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Everything posted by hamida

  1. Rites

    The concept of "Confucianism" is a western construct. To the Chinese, their scholarly tradition has always been known as Ru Jiao (儒 教). This philosophy is the foundation of the first modern government in the world and it has enabled the Chinese civilization to endure for more than 2000 years. The true power of Confucius' teaching (儒 教) is evident here: http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/eric-scheiner/powerful-version-star-spangled-banner
  2. Becoming "mature" is an ideal state of human perfectibility. If by "the way we are" you mean our present state of "immaturity" prior to perfection through Xing Kung cultivation, then becoming "mature" would be synonymous to becoming the True Person(真人) of Quanchen Tao. Am I correct?
  3. "Keeping the facts straight" may not be possible among people who probably don't share the same vision. There is also the fundamental problem of our common belief in the existence of an objective world in which we, together, live. To avoid the Cardinal Vice of 生氣 (anger) in Xing Kung cultivation, "staying on track" would require the same diligence of combatants finding their way safely through a minefield. The two incendiary explosive devices (IED's) are (1) the vision of Quanchen Taoism, and (2) the belief that an objective world (containing all of us) exists. Let's deal with (1) first. How does one view Quanchen Taoism? One’s vision, in itself, could be offensive if any form of Taoism is seen as 邪教 (demonic cult). This was how the Confucian literati of imperial China perceived Christianity, Taoism and Buddhism for these were the religious superstitions of the underclass. Mutual contempt exists. It is this disdain (we have for each other) that blocks conversation. And condescension for others is not a matter of choice. It is the way we are. Do you agree?
  4. To my mind, the only philosophy from the East, the Middle-East actually, that has totally shaped the western mind is that of Jesus Christ. The apotheosis of this man by religious priests has obliterated the significance of his thought to professional philosophers in the west. The principles that frame the virtue ethics of Jesus are remarkably similar to that of Confucius. This was why Matteo Ricci (Jesuit) was able to compose his evangelical dialogue T'ien-chu shih-i (The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven) in the attempt to use the Chinese way of thinking to convince Chinese mandarins that Confucius' teaching came from the Christian God. It would have been more beneficial if Fingarette (American philosopher) had explained to us the philosophical insights of Jesus' holy teaching in contemporary terms instead of trying to lay bare "the religious dimensions of the Analects" (Fingarette, Herbert. Confucius - the Secular As Sacred. New York, Harper & Row, 1972) In memory of Jesus, who was a great teacher and thinker, I wish a Merry Christmas to everyone here who strives to find richness in life through study and self-cultivation, not necessarily as Quanchen Taoists but in the same spirit to rid oneself of fallacies. My apologies to the OP for this diversion.
  5. Dawai's point on the use of the character 色 in Chinese literature is well taken. But it would take a heavily intoxicated scholar, on the way to the imperial exams, to coin the phrase 恋色 to suggest sexual desire to titillate a peasant maiden pouring out the wine. We are, however, investigating the meaning of the character 色 taken out of a Taoist canon. In this context, I would also take issue with the use of 色 in the translation of Line 9 of the quote above. There is no metaphorical allusion to the seduction of "beauty" ( of a sexual kind). I would translate 面色 as "facial coloration" to mean demeanor: a darkened face to indicate upset and a blushing red face to show embarrassent. Would you kindly clarify?
  6. The four cardinal vices are worth examining. 1. Traditionally, alcohol has markedly more impact in western cultures. It is curious why it is cited as a barrier to self- purification in Chinese society. It wasn't until the 19th century that intoxication from opium was a social problem in China. 2. I wonder if 色 should not be given a broader meaning as given in Chapter 12 of the Tao Te Ching. What are your views on the above?
  7. It is my interpretation - my own reading, to be exact - of the quote in Chinese rather than a translation. It is no doubt biased towards an individualistic and subjective view of man. In my opinion, Taoist thought is colored by Buddhist ideas of self-liberation not found in Classical Chinese textual sources of which the Tao Te Ching as well as the Chuang Tsu are a part. My appraisal discount all interpretative material of later Chinese commentaries keeping in mind that even the received versions of the Classics themselves are "infected" by those who put their archaelogical findings together. My vision – that pure Chinese thought has no supernatural core to it - is a generalization subject to critical comment and I look forward to arguments in support of a contrary point of view. Your translation is closer to the text. And yes, it is plausible and doable even if the moral significance of the enterprise is somewhat obscure.
  8. Please join us in the conversation. As I said, my interest in Chinese thought is philosophical. My perspective would be that of an observer rather than a practitioner. All forms of Taoist beliefs and practices can be traced back to two Classical Texts: The Tao Te Ching and the Chuang Tzu. My thesis is that classical Chinese thinking is fundamentally humanistic and secular. Your direct knowledge of the cultivation of special powers of a transcendental nature would be useful in our discussion.
  9. “饮酒不醉是英豪,恋色不迷最为高;不义之财不可取,有气不生气自消。” To imbibe without intoxication, lose oneself in fornication without corruption, amass riches without injustice, and rage without anger is the mark of high culitvation. Is that plausible?
  10. You say “Chi 氣”, in the context of the five cardinal vices (酒色財氣), stands for temperament. A foreigner would consider the association strange. Another curious connection, I find, is that between 色 (which literally means color) and libido. Would you please explain this? The five cardinal vices (酒色財氣) have a parallel in the Seven Deadly Sins of Christianity. While Quanchen Tao stresses the purity of the mind, the Christian goal is the purity of the soul. I realize that I am reading into what you say western ideas that I already hold. My interest is philosophical and I would like to understand the moral psychology of Quanchen Tao’s religious ideology. Alcohol (酒) , within limits, is not regarded as a vice in western cultures and wealth (財) is a virtue in America. Moral truths are not universal because moral facts are formed in societies in which moral sensibility is formed. But as you pointed out, Xing Kung cultivation that culminates in the realization of the 真人 frees man of all fallacies, moral disagreements and diversity. How does one cultivate mind purification?
  11. The imperative function of man, in Confucian ethical philosophy, is to bring about harmony (和) in society. He does this through self-cultivation of civility (禮) ,which is the essence of the Way (道) that manifests in the conduct of the 聖人. Is there a corresponding motivation in Quanchen Tao? You did say “What If people aware of the significance of the Dual Cultivation of Xing and MIng, then, the health of our lives and the society will be in progress at a much faster rate.” (Post #29) Progress in relation to what? You also did say that 真人 ”is an esoteric term for addressing a highly cultivated Taoist priest”. (Post #71) Is this similar to the religious “self-cultivation” of the Catholic priest to purify himself of sin? What is the rational foundation for the four cardinal vices (酒色財氣)? The moral reasoning would perhaps throw light on the “mind and body purification” you speak of and help me understand the distinction you put between 真人 and 聖人.
  12. 真人(true person), in the sense you use this term, might have been equated with 聖人 by Jesuits in their attempt to make connection points between Catholic theology and Confucianism. Perhaps you may want to comment on this. To convert China, the missionaries had to translate Christian cathechism into the Chinese language. It was not an easy task. The "pagans" they were trying to evangelize already had a sophisticated body of humanistic canonical writings, known as Classics as opposed to western religious scriptures. The Jesuits had to borrow much of the vocabulary from the Classics that they planned to displace. The term 聖人 was used to mean "saint" and 天 to denote "Heaven". To Christians, the opposite of saint is sinner and the opposite of Heaven is Hell. To the Chinese, however, there is no opposite of 聖人 and the closest opposite meaning is "ignorance" as in a lack of self-culitvation. Also, there is no exact equivalent Chinese concept of Hell other than the Buddhist term of 地狱 which means "earth prison". China was not converted. No Jesuit ever set eyes on the Emperor who eventually banned all Christian missions. Language barrier was not the only difficulty to surmount then. Your translation of Quanchen Tao is "missionary work" in reverse: a Chinese outreach to foreigners. Perhaps, yours is a "fitting response" that is timely and appropriate (to quote Professor Du Weiming) in the present age of globilization as cultures merge.
  13. Western sinologists would take issue with your view on language barrier. However, my research show that your contention does have merit. Regarding the conversation about the precise conceptual meanings and dispositional usage of Chinese characters, I wonder if people who are not natives of the language could figure out what the natives thought. Not all languages are created equal. Grasping classical Chinese ideographs is not quite as easy as reading smoke signals. There is a fundamental dichotomy between western philosophy and Chinese thought, an unbridgeable divide that comparative philosophy dismisses. The approach to the understanding of life in the west was not the same as that in China when early attempts were made to translate the Classics. European philosophy was considered superior. Were Chinese thinkers interested in truth? Were they correspondence theorists? These questions are apparently of interest to western intellectuals even today. The Chinese ancients did not go down the same road as Aristotle and Plato and Russell and Moore. That is crystal clear. They were just not smart enough to break down their folk wisdom and musings into notations of sentential logic that enables even our artificially intelligent computers to figure out at the speed of light if truth were “p” or “q”. But we are going to be informed that they did too, in their own primitive way, when Chinese thought is deconstructed and made intelligible in western terms. I am sure others here will have different arguments. If you could offer an example or two of the language difficulty you speak of with regard to specific passage on Quanchen Tao, it would clarify your point and open a discussion on this matter.
  14. I could not locate the Forum you mentioned, so I will post my question here. Do you think the teaching of Quanchen Tao (全真道) has universal relevance and practicable across cultures or is it only pertinent within the context of Chinese society?
  15. Chinese Thought and Taoism

    Hello, I am a student in East Asian Studies. My current focus is on Chinese philosophy both pre-modern and contemporary. I look forward to discussing your views on any aspects of Chinese thought and its impact on your outlook in life. I am a Malaysian on a short tour to the College de France (Paris) and the University of Chicago. Thank you in advance for your participation in our conversations. Regards, hamida
  16. Chinese Thought and Taoism

    I have posted an introduction but it has yet to be published here. Chinese thought is generally perceived as Confucian philosophy. Confucianism itself is regarded by academics, both East and West, as a cultural tradition that predated Confucius himself and encompassed all facets of socialization in China. Taoism is one aspect of Chinese thought. I wonder if the compartmentalization of Chinese thought into the different schools of Confucianism and Taoism (not to mention Chinese Buddhism) has any justification. Implicit in this question is my belief that there is none. Your opinions on this would be helpful in the examination of my position on the matter. Thank you all in advance for your interest, if any.