Tao Zen and Tantra

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Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 04:59 pm
"Tantra is that Asian body of beliefs and practices which, working from the principle that the universe we experience is nothing other than the concrete manifestation of the divine energy of the Godhead, that creates and maintains that universe, seeks to ritually appropriate and channel that energy, within the human microcosom, in creative and emancipatory ways".

Considering this definition Tao would be a form of tantra. Tantra is not just about sex. It is a means of ataining god consciousness through the study of the natural world. Tao means universe. Tao is also a form of Zen due to the fact that the meditation is similar to that of Zen Buddhism. Awakening in Taoism is called Te which means the way. And Enlightenment is called very simple Tao.

Any more thoughts on this?

Thanks

Vajrasattva
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 05:38 pm
@vajrasattva,
As I recall, Zen developed after Taoism - as a sort of Buddhism inspired by Taoist thought.

And isn't Tao usually translated as "path" or "way", and Te as "virtue"?
 
Persona phil
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 08:54 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;90739 wrote:
As I recall, Zen developed after Taoism - as a sort of Buddhism inspired by Taoist thought.

And isn't Tao usually translated as "path" or "way", and Te as "virtue"?

Yes, that's correct.

Mostly because "the way that is nameless and name given that cannot be named" is too long.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 09:28 am
@Persona phil,
Persona;90878 wrote:
Mostly because "the way that is nameless and name given that cannot be named" is too long.

So they name it!

I mean - you gotta laugh haven't you.

Lao Tzu: The way that can be named is not the way.
Lao Tzu's Editor: That's a mite clunky Lao, can you think up something shorter?
Lao Tzu: Well, the point I'm trying to make is...
Lao Tzu's Editor: What about "wayism"?

Quote:
As I recall, Zen developed after Taoism - as a sort of Buddhism inspired by Taoist thought.

Buddhism developed after Taoism, period, I think.
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 12:30 pm
@Dave Allen,
vajrasattva;90731 wrote:
"Tantra is that Asian body of beliefs and practices which, working from the principle that the universe we experience is nothing other than the concrete manifestation of the divine energy of the Godhead,


My understanding of Daoism would be different but, as with every philosophy, there are differences of views.

Yes, I would say that Daoism suggest that the universe we experience is nothing other than the concrete manifestation of the unknowable beginning of everything. The Way that the Dao De Jing talks about is the differentiated polar opposites of Yin/Yang which create Qi (energy), in the same way that a battery creates movement and energy. I do not think that Daoism talks much about Godhead, though there certainly are versions of Daoism that embrace this concept.

Dave Allen;90893 wrote:
So they name it!


No really. They endeavor to talk about he Unknowable after it manifests and becomes Knowable by virtue of the Way. It is really just a warning, that that which is Unknowable is Unknowable and further thoughts are only about what has been manifested. Call it a cautious and humble way of approaching THE SUBJECT.

Rich
 
vajrasattva
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 12:59 pm
@vajrasattva,
I didnt know that Taoism predates Zen Thanks

Taoism is fundamentaly pagan due to the fact that it embraces the individuality of the individual. It allows for an individualized approach to the spiritual realm. This is why I feel that it is truely the highest way available to the earth. Unfortuenately I do not entirely grasp the entirety of the Taoist teaching. I feel that in time with study experience and practice i may come to understand the way in a way that will be beneficial to others.
 
Icon
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 02:28 pm
@vajrasattva,
There are many aspects of Taoism but I would not agree that Taoism could be related to Tantra.

I was a Taoist for many years. The tao cannot be understood because that is not how you acheive the tao. Taoism, as best as I can explain it, is the art of non-thought. When you meditate as a Taoist, you attempt to remove all thoughts of consciousness and self. By doing this, you can acheive harmony with the world around you. Unfortunate side effects come in the form of lost time, inability to comprehend what just happened and a euphoria which does not go away for a VERY long time.

As a Taoist, I am trying to remove myself in order to find true nature. There is no set way to acheive the Tao nor is there a system of beliefs which can help you understand the Tao. It is the anarchy of religion in many senses. Taoism can be traced back up to 7,000 years though the fundamentalist Christians would disagree that we have even been here that long.

I know a great deal about what cannot be known and would be more thn happy to answer any questions you might have.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 03:10 pm
@vajrasattva,
Well why don't you start something yourself please Icon, I mean I have no idea where to start but I am certainly interested, if you could please dig something up for us to look at I would most appreciate it. Thanks.
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 06:28 pm
@Icon,
Icon;91011 wrote:
Taoism, as best as I can explain it, is the art of non-thought. When you meditate as a Taoist, you attempt to remove all thoughts of consciousness and self. By doing this, you can acheive harmony with the world around you. Unfortunate side effects come in the form of lost time, inability to comprehend what just happened and a euphoria which does not go away for a VERY long time. As a Taoist, I am trying to remove myself in order to find true nature.


I have never understood Daoism in this way, though I know this is the way some people have tried to practice it. For me, it is much more simple. I learn about it through experiential practice including Tai Chi and Yoga, but certainly not limited to these. I am also very easy going about it and have no objectives whatsoever.

Icon;91011 wrote:
There is no set way to acheive the Tao nor is there a system of beliefs which can help you understand the Tao.


I would agree which I am amazed that Daoism on this forum is considered a religion of some sort. I attribute this to either lack of knowledge of Daoism or a severe bias in favor of Western philosophy - i.e. any Eastern philosophy has to be a religion. It is like calling the study of Plato a religion. Somewhat absurd in my view. But, c'est la vie.

Rich
 
Caroline
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 07:24 pm
@richrf,
richrf;91088 wrote:

I would agree which I am amazed that Daoism on this forum is considered a religion of some sort. I attribute this to either lack of knowledge of Daoism or a severe bias in favor of Western philosophy - i.e. any Eastern philosophy has to be a religion. It is like calling the study of Plato a religion. Somewhat absurd in my view. But, c'est la vie.
Rich
How is that? I don't understand what you mean I don't even know what Daoism is but I don't know why you're calling this biased when it's just a name????? Philosophy Religion, what's the difference? It's all about the unknown, i write my own religion and philosophy everyday and I dont care which one is which, do you?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 08:06 pm
@Caroline,
Plato's philosophy was very much spiritual....
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 08:16 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline;91106 wrote:
How is that? I don't understand what you mean I don't even know what Daoism is but I don't know why you're calling this biased when it's just a name????? Philosophy Religion, what's the difference? It's all about the unknown, i write my own religion and philosophy everyday and I dont care which one is which, do you?


I just treat everything as the same. But, if the forum moderators wanted to start a religious forum, they might as well throw Greek philosophy, Spinoza, and other Western philosophies in with Daoism and other Eastern Philosophies. The idea that Eastern philosophies are religions, in the common understanding of religions, e.g. Judaism, Islam, Christianity, either shows no understanding of Eastern philosophies (this would not surprise me), or just a Western bias.

There is absolutely nothing religious about Daoism, though there are some who try hard to make it so. Daoism is simply observing life as one participates in it. It is a very simple kind of philosophy. One only has to read the Dao De Jing.

Red Pine, a noted scholar and translator of the Dao De Jing writes:

Lao-tzu (the legendary author of the Dao De Jing), teaches us that the dark can always become light and contains within itself the potential for growth and life, while the light can only become dark and brings with it decay and early death.

So the world is one of opposites and it flows. This is precisely what Heraclitus had to say about the world. Is the study of Heraclitus a religion or the study of pre-Socratic Greek Philosophy? If one wishes to begin to compartmentalize and segregate, then where ever Heraclitus belongs so does Daoism.

Rich
 
Caroline
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 08:21 pm
@vajrasattva,
I like DT's analogy better.
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 08:25 pm
@Caroline,
Well, it is nice to know that the study of Plato, Heraclitus, and Daoism are religious studies - at least on this forum.

Rich
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 08:28 pm
@Caroline,
Religion...philosophy... these are words.

At the time of Plato and Heraclitus, what we would call religious philosophy or theology was intertwined with what we might now call secular philosophy. They were the same fields. The same is true of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu - there was no separation between religion and philosophy. Also, at the time, physics was very much the same field.

In the case of metaphysics, I do not see any reason to separate philosophy and religion. Both use metaphysics, neither branch has managed to bring it beyond speculation and semantics - so why separate them at all? They are the same subject, unless you are Hume and busy denying metaphysics in the first place, which, incidentally, is why many called Hume an atheist.

When organizing the forum, the idea is to make the forum easy to use. That's it. I agree - Heraclitus, Daoism, side by side. But for forum organization, that would only cause undue confusion, especially for newer users.
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 08:57 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;91131 wrote:
That's it. I agree - Heraclitus, Daoism, side by side. But for forum organization, that would only cause undue confusion, especially for newer users.


I don't even know how to react to this statement. Time to watch some reality TV.

Rich
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 11:23 pm
@Icon,
Icon;91011 wrote:


I know a great deal about what cannot be known and would be more thn happy to answer any questions you might have.


Knowing a great deal about what cannot be known seems rather impractical. How does one go about sharing this knowledge?

Well, anyway, you said you would be more than happy to answer any questions I might have. Here's my first: My Zen teacher has no fingers. How can I trust him?

---------- Post added 09-18-2009 at 12:18 AM ----------

richrf;91122 wrote:


Red Pine, a noted scholar and translator of the Dao De Jing writes:

Lao-tzu (the legendary author of the Dao De Jing), teaches us that the dark can always become light and contains within itself the potential for growth and life, while the light can only become dark and brings with it decay and early death.


There have been dozens of translations of this text over the years. There are a few scholars who even suggest that the Tao Te Ching or Dao De Jing was written by several different people.

Regardless, it's a valuable text, and a study of several different translations, I feel, can be very informative. I've had about four different versions at one time or another, including Ursula K. Le Guin's which I actually don't care for all that much as she didn't technically translate it, but rather interpreted it from other translations. Nicely poetic, but a bit truncated, I thought. Good, but just sort of missed the mark for my taste.

I can't find my copy of it now, but I recall liking Stephen Mitchell's translation. I browsed Red Pine's translation, and it was okay, but seemed to me slightly cold at times.

The link I am attaching here has translations of many key chapters by all three of these individuals and many others. Those interested in this sort of compare and contrast exercise might find the link informative.

Chapter 1 : Gender-Inclusive Tao Te Ching : Seal Scripts, Commentary

My current favorite, and the one I keep constantly in my truck for when I'm waiting at a drive-thru or when I go camping is the Shambhala pocket version of the Tao Teh Ching as translated by John C. H. Wu. I think I got mine at Amazon. By the way, I've found the majority of the books published by Shambhala to be excellent, particularly the material from the late Chogyam Trungpa.

She's often treated as a bit of a pariah by some Taoism scholars, but some of Eva Wong's writings on Taoism are worth looking into, particularly on the subject of Taoist alchemy, if you're interested in that aspect.

The only version I steadfastly refuse to even glance at is Wayne Dyer's, as I simply cannot tolerate that man on any level whatsoever.
 
richrf
 
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 09:38 am
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan;91173 wrote:

She's often treated as a bit of a pariah by some Taoism scholars, but some of Eva Wong's writings on Taoism are worth looking into, particularly on the subject of Taoist alchemy, if you're interested in that aspect.


Hi,

I also have many translations. I keep them handy so I can compare different perspectives. The ones I like the most are those written from experiential activities: e.g., Hua-Ching Ni and Man-jan Cheng (Cheng studied Taiji (Tai Chi).

But the very best translations come from the books written about ancient Chinese medicine. Those who applied Daoism for practical health use (e.g. Taiji (Tai Chi), acupuncture, herbs, Qi Gong), have a very unique perspective because they experience what the Dao De Jing is actually speaking of. I think that ancient people who practiced what they discovered had a special sensitivity which can also experienced today - but it takes getting out there an doing it.

However, my main point is that there is absolutely zero religion in Daoism. It is just labeled as such by people who have not studied it or for some reason desire it to be a religion. Daoism is about experiencing.

Rich
 
vajrasattva
 
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 11:39 am
@vajrasattva,
Tao as I undersand is is a belief system that holds that the physical universe is a manefestation of the divine energy. I could be wrong Ive done that once or twice. (ha ha ha)

"Tantra is that Asian body of beliefs and practices which, working from the principle that the universe we experience is nothing other than the concrete manifestation of the divine energy of the Godhead, that creates and maintains that universe, seeks to ritually appropriate and channel that energy, within the human microcosom, in creative and emancipatory ways".
-Tantra in practice
Pricntion religous studies.
 
richrf
 
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 12:20 pm
@vajrasattva,
vajrasattva;91315 wrote:
Tao as I undersand is is a belief system that holds that the physical universe is a manefestation of the divine energy. I could be wrong Ive done that once or twice. (ha ha ha).


There is definitely an aspect of Daoism that suggests that everything is unity and flowing. This is exemplified by the Taiji symbol.

http://www.timvansant.com/otoh/photo/BaGuaSymbol.jpg

But there is no sense of worshiping anything divine. However, there are some people who share these ideas that do get together and do some worshiping together. Anything can be made into a religion. But in general people who have studied Daoism pretty much experience it as individuals and talk about what they experience.

Rich
 
 

 
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