1. Melbourne, Australia
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    07 Sep '11 11:20
    Taoism is one of the three great paths of China, with Confucianism and Buddhism, that arose in India.
    "Tao" or "Dao" includes a principle meaning of "way" or "path". It can also refer to walking that way, or "way-ing". It is intentionally vague, as is Taoism when it comes to defining what this "way" is, for the sages of Taoism arising in a very practical and less "heady" China were wary of verbal defining and simply referred to it as the "Great", the Mystery of Mysteries, or simply, the Way. Lao Tzu was the principal early sage who is connected to the major Taoist writing, the "Tao Te Ching". Chuang Tzu is another. There is some literary discourse on who or what group was "Lao Tsu". Legends litter ancient Chinese history.

    Buddhism and Taoism found they had many understandings in common, underneath the different cultural expressions and behaved as "friends" towards each other. Some see Buddhism greatly influenced by Taoism in the arising of Zen Buddhism. The is much Taoist flavour in Zen.

    It is believed that Taoism arose from an ancient shamanic tradition in China, continually refining itself. There is popular folk form of Taoism with a tradition of gods, immortals demons etc to which practices of Feng Shui attach. Taoism has an alchemical stream also and many of its writings use alchemical symbolism to hide and explain its mysteries, some quite evocative.

    It is the philosophical expression of Taoism that is usually being referred to in philosophocal discussions (funny, that), and it is good to be clear about the different aspects of Taoism seen in China's long history, ranging from frank superstition to highly refined philosophy.

    The most well known symbol of Taoism is the Tai Chi, with its Yang and Yin intertwining in a circle, often surrounded by trigrams with symbolic meanings from the ancient Chinese book of Change, the Yi Jing or I Ching. These different spellings arise from two different systems of pronouncing Chinese characters. Dao Jing and Yi Jing are from the more modern way of pronouncing.

    In the Tao Chi, you will usually see a black dot in the opposite white or red part and vice versa. Taoism is not dualistic, despite the emphasis on Yin and Yang that represent all dualistic opposites. It is within the one circle. The smaller dots remind that from within any Yang there is arising also some Yin as the movements of life occur. And vice versa. The Yin and Yang are the ever changing flow of the Tao, present in all, sometimes active sometimes quiescent, sometimes full of light sometimes dark, but always maintaining balance and flow within itself.

    To work against the Way, the Great, brings inevitable misfortune, which is itself not outside the Tao but is another way the Tao does its Way-ing abd bringing back to harmony.
    Taoism is close to nature and uses much of natural process to illustrate the movement of the Tao and how to respond effectively and in a harmonious way to it, and with it.

    I will post later some of the major themes found in Taoist philosophy.
  2. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    07 Sep '11 12:34
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Taoism is close to nature and uses much of natural process to illustrate the movement of the Tao and how to respond effectively and in a harmonious way to it, and with it.

    I will post later some of the major themes found in Taoist philosophy.
    How does this "closeness" to nature manifest itself in practice? Are Taoists more ecologically sound than their contemporaries? Have they generally practiced a more sustainable and less extractive relationship with nature?
  3. Joined
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    08 Sep '11 02:53
    very informative. i have recently begun reacquainting myself with the dao. you may be able to tell, (from my screen name in fact!) that i have drawn some things from the dao.
  4. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    08 Sep '11 04:091 edit
    ...and the Ying is always equal to the Yang, hence the first law of thermodynamics.

    Hence my thread about the "Dark Side"
  5. Melbourne, Australia
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    08 Sep '11 14:02
    Originally posted by rwingett
    How does this "closeness" to nature manifest itself in practice? Are Taoists more ecologically sound than their contemporaries? Have they generally practiced a more sustainable and less extractive relationship with nature?
    Taoists have a philosophical stance referred to as wu wei, a difficult concept that, in my words, means to act so subtly it appears as non-action.
    Taoists tend to allow nature to take its own course and refrain from intrusive action upon it, while pursueing harmony by mankind following nature's lead as it were. In my opinion they would probably be the most ecologically mindful in China, large sections of which appear, unfortunately, ecologically insensitive - although there are signs of change as they now encounter the problems of ignoring nature.
    Excessive population has a lot to do with it too I expect.
    I am not acquainted with Taoist actions in situ, I am surmising from their philosophy.
  6. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    08 Sep '11 14:10
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Taoists have a philosophical stance referred to as wu wei, a difficult concept that, in my words, means to act so subtly it appears as non-action.
    Taoists tend to allow nature to take its own course and refrain from intrusive action upon it, while pursueing harmony by mankind following nature's lead as it were. In my opinion they would probably be the most ...[text shortened]... expect.
    I am not acquainted with Taoist actions in situ, I am surmising from their philosophy.
    Sounds like "applying the femine principle of action".(Does this sound right?)

    Ie. waitng to act (or react) in accordance with the situation rather than going out and acting (masculine principle)

    I have been applying the feminine principle a lot lately in my life.
    I believe it to be a fruitful way of acting ,(the femine way,that is), but for some it can be a very difficult discipline-especially if you have already established a masculine way of acting within a family environment,(as a major example).
  7. Melbourne, Australia
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    08 Sep '11 14:17
    Originally posted by VoidSpirit
    very informative. i have recently begun reacquainting myself with the dao. you may be able to tell, (from my screen name in fact!) that i have drawn some things from the dao.
    Yes, the concept of the Void (Wu Chi) aligns with the Buddhiist concept of Emptiness. You may be aware that this Void or Emptiness is not just nothing at all, but the source of all the potentials of existence and a highly meditated and reasoned understanding of the Source.

    As I have stated before elsewhere, I tend not make myself an "..ist" of anything (which is good Taoism 🙂 ). My label has more to do with ways - appreciating the different way-ings man follows.
    From Buddhism I find fine and solid intellectual explanation, from Taoism I find an earthy wisdom and a metaphysical abstract symbolism that to me is helpful.
    I also find strong resonating echoes in Hinduism, Quantum physics, Plotinus, Sufis, Native traditions...etc.

    Enjoy your re-acquainting.
  8. Melbourne, Australia
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    08 Sep '11 14:321 edit
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    Sounds like "applying the femine principle of action".(Does this sound right?)

    Ie. waitng to act (or react) in accordance with the situation rather than going out and acting (masculine principle)

    I have been applying the feminine principle a lot lately in my life.
    I believe it to be a fruitful way of acting ,(the femine way,that is), but for som ...[text shortened]... lready established a masculine way of acting within a family environment,(as a major example).
    Yes, Karoly, the Feminine principle is big in Taoism. The "Dark Feminine" is spoken of in reference to the Yin and some in Taoism see that as almost prior to the Bright active Yang. The Receptive and supportive passive balances the Active creative principle. These are the first two themes of the Yi Jing. It is important to not align the two too rigidly with physical gender, they are symbolic. A female can be creative and a male supportive etc as we know,(or should).
    Its this sensitivity to polar opposites and their role that I find very attractive in Daoism.
    There is a lot of wisdom also in the opposite dot within each side of the Tai Chi symbol. There is always an opposite aspect "hidden" or arisng when the opposite has reached its fullest extension or movement. For instance a person being quiet in a situation (Yin) may in fact be iniating or making the necessary allowance for creativity (Yang) to arise.
    A person acting strongly to protect (Yang) is in a sense bringing about the quietening or stopping of something (Yin) that is needed in a situation. The idea of achieving a fruitful and fortunate balance is strong in Daoist thinking.
  9. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    08 Sep '11 14:421 edit
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Yes, Karoly, the Feminine principle is big in Taoism. The "Dark Feminine" is spoken of in reference to the Yin and some in Taoism see that as almost prior to the Bright active Yang. The Receptive and supportive passive balances the Active creative principle. These are the first two themes of the Yi Jing. It is important to not align the two too rigidly with uation. The idea of achieving a fruitful and fortunate balance is strong in Daoist thinking.
    Well put.
    Yes, that's pretty much the gist of what I was getting at.

    So do you agree, that despite the sexes getting more equal in the modern world, that males should retain their "maleness" ,(and females their feminity), or should the sexes become more androgynous,(as some think)? (I think the former)
  10. Melbourne, Australia
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    08 Sep '11 14:54
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    Well put.
    Yes, that's pretty much the gist of what I was getting at.

    So do you agree, that despite the sexes getting more equal in the modern world, that males should retain their "maleness" ,(and females their feminity), or should the sexes become more androgynous,(as some think)? (I think the former)
    What is your own "original face" asks Buddhism. And Taoism asks what is your Tao, your way?
    I think Taoism would appreciate the total lack of any stereotyping. Allow people to be what they are. Equalness is also part of two opposites, against that of unequalness. According to the flow each will have its time and place. Taoists would say stop defining and categorising too much. Just be open to the 'Way' as it appears in the differences of people and situations of all sorts.
  11. Donationrwingett
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    08 Sep '11 15:02
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Taoists have a philosophical stance referred to as wu wei, a difficult concept that, in my words, means to act so subtly it appears as non-action.
    Taoists tend to allow nature to take its own course and refrain from intrusive action upon it, while pursueing harmony by mankind following nature's lead as it were. In my opinion they would probably be the most ...[text shortened]... expect.
    I am not acquainted with Taoist actions in situ, I am surmising from their philosophy.
    "Surmising from their philosophy"? "Not acquainted with Taoist actions in situ"? This apparent disconnect between theory and practice seems troubling. Either Taoist philosophy leads to a greater incidence of beneficial actions, or it does not. If the Chinese are Taoists, and if the Chinese are rapidly destroying their environment despite their Taoist philosophy, then it would seem that their Taoism is of little practical value. Of course that may simply be an example of western materialist culture overriding their Taoist values, but one would still expect to see a lesser incidence of environmental degradation than in western cultures themselves. In any case, to study any philosophy without regard to its practical effects seems...unwise.
  12. Melbourne, Australia
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    08 Sep '11 15:08
    Finding your "original face", and finding your own "way" is a much deeper thing than finding your personaility or traits, although that is included. In both paths by finding the nature of the Great, by seeing it more, we are able to see our own truer self more also. True personal integration comes with a deeper integration with the Void, the Great, the Source that is deep within our very selves. That is how I see it, anyweay.
  13. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    08 Sep '11 15:12
    Originally posted by Taoman
    What is your own "original face" asks Buddhism. And Taoism asks what is your Tao, your way?
    I think Taoism would appreciate the total lack of any stereotyping. Allow people to be what they are. Equalness is also part of two opposites, against that of unequalness. According to the flow each will have its time and place. Taoists would say stop defining and cat ...[text shortened]... be open to the 'Way' as it appears in the differences of people and situations of all sorts.
    Aye.

    I was just trying to keep the diolouge going here.
    'Tis another well thought out thread and I (and viodspirit) have been re-aquianted with some Daoist themes, which has pleased me and given me some satisfaction for my (little responded to) thread about the dark side. Thanks Taoman
  14. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    08 Sep '11 15:16
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Finding your "original face", and finding your own "way" is a much deeper thing than finding your personaility or traits, although that is included. In both paths by finding the nature of the Great, by seeing it more, we are able to see our own truer self more also. True personal integration comes with a deeper integration with the Void, the Great, the Source that is deep within our very selves. That is how I see it, anyweay.
    Thats right. But not everyone is ready to embrace the void, hence the smaller lessons of balance, (basic)identity (male/female) and understanding the whims of "The Great Magnet",(as Hunter s.Thompson put it).

    Amongst many others ...
  15. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    08 Sep '11 15:19
    Originally posted by rwingett
    "Surmising from their philosophy"? "Not acquainted with Taoist actions in situ"? This apparent disconnect between theory and practice seems troubling. Either Taoist philosophy leads to a greater incidence of beneficial actions, or it does not. If the Chinese are Taoists, and if the Chinese are rapidly destroying their environment despite their Taoist philos ...[text shortened]... In any case, to study any philosophy without regard to its practical effects seems...unwise.
    I think you have to separate national identity with religous identity.

    So you could have 99% of Chinese being Daoists, but that 1%,which is a hell of a lot of people, could still screw it* up for everyone else. You follow?



    *the enviroment,ethics,morals,etc.
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