Fai0607

Am I a Taoist or a Zen Buddhist?

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Hey guys! Lately, I've been struggling about what my belief falls under. I have made a post in my introduction to this site that stated this question, and I will quote it below:

 

 

I have just very recently made a switch from Buddhism to Taoism, after following Buddhism this August. I am still struggling a bit to finalize if I am a Taoist or a Zen Buddhist but hopefully I'd figure that out!

 

I identify as a Taoist Atheist since I do not believe in any god or gods, as nothing is omnipotent. I believe in some sort of celestial plane, but not quite an 'afterlife' so I am painfully searching where I fall in terms of beliefs. I hope I can become involved in this community and find myself here.

 

I've been looking things up and it is pretty confusing. I also associate myself with atheist pages on facebook and they do say I can be a Buddhist Atheist but not a Taoist Atheist because apparently Taoists look up/worship deities?

 

Also while I'm at it, I do have a question regarding homosexuality. What is the general view of homosexuality to Taoists? I will struggling following a belief that condemns love. I know Buddhism is rather alright with it albeit there is no firm statement about it.

 

Thanks in advance!

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Both are vague categories unless you associate with a particular subgroup and somewhere within either you may find other folks with closely similar convictions to your own .Beware of the generalizations, which are by nature exclusionary , Dont cram yourself into a box of the wrong shape, bend the box .

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Hey guys! Lately, I've been struggling about what my belief falls under. I have made a post in my introduction to this site that stated this question, and I will quote it below:

 

 

 

I've been looking things up and it is pretty confusing. I also associate myself with atheist pages on facebook and they do say I can be a Buddhist Atheist but not a Taoist Atheist because apparently Taoists look up/worship deities?

 

Also while I'm at it, I do have a question regarding homosexuality. What is the general view of homosexuality to Taoists? I will struggling following a belief that condemns love. I know Buddhism is rather alright with it albeit there is no firm statement about it.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

Forget about beliefs. Concentrate on what benefits you (and others) and what is effective.

 

Not all Buddhist or Taoist schools are atheist exactly. For instance the Buddha recognised that gods exist but said that worship of them does not lead to liberation. However there are Buddhists who would classify themselves as atheist and the same goes for Taoist. For me its praxis first ... meditiation, qi gong, nei gong yoga or whatever you feel a connection to ... allow the process of actual experience to educate you in terms of ideas about the nature of things. When I say forget beliefs ... there is nothing wrong with using ideas to define for yourself what you are doing ... but don't cling to them ... Some people talk about god but have a sophisticated view of the nature of divinity which is closer to Tao and so on. For them that's the way to talk ... maybe not for you.

 

Homosexuality ... well if you read old Buddhist texts then they do define certain acts as sexual misconduct. This could be read as being against gay sex. As far as I know there is no equivalent in Taoism (but stand to be corrected). There is a debate (including on here) about whether gay sex is ok energetically and if the lifestyle is healthy. These would be the Taoist concerns I suppose. In my view a lot of this is ill considered along the lines of its different so its wrong ... which is clearly at best lazy thinking and at worst discrimination.

 

I agree with whoever said forget the labels. Its not necessary to pigeon hole yourself. Just see yourself as someone who is learning and then just see what helps you.

 

Just my thoughts of course.

 

:)

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Homosexuality ... well if you read old Buddhist texts then they do define certain acts as sexual misconduct. This could be read as being against gay sex. As far as I know there is no equivalent in Taoism (but stand to be corrected). There is a debate (including on here) about whether gay sex is ok energetically and if the lifestyle is healthy. These would be the Taoist concerns I suppose. In my view a lot of this is ill considered along the lines of its different so its wrong ... which is clearly at best lazy thinking and at worst discrimination.

 

 

This is what Mantak Chia says about the subject (from his book Taoists Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy). Just popped into my head, so I thought I might as well share it:

 

Chia: The Taoists are too wise to condemn anything outright, as everything leads back to the Tao. So the question really is how can it be against nature, or the Tao, if the Tao created it? Homosexuality is not against the Tao, but it is also not the highest experience of the Tao possible. It's impossible to experience the full balance of male-female polarity with homosexual love. The subtle energies are lacking and you can't create something if the raw materials are absent. The highest harmony of yin and yang cannot be achieved. It depends on how far on the spiritual path you wish to proceed. If you go deep enough into meditation you may cultivate your opposite polar energy within. But then your homosexual love life might disrupt that balance, so you would constantly be correcting it. The problem is greater for two men than for two women, because their double yang energy is too expansive and more easily leads to conflict. A double yin energy can be harmonious, as yin is yielding, but neither woman will experience deepest fulfillment. Both cases can lead to subtle organ imbalances that require attention if best health is to be maintained. The situation for male homosexuals can be somewhat ameliorated if the men seek alternate sources of yin energy. They could eat more yin food, spend more time with female friends and work in the garden cultivating earth chi. You can also absorb energy directly from the earth by lying face down on the ground and meditating, drawing it into your penis and hands. This might help if it were done before or after sex. If you wish to practice semen retention and find yourself in rapidly changing male homosexual relationships, I advise you to become celibate for a period and attempt to gain stability through intensive single cultivation using the Big Draw and Meditation.

Edited by madMUHHH

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Forget the labels and just BE

 

I Am just a Human Being, Simply being Human; I am not what any path I walk entitles me to call myself, but I Am a Human Being entitled to walk all paths.

 

 

 

 

My signature is usually full of more wisdom than my posts.

 

 

Often i will enter a thread just to BS but when i leave, i read my signature and realize...

 

 

 

It has something that applies to everything! :lol:

 

 

 

Well except deer furries... sorry dude...ette? deer or BUCK? LOL :lol:

Edited by Northern Avid Judo Ant

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Personally I like not fitting in one group. Makes me feel on my toes, free (and, obligated) to alter my beliefs when I realise I was wrong or come across a new idea.

 

If someone asks what I believe, I'll just say 'more or less Buddhism' for a quick answer without a philosophy lecture LOL.

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I wonder if claiming to be an anything-ist doesn't actually disbar one.

Taoist or example as in 'I am a Taoist' .

How?

OK maybe some Taoist priest in one of those odd hats out in Taiwan. Fair play I'd say their claim holds water.

Same for the Dalai Lama claiming to be a Buddhist, he has first call.

Those guys were born and raised to their 'ist' .

But the likes of us here in the west , are we just playing at it?

And if we are, where's the harm?

I dunno

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I wonder if claiming to be an anything-ist doesn't actually disbar one. Taoist or example as in 'I am a Taoist' . How? OK maybe some Taoist priest in one of those odd hats out in Taiwan. Fair play I'd say their claim holds water. Same for the Dalai Lama claiming to be a Buddhist, he has first call. Those guys were born and raised to their 'ist' . But the likes of us here in the west , are we just playing at it? And if we are, where's the harm? I dunno

 

Yeah I think most are playing, most of us Westerners get given a Christian based psyche which is most strongly dominated by Christian ideas and symbols before we are old enough to have a say in the matter, even if we never even go to Church or like Christianity. The Irish are lucky in that they never got Romanised so they kept a certain amount of their Celtic roots so they can enjoy the craic a bit more and retain a bit more naturalness.

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There are several organized Daoist sects, which I'm sure have a lot of specific beliefs and rules including deities (notably Laozi redefined as a God). But none of them, as far as we know, existed before 142 C.E., 500 years after the Laozi (as Daodejing was then known) and the Zhuangzi were pulled together. So you shouldn't feel bound by their details.

 

Before the Celestial Masters, there is no sign of deities as we know them in Daoism. That was an innovation they brought, coincidentally (or not?) right about the time that Buddhism reached China from India. Just like Daoism, it seems that Buddha was not a deity at first but over time this may have slipped.

 

If you need a label, you can always define yourself as a Zhuangist following the Zhuangzi; I don't know of any tradition that deifies him. ;-)

Edited by Mark Saltveit

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Oh the gods. Yeah there are many. haha

 

I don't know any Taoist or Buddhist who worship the gods. That would be foolish and will be an attachment to the skandha of form.

 

In Buddhism and Taoism, you're taught there are many realms of beings. Ironically, some of them are called gods which you can become reincarnated as one.

 

Living in the West or Western based society, when you hear stuff about gods, you think of these fake beings made from the imagination of people. So of course, you'll deny their existence. It becomes worse when you just left a religion such as Christianity then the ideas of gods makes you angry towards it.

 

I don't even deny any existence of the gods because to me, it would be foolish. I mean there's thousands perhaps millions of species of animals on this earth but when you make it to beings of other dimension, planets, you can't think in such terms. To me, it's hilarious.

Edited by malikshreds

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Many great replies here, thanks!

 

I grew up in an old-world Italian home with catholic values and I detest Western religion. I have claimed myself atheist at the age of 11 but after my visit to China and visiting the giant Buddha in Leshan, it really opened my eyes to Eastern beliefs. My girlfriend reckons we are Taoists, and I just felt weird 'cherry-picking' beliefs. I do not believe in reincarnation, however I do not deny that it is a possibility. It just felt wrong choosing what I believed in and denying a big part of Buddhism.

 

Apech, it seems like Yin-Yin relationships (which is what I am in) are more stablized and seems as if the Yang relationships have more.... "issues" for a lack of better word as far as the Tao is considered. I suppose that gives me a relief, much better than being thrown BS by Western religions haha.

 

Also Flolf, that I am! Arctic Wolf~ I'll send ya a PM!

 

Back on topic, I suppose I have much more to learn.

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Apech, it seems like Yin-Yin relationships (which is what I am in) are more stablized and seems as if the Yang relationships have more.... "issues" for a lack of better word as far as the Tao is considered. I suppose that gives me a relief, much better than being thrown BS by Western religions haha.

 

All relationships have specific issues I think. Tell me a yin-yang relationship which doesn't have issues LOL. In fact that's almost the point in a way ... some people think compatibility looks like a kind a calm sameness or something ... but I think compatibility (between people in relationships) can look ... in fact probably should look very dynamic ... like a dance I suppose, and sometimes a fight. All else is a kind of abstract deception. Otherwise we are dead. If qigong, nei gong or whatever have any virtue then it is in dealing with a (possibly) infinite variety of relations and inter-relations, gay, straight and so on.

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There are several organized Daoist sects, which I'm sure have a lot of specific beliefs and rules including deities (notably Laozi redefined as a God). But none of them, as far as we know, existed before 142 C.E., 500 years after the Laozi (as Daodejing was then known) and the Zhuangzi were pulled together. So you shouldn't feel bound by their details.

 

If one traces the history of populations, they are roughly like; Plains > Tribes > Villages > State Formations > States > Country.

 

It should not be that big a surprise that large scale movements did not occur until they evolved to be a Country as most of the previous periods are very strong xenophobia; and anyone not of your tribe is a foreigner. So the best we can say is there has always been beliefs in spirits and gods among various tribes and villages early on. And we know that tribes held common beliefs and practiced together, danced together, had shaman's as intercessors to the spirit world, etc. By the time of the Shang period, the kings took over the divination to a large degree and called upon 'the spirits and gods', including the west and east mother (female deities). This is all attested by archeology and oracle bones.

 

 

Before the Celestial Masters, there is no sign of deities as we know them in Daoism. That was an innovation they brought, coincidentally (or not?) right about the time that Buddhism reached China from India. Just like Daoism, it seems that Buddha was not a deity at first but over time this may have slipped.

 

There were many more deities than we realize. The reason we don't read so much about it is because there was not formal group called Daoist/Daoism... but if one looks at the State level, it is there. I think there is a very strong argument that LZ came out of Chu and if one studies Chu, it is full of deities and shamanistic beliefs. They were feared by the north and called 'superstitious' due to their beliefs. Archaeology has pictures of the gods and spirits in writings and poems of Chu.

 

I don't disagree concerning how Daoism was partly (maybe mostly) a reaction to Buddhism and it is not coincidental that the movement took hold in the time it did.

 

 

If you need a label, you can always define yourself as a Zhuangist following the Zhuangzi; I don't know of any tradition that deifies him. ;-)

 

But let's not forget that ZZ talked of the Xian Ren (immortals). He also mentions the West Mother mentioned in the oracle bones. This is the Queen Mother of the West, Xi Wang Mu.

Edited by dawei

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Many great replies here, thanks!

 

I grew up in an old-world Italian home with catholic values and I detest Western religion. I have claimed myself atheist at the age of 11 but after my visit to China and visiting the giant Buddha in Leshan, it really opened my eyes to Eastern beliefs. My girlfriend reckons we are Taoists, and I just felt weird 'cherry-picking' beliefs. I do not believe in reincarnation, however I do not deny that it is a possibility. It just felt wrong choosing what I believed in and denying a big part of Buddhism.

 

Apech, it seems like Yin-Yin relationships (which is what I am in) are more stablized and seems as if the Yang relationships have more.... "issues" for a lack of better word as far as the Tao is considered. I suppose that gives me a relief, much better than being thrown BS by Western religions haha.

 

Also Flolf, that I am! Arctic Wolf~ I'll send ya a PM!

 

Back on topic, I suppose I have much more to learn.

......

Nothing wrong in cherry picking beliefs.

Cherries are nice and most people as adults decide to believe in whatever it is that they do believe in.

Where churchgoing still happens in the west kids tend to be taken along until they are old enough not to have to go then they stop.

Some go back later in life either to that same church or maybe into something new.

It's all good.

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Grow ya roots deep in the earth and let ya branches touch the sky Originally Tao was a school of thought that worshipped no deitys, then Da Mo {Bodidharma} came along and mix buddhist religion with Taoist Thinkin and came up with Zen Buddhaism. So Zen is actually a mixture of Tao and Buddhism.

 

As for the tao view of homosexuality it is my understanding that, the tao leaves it up to the individual as to what his/her sexual orientation is. There are certain groups of taoist tho' that advocates certain practices like refraining from sex altogether.

 

If you are gay embrace it and be who you are. and whether you are taoist or buddhist be who you be, :D

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Why do you want to fall into one category or another? Is labeling yourself that important? Can't you just be as you are? You should only believe in what you experience, don't put so much emphasis on other people experiences, which is BTW what all religious dogmas consist of. In both Taoism and Buddhism, the most important thing is practice. Just meditate and the reality that lies beyond the eyes will reveal itself to you and you will be able to judge for yourself which religion is right if any truly is. If none is right then you will still be able to define your faith based on your experience and that is more than most people can say

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