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Author Topic: The way of Lao-tzu  (Read 1909 times)
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« on: December 21, 2014, 11:54:11 PM »

I have given much thought on spiritually in this journey of self awareness and knowledge. I keep getting drawn to Lao Tzu and Taoism. I'm at a loss of where to start with Taoism. Do members have experience with Taoism? Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2014, 12:30:18 AM »

"Lemme ask you this, hotshot. Which religion is the truest?" They're all about the same.  Buddha wasn't a Christian but Jesus would have made a good Buddhist.- Ray Wylie Hubbard.
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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2014, 02:16:34 AM »

I would start with the Tao te Ching.

Also Carl jungs entire model of the psyche is pretty much the yin yang.  Combined with esoteric mysteries of the west and psychoanalysis.
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2014, 08:19:39 AM »

I have given much thought on spiritually in this journey of self awareness and knowledge. I keep getting drawn to Lao Tzu and Taoism. I'm at a loss of where to start with Taoism. Do members have experience with Taoism? Thanks.

I read Lao Tzu quotes too, along with Buddha and Rumi.  Their quotes keep me balanced when things are out of whack.

"You were born with wings, why crawl through life?" is a Rumi quote.
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2014, 08:32:26 AM »

As a teen, I read a great deal about Taoism.  It is interesting, and I think it is more about losing oneself in action. 

I don't know if you have ever played sports, but there are times that you "hit the groove" so to speak.  Where one practically loses his self-consciousness and the performance just comes out.  It's like being in the "zone."

As far as religion goes, Christianity is probably the best road.  I just started rereading "Wild At Heart" by John Eldredge.  It presents a perspective of Christ and Christianity that has been watered down over the years.  I highly recommend it. 

Taoism is a very good concept for physical activity.
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2014, 11:05:22 PM »

Hi Mutt, this is a good book that has some wonderful and insightful interpretation of the 81 verses of the Tao te Ching by Wayne Dyer.

www.amazon.com/Change-Your-Thoughts-Living-Wisdom/dp/140191750X

I have it on my nightstand and love to just read a verse and some of Wayne's words before going to bed.
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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2014, 12:42:49 AM »

Buddhism; The twelve links of cyclic existence. There is no beginning or end. This is an eternal process. Everything is founded upon ignorance. We base our desire and hatred on ignorance of the true nature of reality. There are two types of ignorance. Active misapprehension of our self, and other people, as well objects. A more subtle ignorance underlies active ignorance that causes all of the trouble. Because of the depth and subtlety of ignorance that comes from ignorance, we find ourselves faced with a seemingly unsolvable problem. Since cyclic existence has no beginning or end, it is useful to learn these links in order from ignorance to aging and death, as well as from aging and death to ignorance.

Ignorance is the weak foundation of suffering. Ignorance can be destroyed with knowledge.

Ignorance is the first link in true suffering. Here are the twelve links.

1. Ignorance

2. Action

3. Consciousness

4. Mind and body

5. The spheres of sense.

6. Contact

7. Feeling

8. Attachment

9. Grasping (a stronger form of attachment)

10. Existence

11. Birth

12. Aging and death

This is to be understood in our daily lives and any other life that comes after or before.

Everything that we experience come to us through our minds.

Having a sharp mind can ease us through our lives so we don't have to suffer.

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« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2014, 06:43:16 AM »

The 14th Dalai Lama wrote a book in 2002 called "An Open Heart".  It's not really about religion per se but about living well.  Lots of people, and mostly men, highly recommend this one.  It's about accepting "kindness" as your religion, and living true to it everyday... .anyway, you'd have to read it.  It's good.

I find my peace in knowing that I have a God I love and trust, who is highly active in my life.  He has come to me through learning about Jesus, but I attend to no religion.  I believe Jesus had a profound enlightened life, one that I strive to achieve.

And I believe we are all here to make each others lives somehow better through gratitude and grace.

I guess I'm a Christian, except I don't judge anyone for being anything different.  I accept that we all come to a spiritual peace in our own ways.  Mine is no better than yours, nor is yours better than mine.  That's where me and my religious faith options differ. 

, c.
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2014, 11:37:14 AM »

Personally, I've found a lot of wisdom and peace through reading the works of Gandhi. 

"Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.”  - Albert Einstein
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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2014, 06:07:11 PM »

I'm a huge fan of Lao tzu.  The Tao te Ching is a masterpiece.  It examines what every religion is describing in allegorical myth in the form of paradoxical parables.
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« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2014, 07:24:37 PM »

Hi Mutt,

Like many here, I agree that the Tao te Ching is a great place to start. Very accessible, but I've found that for me it somehow manages to "adjust its dosage" depending on the severity of my struggle -- which I think is amazing! (Like, the first time I read it, I was much younger, and in a kind of carefree period in my life -- I liked it, and I "felt" the message, but I recall my general takeaway wasn't much more than feeling like it was mostly a collection of common sense. Years later, as I was going through a divorce, I reread it and it was like ho-leee shee-ite! -- this is IT.)

I strongly recommend picking up a copy of Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, by Chögyam Trungpa, who founded Naropa University back in the day -- pretty much the guy who brought Eastern spiritualism to the West from Tibet. (Another great jumping off point is the film Crazy Wisdom, about his life.)

If you get a good vibe from this stuff, I encourage you to drop in to a Shambhala center in your area and see what you think. Maybe look into mindfulness training, and meditation, if you're not already engaged in that stuff. Helps me a TON in my life. Best wishes.

Ev.
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« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2014, 08:10:25 PM »

Hi Mutt,

Like many here, I agree that the Tao te Ching is a great place to start. Very accessible, but I've found that for me it somehow manages to "adjust its dosage" depending on the severity of my struggle -- which I think is amazing! (Like, the first time I read it, I was much younger, and in a kind of carefree period in my life -- I liked it, and I "felt" the message, but I recall my general takeaway wasn't much more than feeling like it was mostly a collection of common sense. Years later, as I was going through a divorce, I reread it and it was like ho-leee shee-ite! -- this is IT.)

I strongly recommend picking up a copy of Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, by Chögyam Trungpa, who founded Naropa University back in the day -- pretty much the guy who brought Eastern spiritualism to the West from Tibet. (Another great jumping off point is the film Crazy Wisdom, about his life.)

If you get a good vibe from this stuff, I encourage you to drop in to a Shambhala center in your area and see what you think. Maybe look into mindfulness training, and meditation, if you're not already engaged in that stuff. Helps me a TON in my life. Best wishes.

Ev.

Yeah if someone was thinking about embarking on a spiritual quest I would hand them the four agreements but if they decided they were really interested I would hand them the Tao te Ching.  It is really all in that book. I had trouble understanding some of it especially the political stuff.  I recomend reading Carl jungs 7 sermons of the dead.  Especially his writing about abraxas. Then reading his book about archetypes and the collective unconcious. Then reading radins book about the Native American trickster figure in their religion. Then the bagavat Gita. Then reading the Tao te Ching again.  The the gnostic writings about Sophia then all of melanie kleins papers and reading about Carl jungs anima figure again then reading Rumis poetry. Then the Tao te Ching again.  

The Daniel Quins book Ishmael. Then black elk speaks. Then the book the songlines. Then read melanie Klein again. Then rumi again. Then any world religion that ever existed you are interested in. Then in the end reread the Tao te Ching and you will see it was always all there.

But the books I chose and the order they are in will make sense.
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2015, 11:43:11 AM »

Good stuff!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Then again, maybe we're just abstracting everything to shield ourselves from our own emotions. 

Umm... .duh?

I know nothing. There's also retail therapy. Buy a (O||||||O) maybe?

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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2015, 08:03:17 PM »

Good stuff!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Then again, maybe we're just abstracting everything to shield ourselves from our own emotions. 

Umm... .duh?

I know nothing. There's also retail therapy. Buy a (O||||||O) maybe?

That is my biggest concern about Eastern Religions.  I have suspicions that they are just a distraction from ourselves.
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« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2015, 08:54:35 AM »

That is my biggest concern about Eastern Religions.  I have suspicions that they are just a distraction from ourselves.

And that's a question to meditate on.
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« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2015, 08:32:57 PM »

Good stuff!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Then again, maybe we're just abstracting everything to shield ourselves from our own emotions. 

Umm... .duh?

I know nothing. There's also retail therapy. Buy a (O||||||O) maybe?

That is my biggest concern about Eastern Religions.  I have suspicions that they are just a distraction from ourselves.

That's all religions in my opinion.  Religions tend to have an exoteric and esoteric component to them.  The Tao te Ching is not a religions it is basically a bunch of riddles about the inneffible.

But yeah if you watch the documentary series by Adam Curtis the century of self he shows how things like eastern religions and the new age movement were commoditized to regain control of the segments of society that challenged the status quo.  A couple other documentaries to further make this clear are "the merchants of cool." A pbs documentary and the documentary series "how art made the world."
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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2015, 09:45:47 AM »

Good stuff!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Then again, maybe we're just abstracting everything to shield ourselves from our own emotions. 

Umm... .duh?

I know nothing. There's also retail therapy. Buy a (O||||||O) maybe?

That is my biggest concern about Eastern Religions.  I have suspicions that they are just a distraction from ourselves.

That's all religions in my opinion.  Religions tend to have an exoteric and esoteric component to them.  The Tao te Ching is not a religions it is basically a bunch of riddles about the inneffible.

But yeah if you watch the documentary series by Adam Curtis the century of self he shows how things like eastern religions and the new age movement were commoditized to regain control of the segments of society that challenged the status quo.  A couple other documentaries to further make this clear are "the merchants of cool." A pbs documentary and the documentary series "how art made the world."

Thanks, BB.  I will check those out.
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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2015, 12:42:42 PM »

I'm very draw to Lao Tzu and Taoism. I spent sometime to read the entire original Dao Te Ching (only 5000 characters) and find it fascinating relevant to our modern life. When people refer to Taoism, it often means all the  religion, mysticism, quest for elixir stuff that people pile on top of it. These are all horses** to me. I see Lao Tzu as a philosopher much like how I see Socrates and Plato. Some 2000 years ago, he wrote his view on life and nature that I find very insightful, more, and not less so when I infuse with the modern scientific understanding of the world. He also wrote thing I find misguided, which is expected from any ancient writing. So to me he is a great philosopher, not a saint.

If you are interested in the original text, here is one great annotated material online. It goes character by character

www.tao-te-king.org/

Much of what he said is paradoxical and counterintuitive to what people do. Lao Tzu's through remain radical even by today's standard. He is really against people striving for goals, trying to shape things and mold things to what human desired. He portrait these as futile actions that cause more harm than good. That things is best left to their natural state.

I actually find this do-nothingism a rather useful in a lot of ways, including in the context of relationship and parenting here. Modern parent are rather involved in coaching their children, trying to shovel them all kind of activities and information. This sometimes causes stress and friction. But also is this always effective? Some people also reflect if this could be futile or cause more harm than good?

How about we just do nothing? This might go against any involving parent's instinct. But how about we just sit back and observe? When you stop fixate on the training target and take a detail observations, you will be amazed on how much learning a child is doing on his own. Do nothing is not just do nothing. It is to acknowledge the nature is often the best and what we do is raw and blunt in comparison.

Take language acquisition as an example. My wife like to correct our 3 years old's language mistake, explaining grammar to him and why he should use a different word. I really want to stop her from these unnecessary interventions. No children ever learn speaking because teachers teach them rules in the classroom. Then learn by speaking with adults and peers. Ever baby progress from babbling to simple words to childish sentences to comprehensible and practical language when they reach a few years old. It is not a result of any formal schooling, they all just do it. This sort of progress is nothing short of magical. We are still nowhere close to teach a computer to learn the same thing baby learned on their own. So we should have humility in our effort and allow the nature to blossom, which often do the most amazing work.

That's my interpretation on the idea of do nothing. Maybe next time I can expound on the idea of non-competition and yielding inspired by Taoism.

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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2015, 01:38:12 PM »

I had a hard time accessing the link half-life shared, so I found this one.

www.sacred-texts.com/tao/taote.htm

It's one person's interpretation, I think, but I thought it was a good one.  And I got it through wikipedia, so it must be somewhat widely accepted.

I like to read original texts and make my own interpretations.  I do it with the Bible, too.

Thanks for the interesting information, and good luck on your search, Mutt.

c.
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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2015, 01:44:11 PM »

I had a hard time accessing the link half-life shared, so I found this one.

www.sacred-texts.com/tao/taote.htm

It's one person's interpretation, I think, but I thought it was a good one.  And I got it through wikipedia, so it must be somewhat widely accepted.

I like to read original texts and make my own interpretations.  I do it with the Bible, too.

Thanks for the interesting information, and good luck on your search, Mutt.

c.

Well to read the original text one would have to know Chinese.  For the new testement Ancient Greek and Coptic egyption.
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« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2015, 01:46:06 PM »

Yeah, that should have read, "one person's translation" not interpretation.

tx, blim,

c.
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« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2015, 01:49:23 PM »

Yeah, that should have read, "translation" not interpretation.

tx, blim,

c.

I have seen some of passages of the new testement with "corrections" to the translations of some words from Greek and it was pretty interesting.  So how do you go about making the translations? 
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« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2015, 02:35:26 PM »



I use a Strong's Concordance.  I look up what the Greek, or Hebrew words are in the verse I'm looking at, then examine the multiple options of English translations for those words, and see what else makes sense.  It take a lot of time, but I find it can be quite helpful in understanding what the true meaning of the verse may actually be.

c.

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« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2015, 04:08:26 PM »

Well to read the original text one would have to know Chinese.  For the new testement Ancient Greek and Coptic egyption.



Ancient Chinese indeed.  So the website i linked has English/German translation or interpretation. This might be overkill for most people.  So just read up on other peoples commentary.  Don't worry about the original unless you become really interested.   
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« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2015, 05:40:14 PM »

I've read a couple different versions of Tao Te Ching. I really enjoy the Stephen Mitchell version. I got a copy of it from abebooks.com for just a couple dollars. Here's a link to Stephen Mitchell on Wikipedia.org. I recommend his version. It's easy to understand, because he translates to get at the meaning. He doesn't translate with an emphasis on being exact word for word, but rather what the text is 'getting-at'. Some of the direct translations are vague, because they are so literal.

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Mitchell_(translator)#Books
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« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2015, 06:14:42 PM »

Just finished Tao te Ching. Heavy stuff. Now I'm craving some opium. Laugh. I'm making a joke.

Interesting that it is ancient and refers to ancient knowledge that was already ancient at the time it was written.
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« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2015, 07:57:21 PM »

There's the Truth, and then there's man's interpretation of the Truth, fine to a point, especially when we're searching, maybe lost, looking for direction, why not look to standard-human that has been around for millennia, time-tested and condensed to its essence.  And of course at some point human nature shows up, folks with agendas and slants, easy for the Truth to get lost in that.  At which point I find it more empowering to look inside instead of outwardly, the Truth is there too, as well as immersing myself in nature, where most of my ancestors spent all of their time, it couldn't be more of a home.

Excerpt
How about we just do nothing? This might go against any involving parent's instinct. But how about we just sit back and observe? When you stop fixate on the training target and take a detail observations, you will be amazed on how much learning a child is doing on his own. Do nothing is not just do nothing. It is to acknowledge the nature is often the best and what we do is raw and blunt in comparison.

Nice take, with an evolutionary basis.  There's a lot of evidence that paleolithic and mesolithic man, us from two and a half million years ago to a few thousand ago, spent a whole lot of time sitting around doing nothing, when they weren't evading predators, food and water were plentiful in the right spots and there were no smartphones to fill up heads with distraction, so the kids who resulted from plenty of downtime sex figured the world out by playing, with protection when needed by parents kicking back watching.  So lying around procreating and watching the results learn by playing is in our DNA; fighting it is just busy work.
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« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2015, 08:31:57 PM »

I use a Strong's Concordance.  I look up what the Greek, or Hebrew words are in the verse I'm looking at, then examine the multiple options of English translations for those words, and see what else makes sense.  It take a lot of time, but I find it can be quite helpful in understanding what the true meaning of the verse may actually be.

c.

I think that's really cool
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« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2015, 08:45:46 PM »

There's the Truth, and then there's man's interpretation of the Truth, fine to a point, especially when we're searching, maybe lost, looking for direction, why not look to standard-human that has been around for millennia, time-tested and condensed to its essence.  And of course at some point human nature shows up, folks with agendas and slants, easy for the Truth to get lost in that.  At which point I find it more empowering to look inside instead of outwardly, the Truth is there too, as well as immersing myself in nature, where most of my ancestors spent all of their time, it couldn't be more of a home.

How about we just do nothing? This might go against any involving parent's instinct. But how about we just sit back and observe? When you stop fixate on the training target and take a detail observations, you will be amazed on how much learning a child is doing on his own. Do nothing is not just do nothing. It is to acknowledge the nature is often the best and what we do is raw and blunt in comparison.

Nice take, with an evolutionary basis.  There's a lot of evidence that paleolithic and mesolithic man, us from two and a half million years ago to a few thousand ago, spent a whole lot of time sitting around doing nothing, when they weren't evading predators, food and water were plentiful in the right spots and there were no smartphones to fill up heads with distraction, so the kids who resulted from plenty of downtime sex figured the world out by playing, with protection when needed by parents kicking back watching.  So lying around procreating and watching the results learn by playing is in our DNA; fighting it is just busy work.

Yeah I feel that.  There's something about the paradoxical nature the Tao te Ching that makes insight meditation really go deep though. I spent about 9 months in isolation without electricity in the woods with a stack of religious books and a couple ecology books and the songlines.  The book that really impacted my meditation the most was without doubt the Tao te ching.  The Buddhist stuff was interesting too. Some of the contemporary Christian stuff paralleled some of the Buddhist stuff about compassion and kindness but that felt more like rules than something to really take you to the depths of the soul in meditation.
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« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2015, 08:51:41 PM »

Excerpt
Some of the contemporary Christian stuff paralleled some of the Buddhist stuff about compassion and kindness but that felt more like rules than something to really take you to the depths of the soul in meditation.

Yep, that's the human nature showing up, the rules, a desire to control.  So Blim, what are the biggest understandings about yourself, life and the world that came out of your meditation and soul searching?
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