whynaut

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About whynaut

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  1. 2 Sweet Documentaries

    I could add my thoughts about evolution here, but it seems as though this conversation is delving into something more fundamental than that. This is a discussion that questions, "Is there value in things that are not science?" "If so, is it possible for those things to have more value than science?" To initially answer this question, I draw attention to this podcast on the placebo effect: http://www.radiolab.org/2007/may/17/ One particular segment describes Dr. Albert Mason who hypnotized a patient into curing himself of warts. What neither Mason nor the patient knew at the time was that the patient did not actually have warts, but instead was diagnosed with an incurable skin disease. This disease was so ingrained that, according to other doctors, treating the disease was impossible by any means, let alone via hypnosis. But no matter how impossible it was, it happened. What I glean from this story is that there are areas of thinking (in our brain chemistry perhaps?) that it is possible to tap into in order to produce miracles. It is likely that many religions have tapped into this same process in the past, though it is possible they did this unknowingly. Perhaps science will one day be able to quantify this feat and we will all be able to produce miracles. Or maybe science is leading us into a different direction. This new direction may take us to many wonderful places, but at the same time move us away from this inherent process of miracles. While I think that science is a very useful and democratic path, I think it is only one path mankind could have followed and not necessarily the only path it could have followed.
  2. Chinese Metal Element

    I personally do not see inherent connection between Metal and Air. In the Chinese Elements the element Air is most related to chi/qi which means "air, breath, or gas". Chi/Air is the fundamental force that is inherent to all the other five elements. Not to mention that in the Greek view Metal would likely be paired up with Earth since it comes from the Earth and has little in common with the other more amorphous elements. In this way, bunching up the two element styles quickly becomes awkward: Chinese - Greek Fire - Fire Water - Water Earth - Earth Wood - no equivalent Metal - Earth CHI - Air Also, in Greek Elements each of the four has a relatively equal standing in that no element is necessarily stronger than any other. In Chinese Elements, however, each element can be used to create or destroy another element in the cycle.
  3. It seems odd to me that people here would tell you to learn to be happy. Are we not Daoists and Buddhists here? Consider this. There is phrase that goes "Abandon hope". This is a paraphrased saying of what it says to the entrance of Christian Hell, but conversely it is also one of the key phrases Buddhists need to learn to reach enlightenment. The problem with Western ideals is that we think if we can remove the "evil" then things will be "good". But Daoism speaks that goodness and evil are interconnected. Like the yin and yang, it is the contrast with one that gives the other its shape. For example, one may say that forcing a child to eat only bread and water is evil, but if the child was starving before then that same action becomes good. If you don't have a girlfriend because you lost her, you feel pain; but if you never had the girlfriend, you would be in the exact same position but feel no pain. One of the basic fundamentals of Buddhism is that desire begets suffering, to remove suffering one must first remove desire. There is a place beyond good and evil, pleasure and pain, contentment and suffering. It is called enlightenment.
  4. Everyone post some favorite quotes!

    "Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live."-- Oscar Wilde "the fantastic, when looked at properly, is much less interesting (and a lot less fantastic) than the everyday."-- Terry Pratchett "A hero is a person who overcomes a tragedy and promises never to let the same thing happen to anyone else. A villain is someone who overcomes a tragedy and swears never to let it happen to him or herself again."-- Ruth Morrison "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."-- Douglas Adams
  5. What is Tao

    I can see how Tao (or possible only one aspect of Tao) could be tied into this collective consciousness. Though I'd like to make the point that this collective consciousness need not be metaphysical in anyway. Consider ants. One single ant is the dumbest creature on the planet. One entomologist described two ant pulling on either end of a twig in opposite directions for two months until they died. However, an ant colony is extremely brilliant. Such abilities an ant colony can do is make elaborate homes with specific rooms, take and train slave ants, tend to livestock, predict and make preparations for rainfall, and the list goes on. It is almost like an ant is a single braincell and a colony of ants becomes a full brain. Nature/the universe(/Tao?) is like this as well. In an ecosystem no single thing (like a deer, a wolf, a tree, a stream, etc.) needs a mind with an overarching goal, and yet ecosystems naturally keep balance and keep everything in it thriving. Even after a death in an ecosystem system, not only does the system continue, but in actually it plans for such a death and makes uses for it to keep the system going. Tao does not have a mind, but it does not need a mind. It has the minds and non-minds of everything and it keeps balance fine. Perhaps this is why there is such an appreciation for nature in Taoism because it is something to aspire to be like or become a part of.
  6. Taoism Vs Buddhism

    From my perspective, Buddhism can be seen as both the logical extension of Daoism and its complete opposite. Daoism stresses the point, "one thing and ten thousand things," this is to say that every thing in the universe is a part of some grander thing. To use a metaphor, imagine shaping forms out of clay. Though each form may seem distinct, they are actually all part of the same clay. At the highest level of Daoism, all things can be seen as uniform. All things become one. It is only our flawed perception that attempts to put things into discrete categories and say that they are different. Buddhism seems to take this one step further. If all things are one, and our reality is actually just based on these flawed perceptions, then can this reality be said to exist at all? Reality here seems like only a construction of our own minds (i.e. reality is an illusion). Perhaps, reality then is not the flawed shaping of forms on the naturally shapeless clay, but actually the flawed attempt at creating new images on the naturally blank piece of paper. In this case, all things are not one. All things are nothing. What makes these two ideas opposite is that when Buddhism says, "reality is an illusion", it creates a sort of dualism: the true nothing vs. the illusion of reality. Daoism, on the other hand, cannot abide by dualism, "all things are one". This can lead to contention on both sides, while at the same time, ideas from both seem to flow in and out of each other seamlessly. This is how I've always thought of it anyway.
  7. How different does seeking Tao make you?

    I can see how initially moving toward Dao could have the effect of distancing oneself from the rest of humanity. On the other hand, I'd like to hope that as one reaches closer to Dao that s/he finds how one is truly connected with humanity. To use the Buddhist saying,
  8. Moral character of Qi

    I think we need to consider the yinyang symbol. The symbol is not intrinsically Daoist, but rather it came from I-Ching (which was closer to a science than it is a religion). A Confuciust would look at the yinyang symbol and see the two opposites in balance; a place for everything and everything in its place. A Daoist, however, looks at the yinyang symbol and realizes that it all is one circle. By looking at the opposites of things we can possibly see that they are not opposites at all. Big and small are both measures of length, hate and love are both strong attracting emotions, even the literal translations of "yin" and "yang" are the shaded and lit sides of the same mountain. The virtue in Daoism, I think, is to maintain this balance of ideals. However the sin (and I use the term loosley) is not the fear of going to extremes of either ideal, but in thinking that these extremes exist at all. Though I personally don't know how to purify my qi (though I wouldn't mind a lesson), I can imagine the idea is not to move or shape one's qi in any particular way, but to let it disseminate in all directions. Like an ice sculpture melting and becoming a part of the lake it sits in.
  9. Just, the Way

    I became entranced by Chuang-tzu's Basic writings. It is funny, insightful, and I was really surprised when I found out it was religious (or at least philosophical) as these three ideas rarely go hand in hand. It seems to me that the central theme of Daoism is really the idea of one thing and ten thousand things. That all things are a part of this one great thing. I think that the original founder of Daoism, Lao-tzu, was having a joke at all our expense when he called his idea Dao. As you all know, Dao mean simply "way" in Chinese. Before "Dao-ism" everyone had their own "dao". Dao of war, dao of courtly life, dao of this, dao of that. Then someone asked Lao-tzu, "What's your dao of?" And he must have answered, "Just, dao." In essence, he made up a belief that had no name. It was just "the way". And really, isn't that what Daoism is? It is all encompassing, it is everything and excludes nothing. To define it, you move further away from it because the act of definition boxes the idea in and sections it off from other things. It really is both one thing and ten thousand things. P.S. I cannot seem to be able to post on the discussion board. Can anyone tell me why?