Zhuo Ming-Dao

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About Zhuo Ming-Dao

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  1. Wu Liu Pai

    I just read Taoist Yoga recently and having listened to your conversation, I was wondering what your thoughts on out-of-body experiences or astral projections in relation to this topic. Specifically, I practice the methods of Robert Bruce and Robert Monroe to initiate a projection into the six realms. Would you say that what is being generated through this practice is the ghost immortal? And if so, will this practice make it more difficult or impossible for me to later attempt to do alchemy? Any advice would be appreciated. Unfortunately, I do not access to a teacher where I currently live.
  2. The taoist diet?

    Taoism is not a prescriptive religion. It does not tell you that you must eat something or most not eat something else for taboo purposes. Rather, after you go to a tradition Chinese medical doctor (acupuncturist) they can give you dietary advice that will increase your health, your chi, and your lifespan. It is not religious as much as it is just doing what is best for your body. Out of curiosity, why are you interested in Taoism? Your questions sound like you are coming from a very western religious background. Most eastern religions are much more of a blend of philosophy, personal physical and spiritual development, and cultural practice. It is much more based upon personal experience and direct contact with the divine than on faith (unless you are doing bhaki yoga or Pure Land practice ).
  3. The god(s) in Taoism?

    As I am sure you would see if you spent some time on these boards, Taoism is a very loose term that means different things to different groups of people throughout Chinese history and today. To philosophical Taoists (and others), there is no god to worship. The Tao is an impersonal force of nature with which we try to align ourselves. No personification or prayer involved. Folk Taoism and certain forms of monastic Taoism accept the existence of spirit beings (immortals, fairies, fox spirits, dragons, ancestor-heroes) or even gods (the Three Pure Ones, Guan Yin). For those who believe in spirit beings, it is akin to wildlife in the forest: most people just try to avoid trouble rather than trying to make friends with the lions, tigers, and bears. Some sects believe in spirit beings but not cosmic gods, some believe in both categories but worship neither. It is a mixed bag. Mostly, if you are looking for who you would pray to in religious Taoism, the answer is largely contingent upon what your problem is. You would not ask the immortal of scribes and academics for protection in a dark alley. Also in Folk Taoism you will see a lot of ancestor worship. So, if you have been burning money for your grandpa' ghost to spend in the afterlife, he might be inclined to help you out with something when you pray to him. And he might also get pissed when you do something that is not in the best interest of the family, in his opinion. Of course, most non-Chinese Taoists do not subscribe to this folk belief, or practice it even if they do believe.
  4. If you have any interest in a Buddhist look at the Dark Night of the Soul phenomena, take a look at Daniel Ingram's free book, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. It may or may not be what you are facing right now, but it is an interesting read on the topic. And his approach is to approach the problem directly through intense insight meditation rather than any form of rationalization, visualization, or otherwise. You observe every moment, sensation and fluctuation of your current state in the moment without any mental interpretation, explanation, or excuse. http://www.interactivebuddha.com/Mastering...e%20Version.pdf Hope this is helpful in your continued explorations.
  5. Chinese Religious Stats

    What are they considering to be animism for this study? How would animism not fit in with traditional Chinese folk beliefs? Are they insinuating shamanism? Because that should also fall under traditional folk beliefs. Such a strange distinction!
  6. Inducing Labor

    Thanks for the advice everyone. My wife was chemically induced last night, due to low fluid, and so I now have a beautiful baby boy.
  7. The importance of caves in Taoism

    In Taoist texts, cave are very often represented as being symbolic of the womb. You therefore return to the cave to gestate before being spiritually reborn into the world. You see this symbolism with particular strength in the Japanese Taoist traditions, in which the hermit would cast a long staff into the cave before entering it for extended meditation. Also, there is a strong belief in Taoism and Chinese folk belief that caves represent the passageway between the normal world and the spiritual underworld. There are many fables and poems to that effect in Chinese literature, where a hermit went into a cave and his spirit descended into the other world to visit spiritual beings. Finally, as others were saying, caves very strongly represent the feminine (yin) energy. They are quiet, dark, damp, cold, deep, etc. - all of which are physical manifestations of yin energy. And as we all know, Lao Tzu exhorted us to cultivate the feminine.
  8. Inducing Labor

    My wife is currently about a week overdue with our wonderful, healthy baby. So far we have not seen a huge amount of progress and our doctor is already starting to talk about induction for the near future. We are currently against the idea of pitocin or artificial rupturing of the waters, but are curious to hear others thoughts on the more natural induction methods. We are just waiting now, but if things don't pick up in the next week or so we would rather have some more natural methods than having to do a c-section eventually. So any thoughts or advice is welcome - herbs, energetic practices, pressure points, wives tales, and what-have-you. Even if you are particularly for or against inductions (medical or otherwise) I would love to hear your opinions. Thank you everyone!
  9. Children's Schools

    Here is a list of charter schools in Louisiana. Charter schools are public, and therefore free, and can sometimes be radically superior to traditional public schools. http://www.doe.state.la.us/lde/uploads/3389.pdf My recommendation to you is that you do your homework. Look into the schools near you, see what their graduation rates/state test scores/etc look like and see what their curriculum looks like. Also, charter schools are required to let you see all of the teacher's resumes, so you can get a look at what kind of background the teachers have. Finally, charter schools will almost always let you do tours of the campus and let you sit in on classes. Bring your child to these tours (of several schools that you already would be OK with) and let them help you in the decision making process. Although it is private, a Waldorf school sounds like it would be right up your ally if you are living in the New Orleans area: http://www.waldorfnola.org/
  10. Jedi Force Trainer

    Thanks for pointing this out to me. If they can make this kind of technology cheaply, which measures your ability to hold single pointed concentration, they really should market something to meditators. It could just be a simple readout or a glowing light that changed colors as your concentration deepened. Also, it would need to be much more silent than this current toy. Also, if this thing was made for normal kids, than many of us would cap it out too easily. Very cool!
  11. Sayings of past spiritual teachers!

    To get closer to the original, I would translate this as, "I am without a single division of mind; what purpose is there in even a single division of the Dharma?" I chose division, but I prefer the original Chinese "cut." I could not think of a clean way of using the word cut as is, without otherwise altering the exact pattern of the quote. If you don't mind loosing the literal translation, you could say, "My mind is totally uncut, so why would I cut up the Dharma?" Altogether, it is a very cool quote! Here is another Zen quote: "The way the self arrays itself is the form of the entire world. See each thing in this entire world as a moment of time. Things do not hinder one another, just as moments do not hinder one another. The way-seeking mind arises in this moment. A way-seeking moment arises in this mind. It is the same with practice and with attaining the way. Thus the self setting itself out in array sees itself. This is the understanding that the self is time." -Dogen Zenji from the essay Being Time (Uji)
  12. What did Lao Tzu teach

    I think that you have a fundamental misconception here about the nature of Taoism. Taoism does not equal "the teachings of Lao Tzu." Lao Tzu is not the Buddha or Jesus of Taoism. If he was a real, singular person (which is doubtful) he was still not the founder of some new religion. Taoism is a movement that contains both religious and philosophical elements, of which the Tao Te Ching is one thread in a very complicated tapestry. Granted, it is an early, beautiful thread. But definitely not the earliest (Songs of Chu, Nei Yeh, and several others are older) and not even the most profound (I personally think that Chuang Tzu gets that title). Perhaps you should think of this more like a single book of the bible (maybe Genesis) than like a single, unified holy text with a founder that we can easily point to.
  13. Looking for some advice on my practice

    First, make sure that you are not resting your upper leg on your lower ankle. The lower leg should have the foot resting against the upper thigh, not below it. This will cut off circulation pretty quickly. Other than that, you just need to power through it and ignore the asleep sensation. A half hour or even a full hour with your leg asleep will not actually hurt anything. If you are not feeling sharp, shooting pains, then just turn your attention back on your breath (or whatever your focus is). Eventually, things will become more flexible, meridians will clear, and your legs will just stop falling asleep. It took my legs about seven months of daily zazen (with them falling asleep every day at about the 20 minute mark) before they just stopped falling asleep altogether for me. But if you start squirming at this point, you will miss out on a great experience to build will power and to strengthen your chances at achieving access concentration. Just stay still and breath through it. The sensation that your legs are like dead wood is a common one for everyone on this path, even if you are naturally flexible. Edit: Good point CowTao, I missed the lack of reference to a zafu.