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The Way vs. Bhakti

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The other night I was thinking of the Dao and wondering wether there was any truth to my notion that there is a possible lack of devotinal approach within this tradition.

If someone would ask me what there is less of on the taoist path I would say devotion worship and a bhakti approach to the use of emotion.


The last couple of months I've noticed that my heart seems to be in most dire need to open up to the realities of the heart. To give and recieve love, in order to live life less from an intellectual outlook and making me less indifferent to things. To connect with others through the heart as Mitch mentioned in another topic. (at least that's how I interpreted it.)


Indifference can definitely be a good thing in many aspects, in order to stop being controlled by the emotions but instead make them steady and tempered.


The notion within taoist and traditional TCM thought, that the emotions should never overflow. Is that something that can be harmonised with a devotional approach to God/Tao and your fellow beings.


Is there any record of something similar to bhakti utilized within the daoist ways?


I'm interested in whatever you folks have to say on this topic.

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This is going to be a bit of a quote'o'rama ...


I don't think taoism devalues the heart. Qualities like love and compassion are seen as innate attributes of our natural condition before psychological/social/cultural conditioning. The Hua Hu Ching has some intreseting things to say:



Those who want to know the truth of the universe should practice the four cardinal virtues. The first is reverence for all life; this manifests as unconditional love and respect for oneself and all other beings. The Second is natural sincerity; this manifests as honesty, simplicity, and faithfulness. The third is gentleness; this manifests as kindness, consideration for others, and sensitivity to spiritual truth. The fourth is supportiveness; this manifests as service to others without expectation of reward. The four virtues are not an external dogma but a part of your original nature. When practiced, they give birth to wisdom and evoke the five blessings: health, wealth, happiness, longevity, and peace. "



Formal religious devotion will not necessarily lead to realising the mystery of the Tao:



Do not go about worshipping deities and religious institutions as the source of the subtle truth To do so is to place intermediaries between yourself and the divine, and to make of yourself a beggar who looks outside for a treasure that is hidden inside his own breast. If you want to worship the Tao, first discover it in your own heart. Then your worship will be meaningful."


Some religions may be lead to sidetracks:



Most of the world's religions serve only to strengthen attachments to false concepts such as self and other, life and death, heaven and earth, and so on. Those who become entangled in these false ideas are prevented from perceiving the Integral Oneness.




There are many partial religions, and then there is the Integral Way. Partial religions are desperate, clever, human inventions; the Integral Way is a deep expression of the pure, whole, universal mind. Partial religions rely on the hypnotic manipulation of undeveloped minds; the Integral Way is founded on the free transmission of the plain, natural, immutable truth. It is a total reality, not an occult practice. The Integral Way eschews conceptual fanaticism, extravagant living, fancy food, violent music. They spoil the serenity of one's mind and obstruct one's spiritual development. Renouncing what is fashionable and embracing what is plain, honest, and virtuous, the Integral Way returns you to the subtle essence of life. Adopt its practices and you will become like they are: honest, simple, true, virtuous, whole. You see, in partial pursuits, one's transformation is always partial as well. But in integral self-cultivation, it is possible to achieve a complete metamorphosis, to transcend your emotional and biological limitations and evolve to a higher state of being. By staying out of the shadows and following this simple path, you become extraordinary, unfathomable, a being of profound cosmic subtlety. You outlive time and space by realizing the subtle truth of the universe. "




In the text there's even references to alchemy:



Do you wish to attain pure Tao? Then you must understand and integrate within yourself the three main energies of the universe. The first is the earth energy. Centered in the belly, it expresses itself as sexuality. Those who cultivate and master the physical energy attain partial purity. The second is the heaven energy. Centered in the mind, it expresses itself as knowledge and wisdom. Those whose minds merge with the Universal Mind also attain partial purity. The third is the harmonized energy. Centered in the heart, it expresses itself as spiritual insight. Those who develop spiritual insight also attain partial purity. Only when you achieve all three-mastery of the physical energy, universal mindedness, and spiritual insight-and express them in a virtuous integral life, can you attain pure Tao.



The interplay of yin and yang within the womb of the Mysterious Mother creates the expansion and contraction of nature. Although the entire universe is created out of this reproductive dance, it is but a tiny portion of her being. Her heart is the Universal Heart, and her mind the Universal Mind. The reproductive function is also a part of human beings. Because yin and yang are not complete within us as individuals, we pair up to integrate them and bring forth new life. Although most people spend their entire lives following this biological impulse, it is only a tiny portion of our beings as well. If we remain obsessed with seeds and eggs, we are married to the fertile reproductive valley of the Mysterious Mother but not to her immeasurable heart and all-knowing mind. If you wish to unite with her heart and mind, you must integrate yin and yang within and refine their fire upward. Then you have the power to merge with the whole being of the Mysterious Mother. This is what is known as true evolution."


Other interesting taoist texts and instructions can be seen here:


Other stuff

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I have noticed something along these lines for me as well. I don't think it is lacking in Taoism..... just that it is presented or in a form that I can't use or get anthing from.


I also don't care for hinduism as far as bhakti goes. For me the different Buddhisms are doing it for me. It seems, in america at least, to have a view point on things that I can agree with and that I find easy to dive into and get things going.








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