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About Hosh

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  1. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    Uh. No. I think you misunderstood what I am saying. The 道 existed before any of the gods in the sense that the 道 never existed at all.
  2. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    I don't think you understand the shamanism very well. But I'll pass on that.
  3. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    Man is not the creator of all these gods. Man, however, is the creator of all the memories and images of all these gods. Again, the point of that passage is to talk about forms arising out of nothing. As for the universe being 16.8 billion years old, that's a lot trickier than you think it is. We're measuring years in terms of the amount of time it takes for the earth to rotate around the sun (the old definition of a "year"), but how useful is that when the fabric of space-time itself can warp? If there is were an expansion of the universe, then time might have sped up or slow down. Or some scientists are now suggesting that the universe did not expand at all. What you are saying is not Reality. What you are saying is a model of reality. Its validity is based upon it's ability to predict things, and it is inherently based upon falsehoods (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verisimilitude). It is useful within a limited scope.
  4. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    I'm not being kind. With this kind of stuff, I don't think with words. I feel for the shape of the thoughts and how they connect together, and then let it sit in the back of my mind for a while. Eventually, days, weeks, months from now, something will happen externally or internally to point out something. Maybe during meditation, I'll suddenly see it (or a piece of it). Maybe not. Maybe I will be going along life and suddenly see how my interactions with the world is an example of this. Who knows?
  5. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    That it is "off" is indicative of perhaps a failure in your interpretation. Just something to think about. This is from the GD text: 吾不ηŸ₯ε…Άθͺ°δΉ‹ε­δΉŸ θ±‘εΈδΉ‹ε…ˆ And the "Lord" and "ancestors" is translated from 豑帝, where 帝 is likely referring to the Jade Emperor. Ursula K. Le Guin rendered that line as, "before the gods", which I find acceptable. Essentially, the idea being expressed is, there was something before creator-gods, from where even gods and God emerged from. Something that itself has no "ancestor", that is, it was never born in the first place, that is, it never existed (存) in the first place.
  6. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    Cool. I'll think about that for a while.
  7. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    Oh. I know :-) Thanks for being explicit about this though. Sure. I don't mind ending a discussion. It is not the end of the world for a discussion to end. We're not trying to reach a consensus, at least not in this forum, not with words, and perhaps not in this lifetime. I actually feel quite satisfied with Marblehead's latest responses, and the state of our agreement-disagreement works for now. Since you know what I refer to as "consciousness-as-first-principle", then you might have observed something else, that is, the merging of "consciousness-as-first-principle" and "matter-as-first-principle" in some unimaginable future. I don't think this is something we can really do in a single lifetime. It seems like the whole universe is attempting to reconcile this, and everyone is participating. But that's just a conclusion I've come to based on the experiences I've had for now and reflects my own unresolved doubts. Who knows what tomorrow might bring?
  8. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    Fair enough. And yes, there is only the experiencing, which is what I meant by observation. However, I might be imprecise in distinguishing between the observing, and the conclusions / interpretations of such observing. It's based on these experiences that, off-the-cushion, Consciousness Before Matter makes a lot of sense. In other words, Consciousness-as-First-Principle. But if we cannot agree on Consciousness-as-First-Principle, then there isn't much to talk about. All we can do is use textual evidence from the Tao Te Ching. There are reams and reams of discussion about that already. There's a line from the Tao Te Ching that goes something along the lines of, "where did this mystery come from? Before the Ancestors." (I am being sloppy here, and I'm not giving a precise translation). Meaning, if you observe each phenomena as they arise to look for self, and you find none, and come to that place where there is no self, only experience ... then "who" is doing the experiencing? Who gave "birth" to the experiencing? It would be before any conceivable notion of gods, or even a creator being. And one conclusion that works well is that Consciousness came before the tangible reality. This is a conjecture / thought experiment I think is worth exploring if you have the time for. What are the implications? How does the Tao Te Ching read if you're reading from a Consciousnes-As-First-Principle? How does Buddhist concepts, for that matter, read when you read it as Consciousness-As-First-Principle?
  9. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    Observation through empty-mind meditation is exactly what I am talking about. It is possible through deep "states" of empty-mind that you see no duality, no self, and phenomenal objects spontaneously arising and dissolving back into Reality. You can also observe the illusion of arising phenomena and the essential formlessness of form. I won't address the rest of your post since it seems to me we don't have a common experience, so we would end up wrangling over textual artifacts.
  10. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    Sure, feel free to disagree. These are not concepts. This is observation of reality that anyone can see for themselves by meditating. "Reincarnation" is kinda tricky. Those are modern concepts, not Taoist or Buddhist. "Little self", that is, persona -- not Consciousness -- emerges after matter. Matter formed out of Consciousness. This is something spoken about in the Tao Te Ching. We're not talking about scientific facts. We're talking about the mysteries and experiences expressed in the Tao Te Ching. The word "realization" means to "make real". Anything you experience becomes realized, and that includes the realization that all phenomena are illusions and delusions, as are all words that the ones you and I are using in this conversation. What someone experience may or may not be real, it might be spirit or it might not be, it might be a Taoist concept or a Buddhist concept, and it does not matter. The experiencing is always real, regardless of whether the phenomena itself is real or not. Only science deals with the realness of the phenomena. Wisdom teachings such as the Tao Te Ching deals with the experiencing.
  11. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    This isn't an misinterpretation, though perhaps, it is incomplete. "Christian", "Buddhist", "Taoist", are not as separate and distinct as scholars and practitioners would like them to be. Are there hungry ghosts, or some part of the persona that might persists after death? Yes. Is there a reincarnation of persona that happens? Yes. Does consciousness persist after death? How can it not? Consciousness came before matter; matter arises from consciousness. How can the disassociation of matter end consciousness? This isn't a Buddhist idea or a Christian idea. This is something that mystics from any and all traditions have been (futilely) speaking of for ages and ages, and the Taoist sages are no exception. Consciousness and persona are often confused, though persona arises from consciousness. "Existence" is a clinging to form, to persona -- the persona formed out of what you like and what you dislike. "Non-existence" is the truth of where this clinging arises from. When you forget, that is you δΊ‘, you forget your persona. That's the "non-existence" of η„‘. All things that arises from the primordial Reality will eventually fade away. "If heaven and earth don't go on and on, certainly people don't need to." So long as one clings on to notions of anything, then there is always a seeking and a question, a grasping of something that is "solid". And because there is nothing solid, there is always grasping. Recognizing that things come and go, you flow with the ebb and flow of creation and destruction. This is the Way. As I said upthread: you cannot use textual evidence as primary evidence. You do the practice, experience some realizations and then the text will make sense. Stop clinging to the text and to the shuowen.
  12. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    I am not confusing the two. I do assert that they are informed by the same experiential stream. This stream being the pre-Zhou shaman-king rites.
  13. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    I've heard it argued, that philosophy is morality in action, and as such, discussions are informed by practice, rather than the other way around. I could probably dig up something from Tao Te Ching or the Analects that argues for the same thing, if I tried hard enough. Scratch that, I know there was something from the Analects that states exactly that. It was a section used as a translation exercise for a literary Chinese textbook.
  14. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    You get the same thing. δΊ‘ etymologically means, "man falling into the abyss", or perhaps, "man falling into the tomb." Alternatively, it means "to enter a concealed place". It has strong connotations with death and loss. While this may seem like a term distinct from η„‘, it's merely another alias for realization. In this case, we're talking about the loss of persona, of self. Or meat (that is, your body). If you look at the various ethnographs of shamanic practices from around the world, a common theme is that of the loss of self, where the shaman "dies" in the journey. Despite geographic and linguistic separation, this theme is consistent enough to appear as part of Campbell's model on the monomyth cycle. In other words, the Lao Tzu did not package up his teaching as a "thing" called The Way. Rather, the Way is one of many teachings pointing to same source, one that is intrinsic to human experience and as such, appears in many cultures even though such cultures might be isolated from each other. Instead of trying to interpret what Lao Tzu is trying to say, it's better to practice, and then read something like the Tao Te Ching in support of the practice. (It's pretty easy to figure out what Lao Tzu is trying to say. He is saying: "go meditate.")
  15. Lao-tzu Ch 2: ζœ‰ & η„‘

    I don't think ζœ‰ and η„‘ can be adequately discussed without considering their pre-historical roots and practices, specifically what people today might label as "shamanic" practices. The etymology of ζœ‰ is, "right hand grasping the moon", or perhaps, "right hand grasping meat." It refers to the tendency we have to accept reality that is tangible, literally "touchable". The etymology of η„‘ is a primitive remnant for "dancers, with tails on each end". The modern rendition suggests, "dancing on fire." This seems far away from the modern word for "not", or "negation", but this is connected. This is referring to the realization gained through ecstatic trances (through dancing, meditation, or entheogens). Specifically, the realization is that the world is not made of flesh (hence, "grasping", or ζœ‰). There really isn't a point in trying to study 道德碓 exclusively through textual interpretation. Some things require direct experience, and η„‘ is one of them. It's only when you realized η„‘ that you can easily see how the mind tend to grasp at things (ζœ‰). Furthermore, the tendency to exclusively use textual evidence is itself a form of ζœ‰, of grasping. Any interpretations without at least attempting to experience ends up running around in circles. Another way of putting it is, the Tao Te Ching is a practice manual for insight meditation. It is also important to note that ζœ‰ and η„‘ is not describing duality. This is not "yin" and "yang", or about polarities and opposites. We create dualism in our mind through ζœ‰. By grasping on to some things and avoiding other things, we artificially create boundaries, a self, and that is from which all forms of dualism arises.