Author Topic: The Tao  (Read 685 times)

pi_rameses

The Tao
« on: October 26, 2017, 11:51:53 pm »
I revisited the Tao te Ching and the Inner Teachings of Chuangzu the other day. I was reading from the Thomas Cleary translation. Lately, I am starting to prefer the format of aphorisms and appreciate how it involves the reader to unpack its meaning. This is much like the Tao, although no one can profess outright to have penetrated its mysteries entirely. What do you guys make of the Tao? I'll leave two excerpts below - one from the Tao te Ching and another from the Inner Teachings of Chuangzu:


11. Thirty Spokes

Thirty spokes join at the hub:
Their use for the cart
Is where they are not.
When the potter's wheel makes a pot,
The use of the pot
Is precisely where there is nothing.
When you open doors and windows for a room,
It is where there is nothing
That they are useful to the room.
Therefore being is for benefit,
Nonbeing is for usefulness.


2. On Equalizing Things

... Once Chuang Chou dreamed he was a butterfly. He was happy as a butterfly, enjoying himself and going where he wanted. He did not know he was Chou. Suddenly, he awoke, whereupon he was startled to find he was Chou. He didn't know whether Chou had dreamed he was a butterfly, or if a butterfly were dreaming it was Chou. But as Chou and the butterfly, there must be a distinction. This is called the transformation of beings.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 12:56:18 am by pi_ramesses »
"Some say Kos, others Kosm.
As you did for the vacuous Rom,
grant us eyes.
Grant us eyes."

-Micolash, Host of the Nightmare

crossfire

Re: The Tao
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2018, 01:25:34 pm »
This is one of my favorite excerpts from Changzi's Making All Things Equal
Quote
The torch of chaos and doubt - this is what the sage steers by. So he does not use things but relegates all to the constant. This is what it means to use clarity.  {the constant being change}

Now I am going to make a statement here. I don't know whether it fits into the category of other people's statements or not. But whether it fits into their category or whether it doesn't, it obviously fits into some category. So in that respect it is no different from their statements. However, let me try making my statement.

There is a beginning. There is a not yet beginning to be a beginning. There is a not yet beginning to be a not yet beginning to be a beginning. There is being. There is nonbeing. There is a not yet beginning to be nonbeing. There is a not yet beginning to be a not yet beginning to be nonbeing. Suddenly there is nonbeing. But I do not know, when it comes to nonbeing, which is really being and which is nonbeing. Now I have just said something. But I don't know whether what I have said has really said something or whether it hasn't said something.

It goes well with your Tao Te Ching excerpt of non-being is for usefulness.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 01:27:57 pm by crossfire »
"Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you."
~Carl Jung

pi_rameses

Re: The Tao
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2018, 05:40:38 pm »
  :)
"Some say Kos, others Kosm.
As you did for the vacuous Rom,
grant us eyes.
Grant us eyes."

-Micolash, Host of the Nightmare

crossfire

Re: The Tao
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2018, 05:59:28 am »
  :)
I really like Chuangzi's sense of humor. ;)
"Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you."
~Carl Jung

Frater Sisyphus

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Re: The Tao
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 07:21:33 am »
@crossfire Yep, me too. There's a quite a bit of a pre-Zen-ish-ness in his expansion of Taoism (aka Daoism), one of the great classic examples of how well wisdom can be conveyed with humor.


@pi_rameses Well, the Tao/Dao Te Ching is one of those books that is quite literally always on my desk somewhere and whenever I go out of town, it's a book I always take with me.  :D


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NEMO 93

Re: The Tao
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2019, 08:12:22 am »
Synchronicity, I just recently paradigm shifted to taoism as one of a few main studies. I really used to prefer Zuang Zi quotes to Lao Tzu but now I find Tao Te Jing to be far superior.

I think taoism, like buddhism, can be one of those things anyone can pull nice life lessons from to help be more productive or at peace but can only really be understood by practicing it. Taoism is certainly more suitable for left-hand path people than buddhism as it's a middle path religion and I personally find it's philosophy the best for accomplishing something in theory.


 

Frater Sisyphus

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Re: The Tao
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 08:55:15 am »
Synchronicity, I just recently paradigm shifted to taoism as one of a few main studies. I really used to prefer Zuang Zi quotes to Lao Tzu but now I find Tao Te Jing to be far superior.

I think taoism, like buddhism, can be one of those things anyone can pull nice life lessons from to help be more productive or at peace but can only really be understood by practicing it. Taoism is certainly more suitable for left-hand path people than buddhism as it's a middle path religion and I personally find it's philosophy the best for accomplishing something in theory.

Woah Nemo, have talked to you in ages!  :D

Well, with the Tao, I think it is certainly a unique oddity in the sense that it really does accommodate a very large variety of contexts. It doesn't necessarily negate or validate any specific religious, areligious, social or political (the irony being it's origins) views. It engages the reader on whatever path they are in life and requires that person to think about those things, to contemplate the mysteries of life but doesn't hold much of a bias - which is quite unique. I don't think Buddhism generally shares this, Buddhism usually does have more strict leanings that guarantee alienating someone (even if it's practices may themselves be beneficial to a large variety of people). Taoism itself, with the ism, falls more into it's own category for the sake of it's tendency to formulate more specified ideals after the fact (of the Tao Te Ching) but regardless, does remain more open than Buddhism generally is.


The universe is a speck

NEMO 93

Re: The Tao
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2019, 07:14:12 am »
@Frater Sisyphus  It's good to see you! I was actually wondering what you've been up to. I'll comment in your diary thread.

Er, when I compared doaism to buddhism, I meant the focus on non-action as well as how they converged throughout history in their, er, religious aspects? It feels really weird saying that because Dao, and I'm curious how that evolved. I'm actually about to dive deeper into it, even though that kind of defeats the purpose. I'm starting Tai Chi Chen classes on Friday! I'm really curious of how the mythology evolved from an anthropological perspective.

But I agree with you that it can fit a wide variety of contexts. I see it much like The Force from Star Wars, especially The Last Jedi.  It's in perfect harmony and the light and dark are both natural and balance, but it will certainly aid anyone who learns it's ways. Star Wars was both largely based off of Buddhism and Taoism I believe, at least the prequels so that makes sense.


Buddhism is definitely more strict but I see a lot of Buddhism as contrary to Buddha's teachings. I think both philosophies describe a lot of the same concepts in similar but different language but they're still somewhat opposite. A great example is Journey to the West. I was actually just reading an article about that mentioned mistranslation causing a problems. For example, abstinence from intoxicant in Buddhism is missing a lot of cultural context and many mind-altering substances were not considering intoxicants such as marijuana. It was more a spiritual and literal view, as alcohol is considered an intoxicant. I also read that there's a buddhist sect that considers alcohol one of the few recreational drugs that's not intoxicant, so it's always great to be aware of how cultural norms can corrupt original intent. But yeah, I can see buddha closer to the confucian-esque control religion than the life affirmative tao religion.

I'm still incredibly curious how and why they share cosmology. I also wonder if hinduism is compatible with taoism in any meaningful way, I read on an old topic in on another forum that their high level energy work deal with opposing energies. I feel like Crowley was way more influenced by taoism than buddhism now that I study it a bit more.

Little Beast

Re: The Tao
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2019, 01:21:01 pm »
I see it much like The Force from Star Wars, especially The Last Jedi.

Glad someone noticed. I guess Star Wars must be kinda lost in space for the new guys. I loved that film.
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'Til you die
I'll be a thorn in your side
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Frater Sisyphus

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Re: The Tao
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2019, 09:54:31 pm »
Er, when I compared doaism to buddhism, I meant the focus on non-action as well as how they converged throughout history in their, er, religious aspects? It feels really weird saying that because Dao, and I'm curious how that evolved.

Yep, I do know what you mean. I think the connections between Taoism and Zen are especially interesting (and well, both share aspects of my personality  :mrgreen: ) Also, Wu-wei is significant in it's own way (and applicable to the aforementioned)

But I agree with you that it can fit a wide variety of contexts. I see it much like The Force from Star Wars, especially The Last Jedi.  It's in perfect harmony and the light and dark are both natural and balance, but it will certainly aid anyone who learns it's ways. Star Wars was both largely based off of Buddhism and Taoism I believe, at least the prequels so that makes sense.

Star Wars does fit quite a few gloves (whether deliberately or not), I think the Taoist interpretation is definitely valid but my stipulation (with the original Star Wars at least) is that Taoism isn't really as dualistic (however not quite as non-dual as various forms of Hinduism for instance).

Buddhism is definitely more strict but I see a lot of Buddhism as contrary to Buddha's teachings.

Buddhism itself really is another thread but I do completely agree. In many ways, I see Siddhartha as compatible to Jesus - in that a teacher, prophet, sage, whatever you want to call them...tries to bring back a religion/spiritual tradition back to it's roots (for Siddhartha it's Vedic thought, for Jesus it's the Torah)...but in a burst of irony, becomes the figurehead of a newly distinct tradition/religion that builds off their teachings from a half-removed POV (kind of missing the essence of the teaching itself, however well or not well-preserved the teachings themselves actually are)

I think both philosophies describe a lot of the same concepts in similar but different language but they're still somewhat opposite. A great example is Journey to the West. I was actually just reading an article about that mentioned mistranslation causing a problems. For example, abstinence from intoxicant in Buddhism is missing a lot of cultural context and many mind-altering substances were not considering intoxicants such as marijuana.

I think this also effects both of their (Taoism and Buddhism) cultural transfer and application in very different ways, perhaps also why Taoism seems to attract more 'anarchic-minded' people, versus Buddhism' more consumerist application. I guess, to some extend Taoism is able to produce or influence forms of more radical spirituality (I guess like myself in some regard) in comparison to Buddhism which seems to affirm or aid more secular-minded people through it's more "psychological" methodology. Hence making Taoism quite literally a "Way" and Buddhism more of a group of "systems".

I'm still incredibly curious how and why they share cosmology. I also wonder if hinduism is compatible with taoism in any meaningful way, I read on an old topic in on another forum that their high level energy work deal with opposing energies.

I'd say yes but also kind of no, seeing how "Hinduism" (aka the various Hindu religions often put under one banner) is generally concerned with some form of grand perception of existence, whereas Taoism has a more passive spontaneity. The passive spontaneity allows for it to be capable of accommodating quite a few worldviews. Whether (in Hinduism) we speak of theist, polytheist, pantheist, animist or atheist Hindus, the grand perception of the ultimate reality usually does have some form of central point, regardless of the individuals particular school of philosophy within it. Taoism quite literally leaves most of this even more open to interpretation, whereas the Hindu religions did establish general well-defined points of view that make it harder (even though Hinduism does give encouragement to the subjective and is often more inclusive of ideas) to transfer the perspective in the same way.

I feel like Crowley was way more influenced by taoism than buddhism now that I study it a bit more.

Crowley definitely was more influence by Taoism (out of those two) in the wider context of his work. He did convert to Buddhism for a number of years prior to receiving Liber AL, in which he's said numerous times that Liber AL offered him many solutions that Buddhism seemed to lack. It (Liber AL) probably contributed to Crowley's theistic position as well, which moved to many places over his life. IMO, when it comes to contextually and subtextually analyzing Crowley's work though, Buddhism would more than not, make less referential appearances than other religions and traditions.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 09:58:59 pm by Frater Sisyphus »


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