Rocco

Buddhist View on Taoist Practices?

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I would like to know the Buddhist view on Taoist practices like the Microcosmic Orbit, the Six Healing Sounds and/or the Inner Smile and other Taoist Neigong Practices in general.

 

Do Buddhists use them, too or do they rather abstain from such kind of training? If so, why?

Thank you!!

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I can't speak for all "Buddhists" but I have experience with Daoist and Bön Buddhist practices.

There are some deep similarities between Daoist neigong practices and tantric and dzogchen practices. 

Bönpos do sound work (5 Warrior Syllables).

There are inner practices very similar to Inner Smile...

Lot's of overlap between Daoist practices and the Vajrayana and Dzogchen schools.

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Taoism is the same as (Chinese) Buddhism but with less focus on body in some chan traditions. Generally there are some buddhist ming practices or qigong practices, but those ming practices are either lost or not complete. 

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To favour non-buddhist teachings would be one of the 46 bodhisattva's secondary downfalls in Mahayana.

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To favour non-buddhist teachings would be one of the 46 bodhisattva's secondary downfalls in Mahayana.

 

The most important Zen Buddhist master after Dogen, Hakuin, narrates in "Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin" the story of contracting a severe illness brought about by the austerities of his most dedicated Buddhist practice, and being unable to get help from any sources, spiritual or medical.  He was going to die, but then he was told there's a taoist hermit living in the mountains who may be the only one who can help.  Hakuin made the desperate and difficult journey to the hermit's abode.  The next chapter is dedicated to the taoist explaining to Hakuin the nature of his illness and the practices to cure it.  Hakuin promptly got better and then completely well, and proceeded to teach, promote, and revitalize Zen for many decades, but he mentions that he practiced what the taoist gave him for the rest of his life.  There was no "downfall" -- only prudence that benefited everyone involved.

 

True story. :) 

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I knew the story Taomeow, and in fact some people interpret this downfall as related to philosophical teachings and not to practical spiritual exercises.

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I knew the story Taomeow, and in fact some people interpret this downfall as related to philosophical teachings and not to practical spiritual exercises.

 

This would require getting used to a cognitive dissonance, no?  I mean, taoist practical spiritual exercises are not separate from taoist philosophy in any way.  But then, it's the trademark of taoism, taoist is as taoist does, not as taoist thinks or speaks.  :)  In any event, I cited the story as an example of a wise Buddhist's approach to these matters, and perhaps it is not so much a cognitive dissonance as a wise man's ability to tolerate ambiguity that the unwise ones don't know how. 

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I'm not daoist nor Buddhist, but as far as I understand, people are used to this types cognitive dissonance in almost all kind of religions.

 

In this scenario, being wise is about not caring too much about the rules

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I'm not daoist nor Buddhist, but as far as I understand, people are used to this types cognitive dissonance in almost all kind of religions.

 

In this scenario, being wise is about not caring too much about the rules

 

The wisdom of Chief Wiggum of The Simpsons:

"Ralphie, if your nose starts bleeding, it means you are picking it too much.  Or not enough."

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Hehe

 

In any case, the practice that Hakuin was taught is considered a basic tantric exercise in almost every tibetan vajrayana sect: in fact, it's an energy movement present in the vajrasattva sadhanas.

 

So, one doesn't really need to take a non-Buddhist practice. Yet, from the story it appears evident that the Hakuin sect didn't have important instructions to deal with cultivation problems...

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If Hakuin would practice buddhism he would not have such a problems but those problems bring great methods and insight. Sometimes pressure hurts but it can benefit progress of attaining knowledge/methods.

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The most important Zen Buddhist master after Dogen, Hakuin, narrates in "Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin" the story of contracting a severe illness brought about by the austerities of his most dedicated Buddhist practice, and being unable to get help from any sources, spiritual or medical.  He was going to die, but then he was told there's a taoist hermit living in the mountains who may be the only one who can help.  Hakuin made the desperate and difficult journey to the hermit's abode.  The next chapter is dedicated to the taoist explaining to Hakuin the nature of his illness and the practices to cure it.  Hakuin promptly got better and then completely well, and proceeded to teach, promote, and revitalize Zen for many decades, but he mentions that he practiced what the taoist gave him for the rest of his life.  There was no "downfall" -- only prudence that benefited everyone involved.

 

True story. :)

 

I think the key here is very obvious as to why this imbalance came about in the first place: the use of the word 'austerities' in itself shows a lack of understanding of the most basic of Buddhist precepts, which is the middle way - the way of no extremes. Buddha himself found the ascetic path non conducive to the objective of reaching liberation from suffering. If such practices lead to an imbalance sufficient to have caused illness in a practitioner, this would be indicative that he was not following the correct practices and therefore straying from the Buddha Dharma. I realise that Buddha set extremely high standards in terms of spiritual practice, but his own disciples would presumably have had the time to adapt to his rhythm and methods, whereas later offshoots in the different schools of Buddhism aside from the Mahayana school have each obviously devised their own methods and interpretations of the Buddha Dharma, and in the case of Tibetan Buddhism also absorbed outside influences such as shamanism, and Japanese Buddhism probably influences derived from Shinto. In the Sutras Buddha explains the reasons for these other school's existence and how he manifests through them. 

 

David (Vajramantra)

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I think the key here is very obvious as to why this imbalance came about in the first place: the use of the word 'austerities' in itself shows a lack of understanding of the most basic of Buddhist precepts, which is the middle way - the way of no extremes. Buddha himself found the ascetic path non conducive to the objective of reaching liberation from suffering. If such practices lead to an imbalance sufficient to have caused illness in a practitioner, this would be indicative that he was not following the correct practices and therefore straying from the Buddha Dharma. I realise that Buddha set extremely high standards in terms of spiritual practice, but his own disciples would presumably have had the time to adapt to his rhythm and methods, whereas later offshoots in the different schools of Buddhism aside from the Mahayana school have each obviously devised their own methods and interpretations of the Buddha Dharma, and in the case of Tibetan Buddhism also absorbed outside influences such as shamanism, and Japanese Buddhism probably influences derived from Shinto. In the Sutras Buddha explains the reasons for these other school's existence and how he manifests through them. 

 

David (Vajramantra)

 

 

You're talking about what (some) Buddhists think about other (different) Buddhists' practices.  This answers the question of the thread even better than actually addressing it. :D   

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If Hakuin would practice buddhism he would not have such a problems but those problems bring great methods and insight. Sometimes pressure hurts but it can benefit progress of attaining knowledge/methods.

 

There goes all of Japan's zen tradition down the drain.  The second most important Zen Buddhist master was, turns out, not practicing Buddhism.  

 

No wonder the Japanese imperial family are Roman Catholics.  :D 

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There goes all of Japan's zen tradition down the drain. The second most important Zen Buddhist master was, turns out, not practicing Buddhism.

 

No wonder the Japanese imperial family are Roman Catholics. :D

Curiously, the White House Chief of Staff recently said that Obama is the "most Catholic" of all US Presidents.
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Even if historians doubt the historicity of this, it is interesting to quote the description of the cave inhabited for the ascetic (some call him a Sennin, xianren in mandarin) made by Hakuin:

The interior of the cave was small, not more than five feet square, and, except for a small desk, there was
no sign of household articles or other furnishings of any kind. On top of the desk, I could see three scrolls of writing-The Doctrine of the Mean, Lao Tzu, and the Diamond Sutra.

 

Interestingly, Hakuin was diagnosed by the model of Chinese medicine.

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Buddhists would love to chop off some taoist top knots. Basically, what they think is not enough baldness

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I've always found advaita pretty Orwellian.  But elaborations would belong in a thread "Taoist views on Buddhist interpretations of Hinduism." 

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The Venerable Master Hsu Yun wrote the Song of a Skin Bag in expression of this fact. But this type of immortal puts all his energy into developing this kind of skill. They don't know that they should put that effort into developing the self-nature. So the difference between Taoism and Buddhism is that the former uses effort on what is apparent and the latter uses effort on what is not apparent. So one has an attachment and the other doesn't. That's the difference.

Actually, the way of the immortals and the Buddhist Way are similar. The point is that one is involved in attachments and the other is not. The kind of skill these immortals develop is basically all right, but they get attached to it. They become totally engrossed in appearances. Because of that they have a hindrance. They feel they have to do things in a certain way. Because they have this hang-up, they cannot get completely out of the cycle of rebirth. They don't gain ultimate understanding and release

 

 

Taoism = Buddhism generally. 

 

Buddha knew all ways of immortality and taught to couple of arhants in sutras so... Taoism = Buddhism

Edited by SeekerOfHealing

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Actually, the way of the immortals and the Buddhist Way are similar. The point is that one is involved in attachments and the other is not. The kind of skill these immortals develop is basically all right, but they get attached to it. They become totally engrossed in appearances. Because of that they have a hindrance. They feel they have to do things in a certain way. Because they have this hang-up, they cannot get completely out of the cycle of rebirth. They don't gain ultimate understanding and release

 

Being the Shurangama sutra a Chinese apocrypha is not strange that some paragraphs were against Daoism.

 

On the other hand, what I was thinking about related to the Hakuin story is that if some individual has books pertaining to the three teachings then he must be a Daoist, be it quan zhen, nan zong, wuliu or some other daoist school but buddhist or confucianist doing the same were more scarce. Only neoconfucianism endevoured something similar to a syntesis between the three teachings.

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"Journey to the West" tells the story of exporting Buddhism to China.  It was the decision of taoist gods to let it happen -- of course they never would have allowed it if there was nothing in it for them, after all taoism predates Buddhism by four thousand years, and they would need a very good incentive for letting the newcomers in.  They had it.  As always is the case with the powerful, it was a conspiracy.  They couldn't expel Monkey from their realm since he was one of them, his power nearly as great as that of the Jade Emperor himself, but he was such a nuisance that they had to figure out a way to get him to learn some manners.  So they made a deal with Buddha who managed to successfully trick Monkey and seal him under a mountain for five hundred years with a fu.  In return Buddha got a good chunk of China, while the tianzun got a 500-year-long break. 

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