to be a soft, shifting and insecure foundation. When building a physical structure like a house that condition can become either rapidly apparent as in an unexpected collapse or very gradually apparent depending upon the circumstances. Some physical structures last for thousands of years however no man made structure lasts forever.

On the other hand when we build a structure made entirely of concepts and ideas it is most often the case that in time we lose sight of the foundation, fundamental principle, concept or idea that our structure is based upon. When working with  a conceptual foundation it is often not so easy to tell the difference between a soft and a firm foundation. When we look at the long journey of humankind we see that there are various ideas at the foundations of conceptual structures dealing with philosophy, mythology, mechanics, astrology, arithmetic, history, religion, ethics, mathematics, physics, medicine, health, music, economics, government, war and even entertainment to name just a handful. Indeed there is a fundamental concept at the root of all human endeavors and there exist a conceptual root or core idea that provides the foundation and reasonable support for the ideas that are built upon it. 

In general those fundamental concepts are all different and are specific to the conceptual construct that they are applied to. In many cases those fundamental concepts are in competition or are in conflict with each other. When that is recognized as being the case we say that those fundamental concepts are competing or conflicting beliefs. Among human beings some of us have access and adhere to a small number of fundamental concepts, while others have access to and adhere to a much larger range of fundamental concepts. Rather remarkably in just a single mind we also have the ability to believe in and employ fundamental concepts that contradict each other.

It is not difficult to imagine the tremendous variety of ideas and foundations that we could become involved with in discussing just the general fundamentals listed above. A detailed discussion would encompass opinions concerning the entire human experience, past, present and imagined future. It would of course be very easy to get lost in such an endeavor to the extent that one might not be able to find a way out.

Fortunately the teaching of our original parent recognizes only two fundamentals both of which have to do with the foundation of our mind and nothing else, so if we sincerely desire to know and understand what that teaching is about we only need to deal with two elements. Metaphorically we are instructed to ponder and understand the only truly secure foundation of our thoughts by understanding the terms "clear" and "muddy" to describe the state of our mind. With that in mind we can say that all of the fundamentals listed above and any others that one can imagine are grouped into a single fundamental conceptual category variously referred to as common worldly thinking. It is that category that is metaphorically the "Mud", "Debris" or "Dust" that has collected in our mind. Common worldly thinking is not essentially wrong or evil, it is however a soft foundation and subject to shifting and changing.

The deeper secure foundation for our thought constructions and self-centered thinking is what is exposed and remains to be understood when our mind is settled and made like "clear water".  That totally stable foundation is the place where ideas, first of self and then all others rise up from and within. Look inside your own mind and see where your ideas come from and return to. If you can't hold onto the task it may require some work or service to slow down the movement of your thoughts so that you can "see" their origin clearly.

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When we ponder the long journey of humankind we see that over time there have been numerous fundamental  changes to the way in which we experience the world. Many of those fundamental changes, if not most, have led to an increase in life expectancy and better health for significant segments of the human population.