Your Tao for the Te:

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Your Tao for the Te:

Post by TaoJewGirl on Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:27 pm

I'll be posting the Tao daily in here, as well as blurbs and whatever seems appropriate to it. I'm not
a 'guru' in any sense of the word, but I do know a bit about it, and I'm always willing to learn more.
My favorite translation is the one by S. Mitchell (he translates other texts as well) and that's the one
I'll be using.

Tao Te Ching 1

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

There are other passages which go into more detail, of course, but this for me is the
essence of the Tao in a nutshell.

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Re: Your Tao for the Te:

Post by gangajal on Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:26 pm

Wonderful!

The verses give a good summary of both Buddhistic and Hindu thought. The question I have is whether Taoism was influenced by Buddhism or came to this independently.

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Re: Your Tao for the Te:

Post by TaoJewGirl on Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:02 pm

Boy, that's sort of a yin-yang thing in and of itself. Razz They influence
each other greatly. There are over 400 million Taoists in China alone
as well as a greater number of Buddhists, but also a large number
fit into 'all of the above' categories.

Buddhism started about 500 BCE as a codified form, and Taoism
started much later, around 100 BCE, although the Tao Te Ching
was said to be written around the 6th century.

One of the differences between Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism
is the rigidity of the first two. Taoism is much more fluid (hence it's
martial art form, Tai Chi) and the difference is sometimes expressed
by the phrase (about Confucius) "If the mat does not fit, the Master
will not sit". Taoism was heavily into enlightenment but not just of
the soul and mind but the body as well, and the ancestor worship
and heavily ornate court rituals did not sit well with the Taoists and
with Lao Tzu, the author of the Tao Te Ching.

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Re: Your Tao for the Te:

Post by gangajal on Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:04 pm

Yes, it is probably impossible now to disentagle the threads of Taoism and Buddhism.

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Re: Your Tao for the Te:

Post by TaoJewGirl on Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:35 pm

The best way to describe the difference, besides just the word, "outlook" is in the story of the Vinegar Tasters.

From one of my favorite books of all time:

Vinegar
Tasters

An excerpt from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
"You see, Pooh," I said, "a lot of people don't seem to know what Taoism
is..."
"Yes?" said Pooh, blinking his eyes."
So that's what this chapter is for - to explain things a bit."


"Oh, I see," said Pooh.
"And the easiest way to do that would be for us to go to China for a moment."
"What?" said Pooh, his eyes wide open in amazement. "Right now?'
"Of course. All we need to do is, lean back, relax, and there we are."
"Oh, I see," said Pooh.
Let's imagine that we have walked down a narrow street in a large Chinese city and have
found a small shop that sells scrolls painted in the classic manner. We go inside and ask
to be shown something allegorical - something humorous, perhaps, but with some sort of
Timeless Meaning. The shopkeeper smiles. "I have just the thing,", he tells us.
"A copy of The Vinegar Tasters!" He leads us to a large table and unrolls
the scroll, placing it down for us to examine. "Excuse me - I must attend to
something for a moment," he says, and goes into the back of the shop, leaving us
alone with the painting.
Although we can see that this is a fairly recent version, we know that the original was
painted long ago; just when is uncertain. But by now, the theme of the painting is well
known.
We see three men standing around a vat of vinegar. Each has dipped his finger into the
vinegar and has tasted it. The expression on each man's face shows his individual
reaction. Since the painting is allegorical, we are to understand that these are no
ordinary vinegar tasters, but are instead representatives of the "Three
Teachings" of China, and that the vinegar they are sampling represents the Essence of
Life. The three masters are K'ung Fu-tse (Confucius), Buddha, and Lao-tse, author of the
oldest existing book of Taoism. The first has a sour look on his face, the second wears a
bitter expression, but the third man is smiling.
To Kung Fu-tse (kung FOOdsuh), life seemed rather sour. He believed that the present
was out step with the past, and that the government of man on earth was out of harmony
with the Way of Heaven, the government of, the universe. Therefore, he emphasized
reverence for the Ancestors, as well as for the ancient rituals and ceremonies in which
the emperor, as the Son of Heaven, acted as intermediary between limitless heaven and
limited earth. Under Confucianism, the use of precisely measured court music, prescribed
steps, actions, and phrases all added up to an extremely complex system of rituals, each
used for a particular purpose at a particular time. A saying was recorded about K'ung
Fu-tse: "If the mat was not straight, the Master would not sit." This ought to
give an indication of the extent to which things were carried out under Confucianism.
To Buddha, the second figure in the painting, life on earth was bitter, filled with
attachments and desires that led to suffering. The world was seen as a setter of traps, a
generator of illusions, a revolving wheel of pain for all creatures. In order to find
peace, the Buddhist considered it necessary to transcend "the world of dust" and
reach Nirvana, literally a state of "no wind." Although the essentially
optimistic attitude of the Chinese altered Buddhism considerably after it was brought in
from its native India, the devout Buddhist often saw the way to Nirvana interrupted all
the same by the bitter wind of everyday existence.
To Lao-tse (LAOdsuh), the harmony that naturally existed between heaven and earth from
the very beginning could be found by anyone at any time, but not by following the rules of
the Confucianists. As he stated in his Tao To Ching (DAO DEH JEENG), the "Tao
Virtue Book," earth was in essence a reflection of heaven, run by the same laws - not
by the laws of men. These laws affected not only the spinning of distant planets, but the
activities of the birds in the forest and the fish in the sea. According to Lao-tse, the
more man interfered with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws,
the further away the harmony retreated into the distance. The more forcing, the more
trouble. Whether heavy or fight, wet or dry, fast or slow, everything had its own nature
already within it, which could not be violated without causing difficulties. When abstract
and arbitrary rules were imposed from the outside, struggle was inevitable. Only then did
life become sour.
To Lao-tse, the world was not a setter of traps but a teacher of valuable lessons. Its
lessons needed to be learned, just as its laws needed to be followed; then all would go
well. Rather than turn away from "the world of dust," Lao-tse advised others to
"join the dust of the world." What he saw operating behind everything in heaven
and earth he called Tao (DAO), "the Way."
A basic principle of Lao-tse's teaching was that this Way of the Universe could not be
adequately described in words, and that it would be insulting both to its unlimited power
and to the intelligent human mind to attempt to do so. Still, its nature could be
understood, and those who cared the most about it, and the life from which it was
inseparable, understood it best.
Over the centuries Lao-tse's classic teachings were developed and divided into
philosophical, monastic, and folk religious forms. All of these could be included under
the general heading of Taoism. But the basic Taoism that we are concerned with here is
simply a particular way of appreciating, learning from, and working with whatever happens
in everyday life. From the Taoist point of view, the natural result of this harmonious way
of living is happiness. You might say that happy serenity is the most noticeable
characteristic of the Taoist personality, and a subtle sense of humor is apparent even in
the most profound Taoist writings, such as the twenty-five-hundred-year-old Tao Te
Ching
. In the writings of Taoism's second major writer, Chuang-tse (JUANGdsuh), quiet
laughter seems to bubble up like water from a fountain.
"But what does that have to do with vinegar?' asked Pooh.
"I thought I had explained that," I said.
"I don't think so," said Pooh.
"Well, then, I'll explain it now."
"That's good." said Pooh.
In the painting, why is Lao-tse smiling? After all, that vinegar that represents life
must certainly have an unpleasant taste, as the expressions on the faces of the other two
men indicate. But, through working in harmony with life's circumstances, Taoist
understanding changes what others may perceive as negative into something positive. From
the Taoist point of view, sourness and bitterness come from the interfering and
unappreciative mind. Life itself, when understood and utilized for what it is, is sweet.
That is the message of The Vinegar Tasters.
"Sweet? You mean like honey?" asked Pooh.
"Well, maybe not that sweet," I said. "That would be overdoing it
a bit."
"Are we still supposed to be in China?" Pooh asked cautiously.
"No, we're through explaining and now we're back at the writing table."
"Oh."
"Well, we're just in time for something to eat," he added, wandering over to
the kitchen cupboard.

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Re: Your Tao for the Te:

Post by Chokmah on Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:12 am

I like to consider myself a Christian Daoist and I have tried to incorporate philosophical Daoism into my life as much as possible.
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Re: Your Tao for the Te:

Post by Sakhaiva on Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:01 pm

Having read your posts for a few years Chokmah.... I've always sorta seen you as a Taoist Christian Smile Great to see you here!!!!
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Re: Your Tao for the Te:

Post by Chokmah on Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:50 pm

Sakhaiva wrote:Having read your posts for a few years Chokmah.... I've always sorta seen you as a Taoist Christian Smile Great to see you here!!!!



Thank you Sakhaiva. I am still learning and it is a big multi-verse.



jocolor
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