drifting cloud

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  1. A "watchmaker" is covered by the term "Deism". The concept of an all pervasive watchmaker is just kind of silly, don't you think? Wakan Tanka is definitely not Deist or panendeist. That is a Western distortion. Rather than trying to understand dao in terms of Western concepts, why not take it as it is presented in the DDJ? Better yet, practice and find out directly what it is.
  2. I think none of the above. 道 means something like way, path, method. Not sure how we go from that to a "conscious being". Maybe "ontological principle" would work but I'm not precisely sure what you mean by that. "Pan-en-deistic God" just strikes me as an incoherent (and aesthetically ugly) neologism, no offense.
  3. Qigong on Youtube

    I like this presentation of the Ba Duan Jin:
  4. Can there be such a thing as a Nazi Dao?

    In general it seems to me that Jewish thinkers are more willing to question certain assumptions shared by their culture (with Marx, this was private enterprise, with Einstein, the existence of an objective universal time and a seperate quality of space, etc). I think this simply comes from being considered part of an outgroup; you are simply more inclined to question what the in group says and what their assumptions are. I don't think there is such a thing as "Jewish Thought"; rather, it seems to me that there is simply a general tendency in Jewish thinkers to question authority. How they do this and what conclusions they come to will differ greatly from thinker to thinker.
  5. Pure Land Buddhism

    This is true of many Japanese schools of Buddhism. This system developed in Japan for complicated historical reasons.
  6. What defines a Daoist?

    Hi Chenping, Putting things into a historical context always alters my perspective. Your reflections on Chinese history reminds me of an apocryphal statement attributed to Zhou Enlai; somebody asked him what he thought of the French Revolution and its values. His response was said to be "It's too soon to tell ." Whether he actually said this or not, I think it reflects the difference between a tradition that goes back millenia and the modern values which are not more than a few centuries old. Time will ultimately be the judge of what stands up and what doesn't. Geopolitical power now seems to be shifting back to Asia generally and China in particular; it will be interesting to see if this results in a revival of the old ways. Re: Mo Tzu's comment, I haven't heard of using the bagua/pakua in this way before but in general I would say it makes sense and seems to cover the very broad range of activity that could be included in Daoist practice. My guess is that much of "Philosophical Daoism" is rather different than the philosophical component of the NW direction. But one would have to look at specific examples of each to be sure.
  7. What defines a Daoist?

    Hi Chenping, Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Just to clarify I think Westerners can be authentic practitioners of tradition as well. And I agree with you 100% that reflection is important as well. But there's a big difference to me between reflection which is rooted in one's experience of practice, and reflection that is just kind of free floating, based on purely on words on a page of a mistranslations or "modern interpretations" of an ancient text, which they encounter without any kind of context. So my problem is not with Daoists who do philosophy, or with those who reflect on their practice. My problem is with those who do nothing but engage in word-chopping and disputation and call themselves "Daoists", and there are an awful lot of those. There's a Buddhist term that is appropriate here, papañca, which means "conceptual proliferation", i.e. spinning a web of concepts and then getting stuck in it. There are a lot of self-described "Daoists" who don't practice but just papañcize. These I call the "Barnes and Noble Daoists". At the end of the day I think Daoist philosophy can only be truly understood through practice and by placing it in the context of practice. I think "philosophical Daoism" is an imperialist construct, personally; it's basically Westerners extracting what they think is "spiritual" from the tradition while discarding what they consider to be "superstition". The narrative of two Daoisms, one philosophical one religious, has been mostly abandoned by scholars and isn't really acknowledged by traditional Daoists. This narrative was unfortunately fed into by Confucian native informants during the early 20th century who wanted to adopt Western standards and were embarrassed by their "backwards" culture.
  8. What defines a Daoist?

    Hey Tataaki, I don't know if anyone responded to you about this. My apologies if this is a repeat. It is from Chapter 42. Here is the Chinese text: 道生一。 一生二。 二生三。 三生萬物。 To reply to the OP: Personally I don't think being a Daoist has anything to do with belief or concepts. I think this is a holdover from Protestant Christianity, where one's identity is based on particular beliefs (i.e. in predestination, in the infallibility of the Pope, in the death and resurrection of Jesus, etc). To me, Daoism is something you do, not a set of beliefs or propositions. Daoist "identity" is based on practice, i.e. a Daoist is somebody who engages in Daoist cultivation practices, i.e. nourishing life, inner alchemy, etc. From this perspective, a Barnes & Noble "Daoist" who has read a bunch of translations of the DDJ and knows a bunch of concepts but doesn't practice isn't really a Daoist, even if they call themselves that. An illiterate person who has never read the DDJ but who diligently practices is a Daoist whether they call themselves one or not. I could of course be quite wrong about this. But I think in general East Asian religion is better understood as something you do rather than something you believe. Westerners are generally caught up in our heads and are obsessed with concepts, beliefs, etc.
  9. Hello

    Thanks Chris I like your screen name and avatar!
  10. Hello

    Hello All, I've been a longtime lurker here and decided to finally register and start posting. I practice vipassana and qigong. Looking forward to discussions with everyone. - dc