Tao Zen and Tantra

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Caroline
 
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 12:25 pm
@vajrasattva,
This is interesting rich, what I think is a closer look needs to be executed to see what is really going on and I think I asked Icon to do this, so if Icon is about please would you mind doing the honours?
 
Icon
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 11:11 am
@vajrasattva,
First of all, it is true that Taoism is not a religion. To infer as much is against what Taoism stands for actually. It is a life philosophy. However, to be upset about it's placement or even to consider it would also be against the Tao as the Tao teaches us to avoid such practices.

As far as Tick Tock, you can't trust him. A man with no fingers could never do the 9 tranformations of the immortals... Oh... wait... this is not a buddhist forum... Right!

Taoism is not something which can be taught. It is not something which can be researched and it is not something which can be done. I know this sounds a bit circular but I will try to explain.

When someone tries to understand the Tao, they immediately remove themselves from the Tao. This is because the words we use to define things put limits on it. To limit it defines it and to define it creates a problem of comprehension. The Tao can only be experienced. Never known, understood or conceived. It is a state of mind. Somewhat like love, I could sit here and define it 1000 different ways and you could never comprehend it until you experience it. It is a feeling inside when you remove all of the superfluous and just exist. This is what is meant by "True Nature" which is the concept which all Taoists strive for. Tai Chi is a very limited portion of the Tao which teaches ways to contact the energy which flows between all bodies of this universe. The teachings are very limited to this just as all teachings which attempt to single out a portion of the Tao.

I have taken 7 years of Tai Chi and found that it is a great defensive martial arts but not good for me to experience the Tao. Meditation is how I touch it. Even then, it is not sustainable as it is not a life which I have gotten myself to.

If you all want an excellent reference to the idea behind Taoism, go read "The Seven Taoist Masters" and "The Tao of Pooh"

Combine these two to understand as much as can be understood. There is a lot of religious Taoism in the 7 Taoist masters only because of the origin but, when combined with the Tao of Pooh, you get an excellent frame of reference for the concept. From there, I cannot teach you much more without helping you experience it as best as I can through proper meditation.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 12:36 pm
@Icon,
Icon;92454 wrote:


As far as Tick Tock, you can't trust him. A man with no fingers could never do the 9 tranformations of the immortals... Oh... wait... this is not a buddhist forum... Right!


But does Zen not have its roots in Taoism as well?

9 Transformations? Why are fingers necessary? Are these Buddhist mudras or is it Taoist alchemy?
 
Icon
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 12:56 pm
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan;92470 wrote:
But does Zen not have its roots in Taoism as well?

9 Transformations? Why are fingers necessary? Are these Buddhist mudras or is it Taoist alchemy?

It was merely a joke for those privvy to the transformations of the immortals.

Taoist Alchemy was more within the mysticism than I ever jumped in. It was not that mystic to me but merely a way to live.

Many ideas developed out of Taoism as it shaped a good portion of the world at the time. Similar to the effect the hippies had on the American 1960's.
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 03:16 pm
@Icon,
Icon;92454 wrote:

I have taken 7 years of Tai Chi and found that it is a great defensive martial arts but not good for me to experience the Tao. Meditation is how I touch it. Even then, it is not sustainable as it is not a life which I have gotten myself to.


I have no idea what you studied. It is not what I have studied and taught for 20 years. But everyone is different.

Rich
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 03:54 pm
@richrf,
richrf;92517 wrote:
I have no idea what you studied. It is not what I have studied and taught fro 20 years. But everyone is different.

Rich


What family of Tai Chi do you study/teach?

---------- Post added 09-21-2009 at 03:56 PM ----------

Icon;92477 wrote:
It was merely a joke for those privvy to the transformations of the immortals.

Just in case there was anyone on this forum with such knowledge . . . .
 
NonSum
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 04:35 pm
@vajrasattva,
richrf: I am amazed that Daoism on this forum is considered a religion of some sort.

NS: One common convention is to differentiate: 'Philosophic Taoism' from the shamanistic "religion" of 'Taoism.'

Buddhism came into China around the first century C.E., while Taoism is lost in the depths of time. The merging of Taoism with a meditative branch of Mahayana created 'Chan' (Jap 'Zen').

Everybody has their own understanding of Taoism, and there are almost as many 'Tao te Chung' translations to fit them all. For me Taoism is largely about 'detachment,' and letting nature take its own course, as it inevitably will anyway. To strive and struggle for what you desire, only makes things harder. Far better to sit back and see how the Tao wishes to take things, never arguing with it.

"The succession of growth and decay, of increase and diminution,
goes in a cycle, each end becoming a new beginning. The life of
things passes by like a rushing, galloping horse, changing at every
turn, at every hour. What should one do, or what should one not
do? Let the cycle of changes go on by themselves!" (Chuang tse)
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 05:22 pm
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan;92528 wrote:
What family of Tai Chi do you study/teach?


I have studied Yang and Chen and the 48 form that I learned has a little bit of Wu, as well as some Qigong. But it is all the same. The inner flow/movement are exactly the same. It is like water moving through a hose and moving the hose - internal energy.

Different forms (Yang, Chen, Wu., etc.) exist apart for other reasons. While most practitioners believe they are distinctive because they view them externally with different features, now and then I read articles where practitioners who have studied for very long periods of time have declared it is all the same. But first, one must feel the inner flow in order to recognize the similarity.

BTW, it is exactly the same flow that is used in all martial arts and sports when practitioners are very relaxed and using the inner imagination/Yi to allow the flow to occur spontaneously and naturally without willpower.

Rich

---------- Post added 09-21-2009 at 06:27 PM ----------

NonSum;92541 wrote:
richrf: I am amazed that Daoism on this forum is considered a religion of some sort.

NS: One common convention is to differentiate: 'Philosophic Taoism' from the shamanistic "religion" of 'Taoism.'

Buddhism came into China around the first century C.E., while Taoism is lost in the depths of time. The merging of Taoism with a meditative branch of Mahayana created 'Chan' (Jap 'Zen').

Everybody has their own understanding of Taoism, and there are almost as many 'Tao te Chung' translations to fit them all. For me Taoism is largely about 'detachment,' and letting nature take its own course, as it inevitably will anyway. To strive and struggle for what you desire, only makes things harder. Far better to sit back and see how the Tao wishes to take things, never arguing with it.

"The succession of growth and decay, of increase and diminution,
goes in a cycle, each end becoming a new beginning. The life of
things passes by like a rushing, galloping horse, changing at every
turn, at every hour. What should one do, or what should one not
do? Let the cycle of changes go on by themselves!" (Chuang tse)


This is certainly one interpretation that I have come across quite often. But Daoism incorporates the concepts of Shen (Spirit), Hun (transcendental being), Po (physical being) Yi (Creative/Thinking Mind), and Zhi (Will). The last aspect Will, I interpret as choosing direction. This, Daoism does have a very active part of it.

I think that most of the idea of sitting on a raft and floating on a river wherever the river takes you is coming very poor translations, but I cannot say for sure. You are definitely on a boat but surely actively navigating - otherwise you are pretty much dead.

Rich
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 05:51 pm
@richrf,
richrf;92547 wrote:

BTW, it is exactly the same flow that is used in all martial arts and sports when practitioners are very relaxed and using the inner imagination/Yi to allow the flow to occur spontaneously and naturally without willpower.


Do you believe that this is something mystical/paranormal, or is it something more like kinetics and correct application of physical properties and principles such as body alignment, mass, torque, leverage, and etc.?

I'm not going to pretend I know anything about physics, but I do know that after many years in the martial arts I can hit substantially harder now with considerably less expenditure of energy than I could five years ago, and I certainly don't feel at all magical.
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 05:59 pm
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan;92556 wrote:
Do you believe that this is something mystical/paranormal, or is it something more like kinetics and correct application of physical properties and principles such as body alignment, mass, torque, leverage, and etc.?

I'm not going to pretend I know anything about physics, but I do know that after many years in the martial arts I can hit substantially harder now with considerably less expenditure of energy than I could five years ago, and I certainly don't feel at all magical.


I do not consider it magical. I consider it a manifestation of a relaxed mind/body that is able to create an inner force that is qualitatively different from a willful muscular force. Relaxation is the key and relaxation relates to the state of Mind. The top tennis players create energy via relaxation - not willfulness. It is the difference between water hammering against a rock and a hammer hammering against the same rock. The water will not break, the hammer might.

Rich
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 07:33 pm
@richrf,
Icon;92454 wrote:
First of all, it is true that Taoism is not a religion. To infer as much is against what Taoism stands for actually. It is a life philosophy.


What else is religion but a life philosophy?

I dig your point - and when we deal with eastern "religion", these western terms, like religion, become difficult. They just don't work too well given their common western understandings.

But, at the same time, if we are going to use the English language, I see no trouble with calling Taoism a religion so long as we also recognize it's unique nature among religions - it's very much the same trouble when we call Buddhism a religion.
 
NonSum
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 07:55 pm
@vajrasattva,
Hi
richrf: You are definitely on a boat but surely actively navigating - otherwise you are pretty much dead.

NS: "On a boat," but also 'within a navigator.'
Since "the perfect man is spirit-like" (Chuang tse), we must not confuse him with either the boat, nor the navigator's perambulations. These are externals, and as Lao says, "rags without, jade within." And Chuang says, "watch over what is within you, shut up the avenues that connect you with what is external."

richrf: I think that most of the idea of sitting on a raft and floating on a river wherever the river takes you is coming very poor translations,

NS: That would be the case depending upon what one takes the "river" to be. I suspect you take this river to be more shallow than it actually runs. When in truth there is nothing that this bottomless river fails to carry. The sage isn't someone who just lays about with nothing to do, but rather someone who takes All doing, however active it may be, as none of his doing.

"Acting without action is what is called 'Heaven-like.' Speech coming forth of itself is what is called a mark of the True Virtue." (Chuang tse, 'Genius of the Absurd')

"Immortality" is a constant theme in Taoism. Taoist priests and monks are commonly called "Immortal." Religious Taoism is full of potions and incantations for achieving a long life, or immortality itself. What Philosophical Taoism tries to convey, to those less literally minded in their materialism, is that within each of us there is a "Heavenly constitution" which is our immortal nature safe from all external harm. For "All within its circuit is preserved in peace, and there comes to it no agitation from without." (Ibid.)
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 09:10 pm
@NonSum,
NonSum;92592 wrote:
NS: "On a boat," but also 'within a navigator.'


There are many metaphors that can be used and I think they are all appropriate. No one metaphor is going to explain Life.

NonSum;92592 wrote:
I suspect you take this river to be more shallow than it actually runs.


I think it pretty much goes on forever and lasts as long as it is navigated. I don't see any end.

NonSum;92592 wrote:
"Acting without action is what is called 'Heaven-like.' Speech coming forth of itself is what is called a mark of the True Virtue." (Chuang tse, 'Genius of the Absurd')


I have read many translations of the Daoist classics. Every author brings their own viewpoint into the translations. It is like interpreting Shakespeare. In Taiji one learns who to create action from inaction, by allowing energy to spiral. But it doesn't mean I never use Will. It is there for a purpose - to allow the physical life to survive.

NonSum;92592 wrote:
"Immortality" is a constant theme in Taoism. Taoist priests and monks are commonly called "Immortal."


Yes. It is a good selling point for Daoism. Much better than doing nothing. I know many people in Chicago who study Daoism but it is a tiny, tiny number. And within that group even a tinier number actually join a group to practice it as a religion. Some people need religion and they can turn anything they want into a religion. But I don't think that this is the heart of Daoism. Daoism is really just about experiencing the flow of life which comes in opposites and to treat the opposites with equal attention.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Rich
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 22 Sep, 2009 02:54 am
@Caroline,
vajrasattva;90731 wrote:
Tantra is not just about sex.


I have to say that in my view, tantra is not about sex at all. This is just how it is portrayed by Westerners, mostly for the wrong reasons, and mostly because they think they can have their cake and eat it too. It has been popularised by a certain element in the media, who have very little understanding of the culture from which it comes, and the ritual and ceremonial context in which it is understood.
 
Doobah47
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 06:24 am
@jeeprs,
Quote:
"Acting without action is what is called 'Heaven-like.' Speech coming forth of itself is what is called a mark of the True Virtue." (Chuang tse, 'Genius of the Absurd')
So does that justify the code of silence prevalent among many impoverished people in order that crime lords and oppressors are not brought to justice?

Sounds to me that the heaven this describes might be a peadophilic opium dealers brothel... hmmm?

Any body seen the Chan Wook film 'Old Boy'?


____

As for the point about dubious Western interpretations of Tantra (ie sex) - I might like to point out that a commonality among many uses of language is the notion of 'consent'. So if the way is one which cannot be named, can one name the forms along the way, or are all these forms part of the way? How can one consent to the way without naming the way? Impossible perhaps but entirely necessary I doubt.

I win, it's all a lie - somebody would appear to have been notoriously abused, perhaps they've had their "guts spilled". Dire whores? Or Inspired flaws? Or maybe Queer Torque.
 
Icon
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 08:22 am
@Doobah47,
Doobah47;95404 wrote:
So does that justify the code of silence prevalent among many impoverished people in order that crime lords and oppressors are not brought to justice?

Sounds to me that the heaven this describes might be a peadophilic opium dealers brothel... hmmm?

Any body seen the Chan Wook film 'Old Boy'?


The quote is discussing true nature.

To educate you:

Taoism is the path to seek true nature. True nature is what we are without our consciousness betraying our own self nature. The statement above is stating that action and words without consciousness come from our true nature and are pure. The idea behind Taoism is that consciousness is a poison unless strictly controlled.

Doobah47;95404 wrote:
As for the point about dubious Western interpretations of Tantra (ie sex) - I might like to point out that a commonality among many uses of language is the notion of 'consent'. So if the way is one which cannot be named, can one name the forms along the way, or are all these forms part of the way? How can one consent to the way without naming the way? Impossible perhaps but entirely necessary I doubt.

I win, it's all a lie - somebody would appear to have been notoriously abused, perhaps they've had their "guts spilled". Dire whores? Or Inspired flaws? Or maybe Queer Torque.


Taoism is labeled "The Way" by consent. This is well known. What is not known is that which is actually contained in the way. The reason Taoism cannot be named is because it does not need to be named. Taoism does not appeal to the conscious mind, therefore does not need to follow the conventions of such.
 
Doobah47
 
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 01:14 pm
@Icon,
Quote:
Taoism is labeled "The Way" by consent. This is well known. What is not known is that which is actually contained in the way. The reason Taoism cannot be named is because it does not need to be named. Taoism does not appeal to the conscious mind, therefore does not need to follow the conventions of such.
How would you know?

Whose consent?

How does one consent to something without a definitive name?

If I give my consent for " " what have I given my consent for " " to do?

I presume that 'consent' is a facet of conscious human intelligence, therefore it would be impossible to give 'consent' to " ". Therefore " " must be an involuntary concession. So in other words it really could be an opium addicted child prostitutes brothel.


_________


I thought I should clarify this:
Quote:
"Acting without action is what is called 'Heaven-like.' Speech coming forth of itself is what is called a mark of the True Virtue." (Chuang tse, 'Genius of the Absurd')

>>So does that justify the code of silence prevalent among many impoverished people in order that crime lords and oppressors are not brought to justice?


To act is affective, therefore if one's inaction has an effect, the effect in this context is liberty for those (things) who/which are not spoken of.

Speech coming forth of itself? Kind of reminds me of the possibility to speak Mandarin and Cockney jargon at the same time. True Virtue? If the truth is ineffable, language is a lie, a virtuous deception is almost impossible, although some might say a 'white lie' is positive/virtuous. So does that justify pushing Cocaine or Sugar through the means of unconscious actors?

What about 'average'? Ave Rage? Ave Maria? Have a rag? For the guts? Why? Who fed me that laxative? And why am I sneezing? Am I allergic to piss? Shite. It's all just effed up in my face. Ho hum, and NOT to Allah.
 
Doobah47
 
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 03:30 am
@Doobah47,
Icon wrote:
The quote is discussing true nature.

To educate you:

Taoism is the path to seek true nature. True nature is what we are without our consciousness betraying our own self nature. The statement above is stating that action and words without consciousness come from our true nature and are pure. The idea behind Taoism is that consciousness is a poison unless strictly controlled.


I am of the opinion that all elements of existence portray aspects of consciousness. If a 'pure' element (in your terms, 'one acting without singular intent') were to do exactly that, how can one explain chaos present/developed in any investigation? (Although I do find the grammatical triviality to be rather cute.) Do you infer that nature itself is fundamentally chaotic, thus justifying the absence of structured analysis in a search for the 'truth'?

If so it would make sense that a hyper-consciousness (deluded consciousness / psychosis) is more likely to discover any 'truth' - let me ask you: "Is that why Tao is named Tao?" Or maybe I should say that is more likely to be the justification for abuse/deception/poison.

Secondly, surely it is an impossibility to find any kind of purity in a system of existence so heavily laden by the actions of the 'conscious'. How could we undo? Without submitting to a system that has been defined for the purposes of our imprisonment?
So my argument is :

a) "Tao" is false.
b) Existence is not entirely systemic - in some respects it is false.
c) Existence was chaotic and becomes patterned by consciousness ('obsession with context/sensation/order' - a rough definition of 'consciousness').

I wonder what the conclusion is.

My question for Icon is : "What do you think the "truth" at the end of the "way" is?" I've got a funny feeling it might just be the absence of "consciousness" - that being; if you were to deprive yourself of sleep enough to develop a psychosis (temporary obviously) you might think you'd realized the 'answer' but you'd probably fall asleep seconds later and for all the trying you'd never remember what the 'answer' was that you'd thought of.

Ho hum.

I wrote a nice poem about youth, it begins like this:

Spirited hallucination
You had it in your hands;
Synthetic rainbow
You saw it rising, and
While I wandered out on the moor for days,
You reached for the stars and prayed. [/i]


 
Doobah47
 
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 10:14 am
@Doobah47,
Doobah47;95977 wrote:

My question for Icon is : "What do you think the "truth" at the end of the "way" is?" I've got a funny feeling it might just be the absence of "consciousness" - that being; if you were to deprive yourself of sleep enough to develop a psychosis (temporary obviously) you might think you'd realized the 'answer' but you'd probably fall asleep seconds later and for all the trying you'd never remember what the 'answer' was that you'd thought of.

Ho hum.

I wrote a nice poem about youth, it begins like this:

Spirited hallucination
You had it in your hands;
Synthetic rainbow
You saw it rising, and
While I wandered out on the moor for days,
You reached for the stars and prayed.



I'd like to comment on this:
The reason you are depriving yourself of sleep is because your consciousness has discovered so much 'true' information, yet trying to place a definitive conclusion at the pinnacle of this information has rendered you totally obsessed, so you are staring wildly at the computer/page/space maybe typing or drawing or thinking systematically trying to deduce the 'answer', you become maddened from sleep deprivation and begin to starve and hallucinate... and then! the answer appears... then you wake up in the morning - after entering a state of 'unconsciousness' - and for the life of you can't remember what it was that you'd decided. Is this state of unconsciousness (the 'sleep') relatively more unconscious than a piece of water vapour? Considering the extent of the prior consciousness, I think that a sleeping genius is comparatively more unconscious than a piece of water vapour - especially if the vapour was that of a half-bottle of brandy he accidentally managed to inhale. Or maybe the piece of moon dust, is that more or less unconscious than the sleeping genius? What if the dust was generated by the eyes of the sleeping genius? Comparitively, I win. Literally, I don't care. Incidentally, the answer is that they are probably about as conscious as each other.
 
Icon
 
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 11:53 am
@Doobah47,
Doobah47;95977 wrote:
I am of the opinion that all elements of existence portray aspects of consciousness. If a 'pure' element (in your terms, 'one acting without singular intent') were to do exactly that, how can one explain chaos present/developed in any investigation? (Although I do find the grammatical triviality to be rather cute.) Do you infer that nature itself is fundamentally chaotic, thus justifying the absence of structured analysis in a search for the 'truth'?

If so it would make sense that a hyper-consciousness (deluded consciousness / psychosis) is more likely to discover any 'truth' - let me ask you: "Is that why Tao is named Tao?" Or maybe I should say that is more likely to be the justification for abuse/deception/poison.

Secondly, surely it is an impossibility to find any kind of purity in a system of existence so heavily laden by the actions of the 'conscious'. How could we undo? Without submitting to a system that has been defined for the purposes of our imprisonment?
So my argument is :

a) "Tao" is false.
b) Existence is not entirely systemic - in some respects it is false.
c) Existence was chaotic and becomes patterned by consciousness ('obsession with context/sensation/order' - a rough definition of 'consciousness').

I wonder what the conclusion is.

My question for Icon is : "What do you think the "truth" at the end of the "way" is?" I've got a funny feeling it might just be the absence of "consciousness" - that being; if you were to deprive yourself of sleep enough to develop a psychosis (temporary obviously) you might think you'd realized the 'answer' but you'd probably fall asleep seconds later and for all the trying you'd never remember what the 'answer' was that you'd thought of.



Let me first address your initial argument by saying that it is based off of an assumption that all elements of existence display consciousness. A rock is not self aware (conscious) and yet, it exists. The Tao (as it is commonly known) is a path to a "pure" life. What I mean by pure is that it is without flaw of purpose. By flaw of purpose, we might say that it is without worldly intent or heavenly desire. Action which has no thought or desire behind it but is action regardless.

Now to answer your question. I do not claim to know the final destination of the Tao. If I did, I would not be here discussing it with you. I know what steps I took to get to where I was and I know where I saw the path leading to but I do not claim to know "truth" of anything. As far as I am concerned, there is no truth other than subjective truth. And so, we discuss and exchange and move on, never really achieving anything.

When discussing the Tao, it is important to realize that it was created by a society which was 1000 years ahead of the rest of the world at the time. But it is still an ancient society and one built on a language which is symbolic rather than literal. This is important to comprehending the words of the Tao. Nothing in the Tao Te Ching is presented as a direct idea and so you must understand that it is all conceptual based on an understanding of the world thousands of years ago. Before Socrates, there was the Tao. Philosophy had not been invented yet. This also explains why it is one of the few "philosophies" which crosses the line between faith and ideology.
 
 

 
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