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  • Taoists

    Little survey: How many people here are taoist / incorporate taoist philosophy into their beliefs? And how did you come to these beliefs? Do you treat it as a "religion", or more as a philosophy of life?
    "Be Cool" - Lao Tzu

  • #2

    Never worked out what people meant by this. What's the difference between a 'religion' and a 'philosophy of life'? That's exactly what a religion is!

    Sorry, I'm not Taoist...


    • #3
      lol lipster

      simple and natural is my method,
      true and sincere is my principle --Tse Sigung


      • #4

        well, I guess I consider a "religion" to be more of a sort of grand design, usually based on a particular person / god's teachings, usually involving membership of some kind of community, and which involves a prescriptive system of ethics along the lines of "you ought / ought not to do this". Religions normally have a set of scriptures involving stories attempting to explain the origins of the universe, accounts of mythological / historical happenings in pre-history, and so forth.

        Conversely, I would consider a "philosophy of life" to be a more simple, less "complete" affair, it could be something that you've read or maybe just a single phrase that somebody spoke to you once, that helps you to keep things in perspective, or helps you make sense of something in life every now and then. Of course, I'm not suggesting that your beliefs have to conform to one or other of these definitions, or even that they're mutually exclusive, just wondering how you would explain your interpretation of it to someone else, if you were asked.
        "Be Cool" - Lao Tzu


        • #5

          lipster is kind of right when he says "whats the difference" (philosophy on life - religion)

          but usually......philosophy is speculation..theorising..deep contemplations on reality

          religion(when practiced) is a set of beliefs/practices based on your personal effection towards a doctrine..or teaching or some idea ..diety...philosophy..etc

          but there is a difference and quite a big one..though really not very apparent sometimes..espicially in eastern religion and philosophy

          ESPCIALLY taoism..since the whole religion sprung from the philisophical teachings of lao tzu..chuang zu..lieh tzu etc etc

          these forefathers of taoism set the stage for what is to be the basic chinese religion system..

          chinese religions(chan, taoism) are highly philosophical, meditative etc to the initiated its no surprise why people feel chan is just something that broke off from taoism..but with a deeper look at the two its just not so =) but for the most part taoism has its own methods/teachings/history and chan has its own aswell

          the point im making is that philosophy and religion are different and can be confused espcially when talking about eastern religion/philosophy

          because they are so integral...

          as for taoist teachings ive always felt that ive had them with me..only when i began reading taoist classics did i realise they were taoist(lol) hope someone other then me gets that....

          anyway, i dont have any beleifs so the speak besides what i feel is right and im not exactly sure what that is..i dont practice any religion even though i am extremly passionate about buddhism, taoism and christianity(only because ive never gotten around to studying islam, hinduism etc)

          i do incorporate some of the moral and ethical guidlines laid out in works such as the tao te ching and i feel for the most part they are extremely good guides for living in happiness

          but i do favor chan(or buddhism ingeneral) over taoism, since its more direct..carefree(chan)..unrestricting and enjoyable

          as well as being laced ingenius methods of fooling the subconcious and the concious at the same time...but then theres always that moment of clarity which makes it so much more brilliant...seem to be ranting


          peace everybody
          "did you ask me to consider dick with you??" blooming tianshi lotus


          • #6
            thanks man, well put. I think we finally agree on something, lol

            as for taoist teachings ive always felt that ive had them with me..only when i began reading taoist classics did i realise they were taoist(lol) hope someone other then me gets that....
            lol yeah I know exactly what you mean... I kind of came up with my own philosophical ideas, which at first I thought was my own, sort of reinterpreted version of christianity (I grew up going to a church of england school), then I started reading up about taoism and thought "hmmm... this sounds familiar" So I found out this philosophy I had come up with was basically taoism in a nutshell.

            I don't really consider myself religious though, more philosophical I guess, so that's what taoism is for me- a pure philosophy. As much as admire the buddhist outlook and love the writings and teachings of the dalai lama, somehow I just can't really get into it myself- the more simplistic, minimalist approach of taoism just seems to fit better with me.
            "Be Cool" - Lao Tzu


            • #7
              But if you really dig into daoisms philosphy you qwill quickly realize that its more complicated than you first thought..


              has the best forum about daoism that i know of..

              // sunbird


              • #8
                Ah but once you have grasped all the complexities of the taoist thougyht process, you come to realise that really it's all very simple.

                Simplicity in complexity is what it's all about.
                "Be Cool" - Lao Tzu


                • #9
                  like wing chun - but sometimes thats complexity in simplicity

                  simple and natural is my method,
                  true and sincere is my principle --Tse Sigung


                  • #10
                    So I guess you could call me a Daoist if your pressed to label folks as such. I was converted (not that that was a difficult thing to do, I was raised Unitarian) by reading the Dao de Jing, the tao of pooh, and the chuang tzu.
                    As for the whole philosophy vs. religion thing, Chuang Tzu and the Dao de Jing both teach us that words are meaningless. There is distinction but no meaning in words. Call it whatever the hell you want to call it. Would a rose by any other name not smell so sweet?
                    If we called roses shit-blossoms would you still have to spring for an overpriced bouquet for your girlfriend on specific holidays and whenever you really pissed her off? Probably yes.

                    As for the whole simplicity/complexity thing, you all just seem to be beating around the bush of an old proverb. Here is the proverb in two forms, the zen form and the jeet kune do form (the jkd being written by bruce lee of course).

                    Before a person studies zen, mountains are just mountains and rivers are just rivers. After begining to study zen mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers. After mastering zen, mountains are once again mountains and rivers are once again rivers.

                    Before a man studies jeet kune do, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick. After learning jeet kune do, a punch is no longer a punch and a kick is no longer a kick. After mastering jeet kune do, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.

                    And just to wrap it all up, here's another story. A student comes running to his master one day and exclaims "Master, what is the buddha?" The master looks at the student oddly and after contemplation simply whispers "the buddha." The student the asks, "Master, what is the Dao?" Again the master pauses and whispers, "the Dao." Finally the student asks, "so Master, what is Zen?" The master looks deep into his student's eyes and whispers "Zen". The student walks off extremely confused, trying to figure out what his master was trying to tell him. The master walks off wondering when his student will ever understand that words do not exist.
                    Show me a man who has forgotten words, so that I can have a word with him.


                    • #11

                      I don't mean to be judgmental but while reading the above posts, I have to question some of the assertions and those making them. If one cannot readily distinguish between what constitutes a religion from that which makes a philosophy, how then can they state with such certainty what is and is not? For the record, so that everyone is on the same page, philosophy is a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs and is the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, and conduct. Religion is usually taken to be a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code for the conduct of human affairs.

                      Taoism as a religion cannot be dated any later than the Han dynasty but it is well known that many of it's characteristic practices such as ceremonies, prayers, and exercises, can be confidently dated much earlier. When Lao Tzu alledgedly wrote the Tao Te Ching, there was already an established body of knowledge that some have labeled "Philosophical Taoism". The classification of Taoism as a philosophy, rather than a religion, is due to a failing in older European and American scholarship on China. Initially, Westerners studied the theoretical and speculative books of Taoism, entirely neglecting its rituals, meditation-techniques, and religious institutions. Owing to their own prejudices (and the eagerness of many of them to propagate the Christian gospel in China), they condemned all the very substantial evidence of Taoist religious life as mere "superstition".

                      It is now well established that (in addition to the spiritual classics of the religion, dating from the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C.) Taoism has an unbroken, continuous history as a religion from at least the 2nd century A.D. down to the present day. When Buddhism was first brought to China, many of the Taoist practices and rituals were adopted by the Buddhists. To be fair, many of the Buddhist practices were adopted by the Taoists and there has been so much cross cultural traffic that it is difficult for even scholars to denote the differences. If you are going to dicuss a subject a deep as Taoism, let me suggest that there is quite a bit of study that needs to be done if you wish to participate in an intelligent conversation. Do your homework!


                      • #12
                        Leave me to drag my tail in the mud!


                        • #13

                          Taoism..Religion..Islam..Philosophy..Chan..Dogmas. .etc

                          they are all words, we use to describe our different interpretations, to a degree that we end up setting standards and dualism amongst things that are all relatively the same

                          in the end it doesnt matter what a taoist is, what taoism is, is taoism a religion, yes and no..yes some practitioners offer incense etc to gods or whatever, dietys are used as a crutch for some so they can have something to aspire to, or believe in as a standard etc

                          but it doesnt matter, there are countless paths a person can take, but in the end, it doesnt matter

                          we all aspire to merge with the tao..return to gods kingdom..see our original face..attain satori..etc etc

                          you know what im talking about shen, dont knock others posts just because you dont understand or dislike the way they describe their feelings or beliefs, if someone chooses to embrace the more philosophical side of taoism, let it be, its not your mind, if someones seeks to embrace the metaphysical, or the dogmatic or whatever..let it be

                          a persons mind is unique and is completely genuine, no two persons are alike, we are all diamonds in the wrath

                          i think you get what im not trying to knock your post, i enjoy reading detailed posts..and hearing from people who have a sound understanding of the subjects, its just a little annoying when people misunderstand others ideas when in reality there is no differentation in what we are all talking about here, different ideas..feelings etc should be embraced not pushed away or negatively thrown aside as "incorrect" or "ignorant"

                          etc etc etc

                          rant over

                          "did you ask me to consider dick with you??" blooming tianshi lotus


                          • #14
                            well spoken
                            Show me a man who has forgotten words, so that I can have a word with him.


                            • #15
                              Good posts so far....
                              I have a few things to say, but I'll try posting them tom. when my head is a bit clearer.

                              For now, I'd like to say that for some philosophy and religion are so intermingled it is very hard to seperate the two. One thing I'd like to point out though is that religion has its philosophies, philosophies don't really have a religion.

                              Man wrote religion, felt spirituality.....
                              practice wu de


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