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fatherpaul

taoist practice vs taoist thought

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having studied for 25 years (not that that means anything)

 

the core "teachings of the Tao Ti Ching" seem to hold no reference

to physical practice being a path to better understanding of the tao, yet

it seems we assume once we attune our bodies we will understand

the tao, what say the bums?

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Gotta take care of the body, its where I live.

 

Besides I look to it as a microcosm of the Macrocosm. A big part of what I want is to feel nature's power and abundance echoing within my body, become more aware of the interplay of the elements within.

 

Michael

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Fatherpaul,

 

I've seen many alchemical sources that read TTC as a coded internal-alchemical text -- the latest I've held in my hands was by Chia, but he is not alone in this reading by any stretch of imagination. Some chapters are outright how-to manuals... it's just that no translation gives you this, you have to read "around it" and practice "with it" to understand the alchemical meaning of its terms like "mysterious female" and "valley spirit" and "know the white but keep the black" and "careful like ice about to melt" and "being comes from nonbeing" and so on. Far as its "thought," it's a simple message to the socially powerful admonishing them to not abuse their power. Far as its "practice," it's a complex message to the alchemist about getting out of the powerless state and accumulating true power (the only sensible translation of the title is The Way And Its Power or, even better and closer, The Way Of Power) regardless of what the socially powerful are going to do with theirs.

 

Taoist "practice" is never limited to the body and never leaves the body out, far as I've been able to discern. Taoist "thought" is therefore an oxymoron.

Edited by Taomeow

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having studied for 25 years (not that that means anything)

 

the core "teachings of the Tao Ti Ching" seem to hold no reference

to physical practice being a path to better understanding of the tao, yet

it seems we assume once we attune our bodies we will understand

the tao, what say the bums?

 

"Physical body" is a notion of the mind. Just like "the mind" is also a notion of the mind.

 

If you investigate the root of mind, you will unravel everything and unlock all secrets deep within the empty and radiant core of your being.

 

But here is the thing. If you practice jogging and some calisthenics or some weight-lifting, you will be healthy in a relative sense, even if you have no wisdom at all. That's a big boon. That means even without any wisdom you can have some immediate benefit.

 

On the other hand, if you have wisdom, you can manifest any body you want without ever bothering to exercise it. And in fact, if you are that unattached to a particular form of body that you can change it so readily, do you think you'd still care about a healthy body that much? What would the notion of "health" even mean to someone like that? Certainly not anything people commonly talk about when they discuss "health".

 

But that kind of wisdom is rare and hard to come by (or so it seems...... it's all speculation anyway).

 

How can I explain it? If you have a piece of fire and you have no idea about matches, you have to preserve it and keep it from burning out. You have to hang onto that fire like dear life. On the other hand, once you learn about matches and know where you can always get more matches, you can light the fire only when you need it, and you'd not be alarmed or scared if it burned out.

 

Wisdom is actually very easy to come by. :) But people refuse. People want to have systems of thought. People want to follow something or someone. As long as that's the case, a person cannot relax in their natural sphere of experience. As long as that's the case a person really over-assigns meaning to sense-fields. But if you see meaninglessness as just another kind of meaning, and thereby have a relaxed attitude toward meaning, then you are loose in how meaning gets imputed onto sense-fields. And in that case, you don't have anything on your TODO list and you have nothing that you have to specifically avoid. You cannot understand why discipline is good, since you abandon straightforward cause-effect thinking, seeing its flaws. Understanding pure randomness as just another face of cause-effect cognition, how can you possibility fall for nihilism?

 

In that case, even if you try to work very hard, you will relax. If you try to fall asleep, you cannot. If you try to relax -- same thing -- you cannot. Don't try to relax. Just reflect on the root of mind without too much discipline.

 

Meanwhile, you can do a little exercise. It doesn't hurt anything. Or not.

 

Another way you can think about it is in terms of jewelry. Does it matter what rings you wear? It's a matter of taste, but it's not essential. Healthy body is the shiny jewelry of mind. It's shiny and glitzy, like a polished faceted ruby! Nothing wrong with shine... shine is cute, but it's not more than shine though... It's not key.

 

Llalalal... ok enough fun.

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http://www.taoist.org/english/lineage.php

 

this seems to shed some light on the subject.

 

however it seems the physical practice came later,

that the "understanding" was available with or without

the physical practice. the sage who understood the tao

naturally leaned toward a healthy lifestyle, then this

way of being was copied by followers.

no matter, to this one, it is the actual contact

that is important, i do no routine, yet i remain

flexible and supple even at 58.

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I do no routine, yet i remain

flexible and supple even at 58.

Yes but do you get carded when you buy booze? :D

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Whatever shape the body is in, beyond pride, there is no other purpose to note it.

 

Of course convention places great value on various features, and these conventional values constantly change. But people like Chuang Tzu did their damnedest to get people away from convention. "The vast universe is not vast, and the small particles that make up the universe are not small", etc. The ancient so and so immortal had short life, and so and so who died as a baby had long life. These quotes are all over the places in Chuang Tzu. They're there for a reason. They are hinting at something.

 

Or how about when some dude was chasing an unknown taoist called "human no name" and asked how to govern the universe? Human no name told him to stick his question where the sun doesn't shine. :) But this guy was stubborn, so finally human no name relented and told him that everything is already perfectly governed and that you don't need to govern it yourself on top of that. :) Does anyone bother reading this?

 

All the exercise, be it gross or subtle... if it strays from these points, is worthless from a Taoist perspective.

 

Tao is not what we think and nor is it beyond mind. "Beyond mind" is just an idea of mind. There is nothing actually beyond mind. Whatever you imagine is beyond your mind is just that -- your imagination. It's speculative in nature.

 

Yes, you may have found your Tao and are supple in your old age. That doesn't mean anything though. Someone else could be much more in tune with Tao and yet not be supple at all. Mountains are as much tao as air. Air is supple. Mountains are rigid and brittle. All this is expression of Tao. If you don't see all expressions as equally valid expressions of Tao then you are blind in one eye and only see a half of the truth.

 

 

By the way, I don't mean to knock pride. Pride is only dangerous if the person doesn't understand what pride is and bases his/her intentions on misconceptions of pride.

 

If you see pride for what it is, you can burst with pride and it won't do any harm. You can also see that pride and humility are no different. Only overly proud people think pride is substantially different from humility. :)

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Fatherpaul,

 

I've seen many alchemical sources that read TTC as a coded internal-alchemical text -- the latest I've held in my hands was by Chia, but he is not alone in this reading by any stretch of imagination. Some chapters are outright how-to manuals... it's just that no translation gives you this, you have to read "around it" and practice "with it" to understand the alchemical meaning of its terms like "mysterious female" and "valley spirit" and "know the white but keep the black" and "careful like ice about to melt" and "being comes from nonbeing" and so on. Far as its "thought," it's a simple message to the socially powerful admonishing them to not abuse their power. Far as its "practice," it's a complex message to the alchemist about getting out of the powerless state and accumulating true power (the only sensible translation of the title is The Way And Its Power or, even better and closer, The Way Of Power) regardless of what the socially powerful are going to do with theirs.

 

Taoist "practice" is never limited to the body and never leaves the body out, far as I've been able to discern. Taoist "thought" is therefore an oxymoron.

 

This is probably true to some extent, however these techniques are useless at best and dangerous at worst when utilized out of context. I think this is one of the main problems in pop-taoism. Translations are taken for face value, or even for there encrypted practical meaning, when you are missing the foundation information and theory in the specific tradition from which the translated info was lifted. And that is a good way to waste time, go insane or even cause yourself some serious bodily harm.

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This is probably true to some extent, however these techniques are useless at best and dangerous at worst when utilized out of context. I think this is one of the main problems in pop-taoism. Translations are taken for face value, or even for there encrypted practical meaning, when you are missing the foundation information and theory in the specific tradition from which the translated info was lifted. And that is a good way to waste time, go insane or even cause yourself some serious bodily harm.

 

I couldn't agree more. Hence my mantra, chanted at various times at various forums on assorted occasions and almost invariably to the chagrin of a sizable percentage of practitioners and non-practitioners alike:

teacher! lineage! the real thing! from scratch! nothing out of context! no "creativity" till later (years later or decades later!) when the basics have been repaired! don't play with fire until you know where the fire extinguisher is stored, don't play with water until you have grown gills, don't play with wood until you have learned to absorb nutrients through your roots, don't play with earth until you can spin at her exact pace! Don't play with tao until she invites you to play... don't force your games on her... she's not interested.

 

This said, taoist practice is taoist practice, and the mere fact that pop taoists (most of whom are really new agers and/or Christians in Laozi's or Zhuangzi's sheepskin) have a tendency to mess it up doesn't invalidate the fact that taoism IS, and has always been, a practice. The idea to approach it as a "philosophy" is a new agey idea that has never been around in the six thousand years of taoism's prior existence. Well, it is now. Welcome to the creative world of "anything goes as long as I say so." The most popular belief system, the most popular philosophy and practice of them all...

 

(A hissing cat hisses to cleanse her Liver, for 'tis the Healing Sound for the Liver, is all, no offense meant to anyone personally.)

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Yes but do you get carded when you buy booze? :D

 

every so often

 

Whatever shape the body is in, beyond pride, there is no other purpose to note it.

 

Of course convention places great value on various features, and these conventional values constantly change. But people like Chuang Tzu did their damnedest to get people away from convention. "The vast universe is not vast, and the small particles that make up the universe are not small", etc. The ancient so and so immortal had short life, and so and so who died as a baby had long life. These quotes are all over the places in Chuang Tzu. They're there for a reason. They are hinting at something.

 

Or how about when some dude was chasing an unknown taoist called "human no name" and asked how to govern the universe? Human no name told him to stick his question where the sun doesn't shine. :) But this guy was stubborn, so finally human no name relented and told him that everything is already perfectly governed and that you don't need to govern it yourself on top of that. :) Does anyone bother reading this?All the exercise, be it gross or subtle... if it strays from these points, is worthless from a Taoist perspective.Tao is not what we think and nor is it beyond mind. "Beyond mind" is just an idea of mind. There is nothing actually beyond mind. Whatever you imagine is beyond your mind is just that -- your imagination. It's speculative in nature.

 

Yes, you may have found your Tao and are supple in your old age. That doesn't mean anything though. Someone else could be much more in tune with Tao and yet not be supple at all. Mountains are as much tao as air. Air is supple. Mountains are rigid and brittle. All this is expression of Tao. If you don't see all expressions as equally valid expressions of Tao then you are blind in one eye and only see a half of the truth.

By the way, I don't mean to knock pride. Pride is only dangerous if the person doesn't understand what pride is and bases his/her intentions on misconceptions of pride.

 

If you see pride for what it is, you can burst with pride and it won't do any harm. You can also see that pride and humility are no different. Only overly proud people think pride is substantially different from humility. :)

 

this speaks for itself

 

 

good response

 

(forgive my apparent boasting, it was merely a point of reference)

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my point is simply this

that mastery of the body is good

but will never bring one to an understanding of ones self

 

but it will bring good health

so you can be a healthy ignorant

or an unhealthy non-ignorant

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Taoist practice is taoist thought

 

taoist thought is taoist practice.

 

There is no "thought" in Taoist "practice".

 

Taoist practice is an art of doing.

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I would like to believe that a parapalegic may be an evolved or an evolving Taoist practicioner.

 

I tend to think of everything as stemming from the imagination-which seems to have a deep & abiding connection to the creative energies I hope to harness this creative energy for my painting, poetry and music...Which are now the crux of my Taoist practice and intentions...

 

I do not seek the more typical paths to immortality. I seek the creative expression that I feel passes through me from the source of my energy and inspiration. I intend these works to manifest as my true attempts at being one with all. I have no way of knowing if or even how this process works. But it is fine with me to attempt my life's path along this route...

 

It has chosen me as much as I have chosen it- much like how love works in us, so does the drive to be creative with our energies leads us to giving our selves up as tools for our muses to use. This is my path to losing my ego. I can anly hope that one day it will be seen as such.

 

Most artists are seen as egoists, many are -but lots of us have given our selves up to the glory of our spiritual selves -kinda like the classical guys who worked for the glory of their Gods....But modern.

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I would like to believe that a parapalegic may be an evolved or an evolving Taoist practicioner.

 

Why of course. If he or she practices internal alchemy, why not? However, the first thing that would happen to an evolving taoist paraplegic would be mastery of qi that would end paraplegia. Bruce Kumar Frantzis is a good example -- he broke his spine in a car accident, and healed himself with taoist practice.

 

I wonder where the idea that taoist practice is "body practice" comes from. Taoist practice is a body-mind-spirit-lifestyle deal... nothing is left out. You leave out the body, you automatically leave out the mind of tao -- for in the taoist paradigm, thought is shen, born of qi, born of jing, born of the body. It translates into "no way to have the mind of tao in the non-tao body." Even a body sick with a common cold can't have the mind of tao. Tao is immune to disease...

 

Interestingly enough, the classic concept of unity with tao is "ti tao" -- which means "to emBODY tao," not to "enMIND." But there's no difference between the mind of tao and the body of tao, really. Between the human mind and the human body, there is. Eliminating this difference is what taoist practice is about... not about "adding" or "eliminating" the body! :D

 

Hatred of the body is an Indo-European tradition, of which taoism is not part.

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Unable to retain zhen ( sexual energy) in your body ( especially when you are in deep sleep) , whatever physical practice you do is doomed to be fruitless ;

 

Similarly , unable to retain zhen ( sexual energy) in your body, whatever spiritual accomplishment you want to achieve is groundless .

 

The taoist practice , in a final word , is your ability / persistence in creeping over endless layers of "emptiness " and nourishing from that pool of still water a "lively dragon " .

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Taoist thought , without geniune , provable taoist practice ,will inevitably degenerated into some kind of philosophical bullshit . Such kind of unfortunate outcome is fully demonstrated to us in the history of Chinese Zen.

Edited by exorcist_1699

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my point is simply this

that mastery of the body is good

but will never bring one to an understanding of ones self

 

but it will bring good health

so you can be a healthy ignorant

or an unhealthy non-ignorant

 

speaking from personal experience it is my belief that mastery of the body is one of the paths to mastery of the consciousness. for those of you who are familiar with the bodily sensations of chi i recommend investigating the sensations in the upper tan tien when certain thoughts arrive. with time your emotional mind is silenced because you learn to feel the onset of your emotions. (for those of you interested in knowing how to feel thoughts i recommend researching the bon tradition of dzogchen).

 

one step closer to wu wei. responsiveness; effortlessness; unobtrusiveness. such is the tao.

 

i understand where you are coming from Fatherpaul as 'he who nourishes the soul forgets the body' but you must understand that there are many paths to the tao. the tao is not discriminatory towards those who cultivate spiritually in one way or another. it is the correct intention that helps us onto the path. what is the correct intention? that's the secret.

 

quantumly speaking, information is energy. 'ignoring knowledge is sickness'. know this.

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speaking from personal experience it is my belief that mastery of the body is one of the paths to mastery of the consciousness. for those of you who are familiar with the bodily sensations of chi i recommend investigating the sensations in the upper tan tien when certain thoughts arrive. with time your emotional mind is silenced because you learn to feel the onset of your emotions. (for those of you interested in knowing how to feel thoughts i recommend researching the bon tradition of dzogchen).

 

one step closer to wu wei. responsiveness; effortlessness; unobtrusiveness. such is the tao.

 

i understand where you are coming from Fatherpaul as 'he who nourishes the soul forgets the body' but you must understand that there are many paths to the tao. the tao is not discriminatory towards those who cultivate spiritually in one way or another. it is the correct intention that helps us onto the path. what is the correct intention? that's the secret.

 

quantumly speaking, information is energy. 'ignoring knowledge is sickness'. know this.

 

no path can lead to a living thing

the unspoken tao is a living thing

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I hope to harness this creative energy for my painting, poetry and music...Which are now the crux of my Taoist practice and intentions...

 

Beautifully put.

 

I wonder where the idea that taoist practice is "body practice" comes from. Taoist practice is a body-mind-spirit-lifestyle deal... nothing is left out.

 

My hunch says from a dualistic perspective preserved in the foundations of western society.

 

However when body and mind are re-united... how could there be such a thing as body or mind practice when there is no separation... everything is right on.

 

Spectrum

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