Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Sunday, 11 February 2007
Sunday, 11 February 2007 23:26

The Wait and The Emptiness

Standing at the end of the bridge, I was waiting for a friend from far away. The pause left my mind an open expanse in which my thoughts could stretch their wings and repose. The void during these minutes suggested all kinds of possibilities lying in wait, but nothing happened. Nothing would spoil the peace within. The perfect harmony of life is revealed by a momentary sense of emptiness. The vacancy in traditional Chinese painting that conveys images of sky, earth and water, can unfold the artistic conception. The emptiness in my life can open up the virgin soil of my mind which is untouched by the sootes hubbub of this mortal life.
Once we stopped for lunch. I washed down some steamed bread with water and hurried to sketch a fruit garden. When I returned, the street was deserted. The noon sun bleached everything in sight. Some eyes stared at me from shadows. I waited in silence. Everything was on its way. There was no worry, no anxiety. I was deprived suddenly of all my thoughts and sensations and was replenished with something brilliant and hushed, something unlimited, weightless and pure. Afterwards, we started again. The further we escaped from the rush of human inhabitants, the closer we neared the miracle of nature. I was kept waiting, breathless with admiration for the changing sceneries, one after another. At the sight of the mountains, all my senses were reduced to nothing for an instant. At that time, my heart became so clean and free that I almost was baptized a pantheist.
So many old-timers and latecomers shuttle back and forth on this permanent landscape. Only the everlasting mountains can tell the eternal truth of our being. I stopped to wait and listen. I heard nothing but the sound of emptiness. Truth and beauty never exist beyond our soul. It can be discovered in emptiness. It can be gained by your waiting.

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Constitutionalism and Western legal traditions in human rights have had a strong influence on Asian legal systems. The circumstances in which this influence has been exerted have largely varied from one country to another. Colonisation, forced opening or Westernisation and the Cold War have had a direct impact on the nature and the strength of these processes of legal acculturation. While the end of the Cold War contributed to weakening the opposition between socialist and, to put it simply, “Westernised” legal systems, the political environment in which the legal modernisation is taking place continues to influence these processes directly. The end of the Cold War also favoured the re-emergence of what Samuel Huntington calls the “clash of civilisations”, in other words, the contradictions or differences between religious or cultural values, differences that have a direct bearing on the legal values adhered to by the Asian countries under consideration here.
Although economic globalisation has triggered negative reactions and also contributed to this clash of civilisations, it has at the same time facilitated the dissemination of Western legal and in particular human rights values. And in Asia, this globalisation has been accompanied and tempered by a powerful regionalisation that has forced most countries to narrow their differences, including to some extent in terms of their legal values and systems.
The road ahead will remain bumpy because each nation resides on its own history, culture, religions and legal traditions. The influence in particular of Islam, Hinduism and Confucianism as well as the competition among these value systems will of course be perpetuated. But there are more convergences today than in the Cold War era or later, when Asian values were promoted by political leaders and elites who wished to resist domination by Western ideologies. Does that mean that the West will in future be influenced by Asia? The answer remains globally negative. However, a better mutual understanding of differences between and common values shared by each other can be achieved.
This is the summary of a paper presented by Jean-Pierre Cabestan on "Constitutionalism and Western Legal Traditions in Human Rights in Asian Legal Systems — with a Special Focus on Chinese Legal Systems"
during the international conference
“One Country, Two Systems, Three Legal Orders” — Perspectives and Evolution
Macau, 5-7 February 2007
Read the entire article in PDF

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