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Philosophical vs. religious Taoism - Split Discussion

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Hi. Search for these terms ('philosophical taoism', 'religious taoism', etc) in the Daoism subsection of the forum and you'll surely find a few topics that revolve around the subject. Or start your own topic, but I would suggest that this Welcome section isn't the best place for it.

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Hello ‚Äėteamdialectics‚Äô,

 

I find your ‚Äėphilosophy vs religion‚Äô Taoist divide something close to my own heart.

 

When you use the word ‚Äėwestern‚Äô, I assume that you have ‚Äėeastern‚Äô in mind ‚Äď another divide.

 

How about the ‚Äėpragmatism vs idealism‚Äô divide , and you find the answers for yourself by asking around ‚Äď like what you are doing now?

 

Best,

LimA

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As a beginner, I can tell you it is very confusing. There is much to learn about Chinese culture to understand better those concepts that I think, correct me if I am wrong, both dao jia and dao jiao were already mentioned in the book of history of Sima Qian. Then there is a plethora of books that gets more confused when there are lineages, school of thoughts and all the western literature and forums like this where in some cases you get lost in their imagination trying to interpret or even give commentaries of the the original text.

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Hi Mig,

 

Perhaps a beginner will encounter confusion in anything at their commencement.. 

 

Take heart - you are apparently a better beginner than myself. I am a hopeless ethnic Oriental (O). Why? I think as an Occidental (Oc) devoid of my roots at the beginning.

 

But I have hope - I am searching for myself through ancient eastern wisdom like Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism.

 

Used to think of O and Oc as a divide (O-Oc). Now - they are the flip-sides of the same coin (O/Oc).

 

I am now at peace with myself as a proverbial coin. Only have to sort myself out internally through learning which is lifelong.

 

When it comes to learning, there is not a perfect given that suits everyone as we are all at varied starting points. So know yourself and learn yourself - best with friends.

 

- LimA

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Hi Mig,

 

What are the difference(s) between 'dao jia and dao jiao'?

 

Some say we must embrace simplicity; so to me the difference between the two is a simple 'o'.

 

Can I think like that and be happy?

 

Pity the man who knows more, happy an absolute idiot.

 

I do not like to indulge in self-pity - so I don't want to know more than necessary.

 

'Need to know' - great as sometimes I can be very needy and I am forced to fish.

 

'Good to know' - I don't know what is good when I don't need anything. I am a practicing self-respecting simpleton.

 

- LimA

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Hello ‚Äėteamdialectics‚Äô,

 

It is never my intention to critical; please be rest assured that I am just trying to be practical.

 

The word 'few' appeared twice in your post - one too many?

 

Have noted that you posted on 1st April - are you a 'f..l'? If so, so am I - a daily one (not once a year).

 

If you are chuckling reading this, my foolish effort has not gone to waste.

 

Where I am now, it is 2:30am - time for bed.

 

Fyi - as a fool, I always pray that my sleep is dreamless, pity the man who knows more ...

 

Good night.

 

- LimA

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Hi All,

 

I was full of expectation that there would be a good debate between philosophical vs religious Taoism, but not as yet. I wonder why.

 

I am not looking for a high brow debate or any debate at all. I am more keen to know each and every perception per a road less traveled. 

 

I identify Taoism with Nature as I am part of it. But an apple tree is also part of Nature.

 

So do I embrace Taoism the way an apple tree does? 

 

To me an apple tree embraces Taoism statistically, and I dynamically.

 

Why the difference? I also embrace Buddhist impermanence.

 

Tomorrow I may look at an orange tree.and forget about the apple tree. But the latter will still be fruitful with apples.

 

- LimA

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I have had the discussion on the forum before.  I just didn't want to get another discussion of the concept  going here in this "Welcome" thread.

 

We all know that I am an Atheist so we all should know what my perspective would be in such a discussion.

 

One of the things I find most beautiful about Daoist Philosophy is that I can stand alone with no religious support or can be the background for incorporation with nearly any religion.

 

Yes, the apple tree is an apple tree.  They grow where they can.  It took the Israelis a long time to hybrid a apple tree that would grow in Israel.  But they now have an apple tree.

 

We humans can change our nature, an apple tree cannot except through evolution which takes a very long time.  But we humans can even change that.

 

Daoism is about the natural world as perceived by our senses and brain.  Change anything and we are messing with nature.  But I will not place value on this because many of our changes have been very beneficial.  But I will always question changing Daoist Philosophy by adding religion to the philosophy.

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Static: lacking in movement, action, or change, .... Often contrasted with dynamic : (of a process or system) characterized by constant change, activity, ...

 

An apple tree is deciduous (it loses its leaves in the fall), it flowers in spring, grows leaves and fruits through spring and summer. Both leaf and fruit growth are influenced by environmental conditions such as moisture availability, temperature, soil fertility etc.

My opinion is that the apple tree like you is dynamic, undergoing constant change.

 

I'm not so sure the change in human nature Marblehead suggests isn't evolution, but that's an entire discussion in itself.

 

Comparing apples to oranges is another conversation completely ...  

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As a farmer that is my ultimate goal, that is the fruits and vegetables of my labor promote health in their production and use as they are temporarily transformed to feces and another food source.

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I'm not so sure the change in human nature Marblehead suggests isn't evolution, but that's an entire discussion in itself.

 

 

Yep.  Different discussion all together.  (But a worthy one if anyone would like to start a thread on it.)

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As a farmer that is my ultimate goal, that is the fruits and vegetables of my labor promote health in their production and use as they are temporarily transformed to feces and another food source.

 

Sure, natural biological cycles.

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My apology for kicking off the 'philosophy vs religion' ball again.

 

Apology not needed.  It is a fair discussion and of interest to many of our members.

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I think the vast majority of people in the West (addon West implying (Europe & Americas.. non-Orient) who study and respect Taoism are philosophical.  Imo, unless you have an altar and observe their hierarchy of immortals and gods, you're in the philosophical camp.   Not a bad place to be.  

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¬† It has become a sinological dogma to distinguish between the so-called Taoist school (Daojia), said to have produced the classical mystical texts ‚Ķ, and the so-called Taoist religion (Daojiao), often said to have begun in the Later Han period [i.e., the 1st‚Äď2ndcenturies CE]. The successive¬†Daozang¬†[Daoist Canons] never made this distinction. When we look at the way the terms¬†Daojia¬†and¬†Daojiao¬†occur in the texts preserved in the Ming Canon [published in 1445], we see that they are practically synonymous and interchangeable.


There could be no better introduction to the present article than the passage quoted above from one of the main Western scholarly works on Daoism (or Taoism), even though it calls into question not only the relevance of this entry, but also the actual existence of its subject. Daoist texts do not speak of ‚Äúphilosophy‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúreligion‚ÄĚ, two words that do not even exist in the premodern Chinese language. They speak, instead, of what they call the ‚Äúhouse‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúfamily‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúlineage of the Dao‚ÄĚ (daojia; also translatable in the plural), and of what they call the ‚Äúteachings of the Dao‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúteachings on the Dao‚ÄĚ (daojiao). Daoists, who obviously have understood these terms in their literal senses, have seen them as defining the same entity: there cannot be ‚Äúteaching‚ÄĚ without ‚Äúlineage‚ÄĚ, and¬†vice versa.


Even if the term ‚Äúreligious Daoism‚ÄĚ is accepted, it is not clear which entity it should be considered.


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Hi Ming Jen,

 

Thank you for the posting.

 

Beautiful name. Ming = Clear/Bright? Jen = Person?

 

Appreciate the length you went through to share.

 

Will read your posting a few more times to have a better feel.

 

Actually I respect both 'religion' and 'philosophy' of Taoism. But I am trained in the sciences so I am more comfortable with the latter.

 

I am also comfortable with anyone's preferred path, so long as (s)he doesn't impress/press me with it.

 

So far my simple embrace of Taoism, in relation to Nature, has brought me peace and happiness in the context of:

(i) a family in search of Truths

(ii) the good company of a few close friends

 

I can't ask for more; I don't need more.

 

I thank The Divine for blessing me with my chosen embrace of Taoism.

 

- LimA

Edited by Limahong
Correct typo error.
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Hi All,

 

I was full of expectation that there would be a good debate between philosophical vs religious Taoism, but not as yet. I wonder why.

 

....

 

 

Many interesting debates had already staged before, but not all audience came in time to watch them .Not all actors are interested in repeating their dialogue even they know that they can earn some applause . Besides, you  get a not so detailed  feedback when trying to key  in some words in search for previous  information on this site .., for example, I can't find quite a big chunk of what I wrote here...

 

Anyway , to me , the clear line  drawn in between the so-called philosophical and religious Taoism is unnecessary ,  always overstated , which mainly is due to most people's lack of understanding of  the Taoist formula : Jing => qi => Shen  ;  or more precisely speaking , their incapacity   in  pushing their practice from the stage of  having attained qi to  the stage  of  attaining Shen . In that case,  no matter how hard you try to explain to people about why holiness or supernatural stuff inevitably arisen at  some stage, your explanation fals on deaf ears.

 

People can't understand that for  the first time in human history  , the appearance of Taoism enables them  to grasp an ubiquitous  force  : qi   as  a  medium to seal the gap  between  the subject and  object , the physical and spiritual ,  thing-inside your brain and thing-outside your brain ... only if,  just only if  you can march forward a little , to consolidate that fluctuating qi and minds into  some kind of  a  big One  very different from what you daily sense and reason...

Edited by exorcist_1699
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I don't know what the definitions of "religious Taoism" or "philosophical Taoism" are, but it would seem that "religious" would imply some kind of supernatural concept, such as immortality, reincarnation, or a non-physical existence of some kind. "Philosophical" would be more like an atheistic perspective.

 

Or is there another definition of them that has to do with the precise approach to the study and practice of Taoism?

Edited by roger
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I suppose that if we consider Shamanism and Animism "religion" then religion has always been a part of Taoist Philosophy.

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I think the vast majority of people in the West who study and respect Taoism are philosophical.  Imo, unless you have an altar and observe their hierarchy of immortals and gods, you're in the philosophical camp.   Not a bad place to be.

 

I doubt they're philosophical strictu sensu, I imagine they're new age imagination thinkers or western idealized thinking n little consideration of Chinese culture.

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