Originally posted by Dasa
So the meaning of life is to do your own thing.
Your own thing then becomes your meaning.
This is not correct but simply misdirecting persons.
The meaning of human life is to re-establish the forgotten relationship with God.
Our relationship with God is eternal and can never be broken.... but only forgotten.
Not accepting God or the individual so ...[text shortened]... ddha is God incarnate but Buddhists deny God........this is clearly interesting.
I actually have no problem with "...do your own thing then becomes your meaning".
For, as you know, behind "your own thing " lies the different understandings of the existence of the self/Self, and how it is understood and lived.
Taoism avoids defining the final nature of the Tao and accepts its final nature as the Mystery of mysteries. When we are truly "doing our own thing", in its eyes we are following our Tao and are acting in a manner that is seen as highly cultivated. We accord with our true nature. Of course, if you define "doing your own thing" as wildly acting without care, morality or reflection, this is definitely not what following one's Tao means.
Nor is it seen that way in Buddhism. You define Buddhism as a form of atheism, as many do. I understand this to an overstatement of what the sages of Buddhism seek to convey, including Shakyamuni.
For they essentially agree with Taoism in saying we are finally unable to declare that there is a Self, nor that there is not a Self.
This, to me, is the meaning of Sunyata, or voidness - not that there is absolutely nothing whatsoever, but that the nature and form of whatever Self or entity may or may not be, it cannot be defined or set apart from everything else. Or stated more positively in the words of the Heart Sutra, "Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form".
That which is "our own thing" in its truest sense is our Buddha nature, or in Taoism, our Way, a term often also used in Zen Buddhism, which found great affinity with the ancient understandings of Chinese Taoism.
This is because they understand any and every entity, transcendent or earthly, mental or physical, any entity whatsoever, does not exist unto itself entirely, that God/Tao/Buddha Nature/Shiva/Allah/Vishnu/Creative Principle are ultimately all labels of the all interdependent mystery all of us seek to relate to and understand, (or deny certain understandings in their own journey of knowing and finding).
Even In Hinduism, when the nature of this Self is portrayed, it is portrayed in a myriad of ways and there is deep debate amongst the various schools as to how to understand the Self that is constantly referred to.
For instance, Brahman is commonly referred to as the Ultimate in Hindu traditional understandings. But when the nature of Brahman this "Self" of all, is studied closley and sought to be explained by Hindu sages actually start sounding like Buddhists and Taoists. I have read fine articles from both sides stating this.
This to me is an indication that too much talk of Self/not Self is in the end supremely dualistic. We humans and our cognition and knowledge paths can't talk or understand anything without language and is essential differentiations.
But The Source of All is "itself" everything, with nought outside of it. It is non-dual and a mystery, a mystery in which to live life to the fullest in some form or other to be related to in some way, even in an apparent atheistic way.
Many an atheist loves beauty, literature and art and music,the wonders of nature, mathematics and science, enjoy and respond in creative and supportive ways to others and the world in "doing their own thing".
When they are acting in response to the best within them, whether they see it or not, they are, in my eyes, following their Tao, bringing honour to Vishnu or Shiva or Buddha , God, Allah, or the Beloved.
They bring honour unknowing to the highest mystery that can be seen as a Self, or "That", or the living Mysterious Way that unfolds and confronts and teaches as you "do your own thing".
You are following your Tao right now. There is no final defined entity of authority whatsoever, save the "truth" that you see and actively follow right now. Hold, but do not hold tight, for it restricts the movement of "That" in one's life.
Sounds a bit scary, but in fact it is wonderfully liberating and enables the fulfilling of our potentials, which are the creative potentials of the Great.
This is how I see it at present.