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Kongming

Daoism and Buddhism's Differences

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Daoism and Buddhism are perhaps the two most popular traditions discussed here and historically there has been a lot of mutual influence between the two in the East Asian sphere. After the Song it seems many Daoists and Buddhists held to the unity of the three teaching and that they might lead to the same end, though certain figures contest that.

 

All that said, there must be differences between the two traditions on a philosophical or theological level or else they would just be the same. So for the sake of clarifying these differences, I propose a thread where people may put forth their insights into this matter as it is one that continues to interest me on a personal level.

 

To begin with some major ones:

 

--Daoism proposes an ontological Absolute, the Dao, which is the source and ground of all of reality. From what I understand many Buddhists, particularly Theravadins and Madhyamikas deny this to be the case in Buddhism

 

--Daoism is an emanationist cosmology. The Dao spontaneously emanates the One, the Two, the Three, and then the ten thousand things. Buddhism, aside from certain East Asian formulations such as those found in the Awakening of Faith, doesn't propose an emanationist cosmology as far as I understand it

 

--Daoism generally believes in a reality akin to the Atman of Hinduism, or in other words they believe in a transcendent, timeless, changeless principle in man whereas typically Buddhism denies any higher Self that transcends the skandhas. This is discussed in Eskilden's book on Quanzhen:

 

However, as Hachiya has astutely observed, Wang Zhe did not abide by the thoroughgoing negation and non-assertion of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. Fond as he was of borrowing Buddhist language to preach detachment from this provisional, fleeting world of samsara, Wang Zhe ardently believed in the eternal, universal Real Nature/Radiant Spirit that is the ground and wellspring of consciousness (spirit [shen], Nature [xing]), and vitality (qi, Life [ming]) within all living beings. This to him was not ‚Äúempty‚ÄĚ (lacking inherent existence); it was fully Real (zhen).

 

--Continuing from the last thought, the Daoist notion of emptiness (Wu) is that of an empty Absolute that produces reality, whereas the Buddhist emptiness (sunyata, kong) is a quality of phenomena

 

--Daoism deals with qi, qimai, yin/yang, and the five elements. Buddhism generally didn't place much emphasis on the energetic structures of the body (chakras, prana, etc.) until later Buddhist tantra which arguably arose under the influence of Daoist alchemy and Saivism. Daoism historically typically saw greater value in the body than Buddhism since the body is also qi and thus connected to the Dao whereas for Buddhism the body is non-self, suffering, and the result of illusion. As a result Daoism also has a greater focus on bodily health than Buddhism generally, which isn't to say it is neglected in Buddhism but rather that it is has been a major focus of Daoism.

 

--Daoism professes that the universe is a condensed form of spiritual energy or qi which emanates from the Dao and thus there is a certain reality to the objective, phenomenal or physical universe. Buddhism generally subscribes the illusion doctrine or maya, stating the universe is ultimately empty and only exists conventionally via linguistic or conceptual designation

 

--Daoism is more associated with the Hermetic doctrine of "as above so below" or the micocosm/macrocosm split than Buddhism generally (aside from later Buddhist tantra.) The doctrine of ganying or sympathetic resonance is thus generally more associated with Daoism than Buddhism

 

--From my general observation it seems that aesthetics as means of self-cultivation, particularly with music such as the guqin or painting or calligraphy, is more favored by Daoism than Buddhism, especially early Buddhism which has precepts against listening to music entirely. Of course Chan Buddhism and tantric Buddhism have different takes on this, but on the whole it seems Buddhism doesn't place as much value on aesthetics as a spiritual tool as Daoism

 

Please feel free to correct any of these starting points and add some of your own so we can help to further clarify what the real differences between Daoism and Buddhism are.

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In general, Buddhism neither denies nor affirms anything absolutely. This prevents any potential conflict from arising in the mind. I think is the key point when comparing it to other spiritual traditions. A devout Buddhist is free to incorporate all manner of authentic, helpful tools which the practitioner feels or believes will aid in the evolution of spiritual and mental development. In short, a devout Buddhist can also be a devout Christian, but a devout Christian will find it near impossible to practice Buddhism (due to misunderstandings only because they think its too conflicting when in fact its not). What some might not realise is that the condensed purpose of Buddhist practice is simply nothing more than reminding one that to attain lasting peace and contentment, there is effort and understanding required: ultimately, the aim is to dispel ignorance by raising one's awareness to the point of removing all subtle veils between the mind and reality. To this end, all things can be used for this expressed purpose.

 

If a Buddhist adamantly clings to an idea that he or she is a Buddhist and begins to 'defend' that position, that in itself is an invitation for the arising of an obstacle to come between self and reality. 

 

 

As a side note.... 

The outer meanings of performing mudras, dances, taking care of one's altar, constructing mandalas, thangka paintings, making tormas, etc are basically aesthetic formulas that has many subtle benefits on all levels. 

 

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Based on my own studies in Daoism and Buddhism (especially Zen), I think your analysis to be quite accurate, overall.

 

My comments will be written from personal philosophical position, which is rather synthetical than analytical. In fact, I propose that all major spiritual teachings are divinely inspired and true (in essence). They are but different expressions of what is sometimes called the Perennial Philosophy, a universal metaphysical wisdom at the core of every religion.

 

Like in the parable of the blind men who described an elephant very differently, depending on whether they palpated the animal's legs, ears, tail, or trunk, the assumptions of various systems do sometimes seem at odds with each other.

 

So in the following, I will share some of my insights on how the seemingly divergent views of Daoism and Buddhism may be understood as different, but complementary parts of the one metaphysical elephant.

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

Daoism and Buddhism are perhaps the two most popular traditions discussed here and historically there has been a lot of mutual influence between the two in the East Asian sphere. After the Song it seems many Daoists and Buddhists held to the unity of the three teaching and that they might lead to the same end, though certain figures contest that.

 

All that said, there must be differences between the two traditions on a philosophical or theological level or else they would just be the same.

 

Yes, any new religion has to differ from what has come before, as to be recognized as a distinct doctrine. This is part of the reason for the dfferences regarding recognition of (or emphasis laid on) universal truths.

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

So for the sake of clarifying these differences, I propose a thread where people may put forth their insights into this matter as it is one that continues to interest me on a personal level.

 

Good job. :)

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

 

To begin with some major ones:

 

--Daoism proposes an ontological Absolute, the Dao, which is the source and ground of all of reality. From what I understand many Buddhists, particularly Theravadins and Madhyamikas deny this to be the case in Buddhism

 

However, the Yogachara school recognizes the Alayavijnana ('indissoluble consciousness', sometimes also referred to as 'seed consciousness') as the ultimate basis of the apparent individual. This is conceptually close not only to the Dao, but also to the World Soul of Platonism and Hermeticism, as well as to Jung's Collective Unconscious.

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

--Daoism is an emanationist cosmology. The Dao spontaneously emanates the One, the Two, the Three, and then the ten thousand things. Buddhism, aside from certain East Asian formulations such as those found in the Awakening of Faith, doesn't propose an emanationist cosmology as far as I understand it

 

Buddhism is generally not very interested in  the origin and nature of the world that it considers illusory anyway, other than in terms of its human perception. But it is worth mentioning that the aforementioned Alayavijnana or Mulavijnana ('base consciousness') is the foundation for seven other kinds of consciousness. (Mind you, in Gnostic cosmology, the eighth sphere transcends and at once forms the base for the perceptual space-time boundary represented by Saturn.)

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

--Daoism generally believes in a reality akin to the Atman of Hinduism, or in other words they believe in a transcendent, timeless, changeless principle in man whereas typically Buddhism denies any higher Self that transcends the skandhas. 

 

Yet there is the teaching of the Buddhahood immanent to every being.

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

This is discussed in Eskilden's book on Quanzhen:

 

However, as Hachiya has astutely observed, Wang Zhe did not abide by the thoroughgoing negation and non-assertion of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. Fond as he was of borrowing Buddhist language to preach detachment from this provisional, fleeting world of samsara, Wang Zhe ardently believed in the eternal, universal Real Nature/Radiant Spirit that is the ground and wellspring of consciousness (spirit [shen], Nature [xing]), and vitality (qi, Life [ming]) within all living beings. This to him was not ‚Äúempty‚ÄĚ (lacking inherent existence); it was fully Real (zhen).

 

Yes, this ground of consciousness is real (even hyper-real), but not in the sense of the objective reality that we take for granted. Nor is it just subjective/psychological. Rather, it defies such categorization.

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

--Continuing from the last thought, the Daoist notion of emptiness (Wu) is that of an empty Absolute that produces reality, whereas the Buddhist emptiness (sunyata, kong) is a quality of phenomena

 

The source of the manifest world is emptiness (Wu chi) or Zero. It splits into yin and yang (Tai chi), two opposite but complementary forces that ultimately balance each other out. To see the world of phenomena holistically (as whole, and holy) is to see it in its implicit perfect balance - or emptiness.

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

--Daoism deals with qi, qimai, yin/yang, and the five elements. Buddhism generally didn't place much emphasis on the energetic structures of the body (chakras, prana, etc.) until later Buddhist tantra which arguably arose under the influence of Daoist alchemy and Saivism. Daoism historically typically saw greater value in the body than Buddhism since the body is also qi and thus connected to the Dao whereas for Buddhism the body is non-self, suffering, and the result of illusion. As a result Daoism also has a greater focus on bodily health than Buddhism generally, which isn't to say it is neglected in Buddhism but rather that it is has been a major focus of Daoism.

 

Yes. Good call.

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

--Daoism professes that the universe is a condensed form of spiritual energy or qi which emanates from the Dao and thus there is a certain reality to the objective, phenomenal or physical universe. Buddhism generally subscribes the illusion doctrine or maya, stating the universe is ultimately empty and only exists conventionally via linguistic or conceptual designation

 

Transcending conceptual designation is considered a way to see the universe in its undivided suchness which (as I explained above) reflects original emptiness.

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

--Daoism is more associated with the Hermetic doctrine of "as above so below" or the micocosm/macrocosm split than Buddhism generally (aside from later Buddhist tantra.) The doctrine of ganying or sympathetic resonance is thus generally more associated with Daoism than Buddhism

 

I like to think of Daoism as the Eastern counterpart of Hermeticism, complete with its own Alchemy, Astrology, Magic, Medicine etc. It is true that we find little of this in Buddhism, aside from its Tantric versions, as you said.

 

Even the Arhat Pindola-BhńĀradvńĀja, whose wheathered wooden statue stands near the entrance to the main hall of Todai-ji temple in Nara, is not allowed to enter because he studied magic. This by no means diminishes his blessful influence, however: Touching a part of the statue and then touching the corresponding part of your own body is believed to heal that part.

 

And while 'ganying'  frequently plays a role in Chinese Buddhist discussions, this indeed speaks to Daoism's influence.

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

--From my general observation it seems that aesthetics as means of self-cultivation, particularly with music such as the guqin or painting or calligraphy, is more favored by Daoism than Buddhism, especially early Buddhism which has precepts against listening to music entirely. Of course Chan Buddhism and tantric Buddhism have different takes on this, but on the whole it seems Buddhism doesn't place as much value on aesthetics as a spiritual tool as Daoism

 

That may well be true for original Buddhism. But later forms (e.g. as encountered in Japan) are just replete with artistic expressions. So I am not sure if a lack of aesthetics should still be regarded as characteristic of Buddhism today.

 

6 hours ago, Kongming said:

Please feel free to correct any of these starting points and add some of your own so we can help to further clarify what the real differences between Daoism and Buddhism are.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

 

My comments will be written from personal philosophical position, which is rather synthetical than analytical. In fact, I propose that all major spiritual teachings are divinely inspired and true (in essence). They are but different expressions of what is sometimes called the Perennial Philosophy, a universal metaphysical wisdom at the core of every religion.

 

Like in the parable of the blind men who described an elephant very differently, depending on whether they palpated the animal's legs, ears, tail, or trunk, the assumptions of various systems do sometimes seem at odds with each other.

 

Agreed. By and large I am a Perennialist of the Guenonian or Evolian stripe, but personally I diverge a bit in that I do believe certain systems of praxis and ways of viewing the world are superior or more potent than others and that certain philosophical formulations may more accurately reflect objective Truth than others and that these differences are important despite converging at peak of non-conceptual gnosis.

 

 

Quote

However, the Yogachara school recognizes the Alayavijnana ('indissoluble consciousness', sometimes also referred to as 'seed consciousness') as the ultimate basis of the apparent individual. This is conceptually close not only to the Dao, but also to the World Soul of Platonism and Hermeticism, as well as to Jung's Collective Unconscious.

 

From what I've read this is a bit of a controversial area. Some have posited that Yogacara is essentially a form of idealistic monism in disagreement with Madhyamika while others deny this is the case. Perhaps someone more educated on the topic than I might be able to chime in here.

 

Though on the whole it seems to me that East Asian Buddhism has more tendencies that put it into alignment with, say, Vedanta, Daoism, or Plotinus, whereas Theravada, Indian Mahayana, and Tibetan Buddhism (aside from certain Shentongpas like Dolpopa and those influenced by him) seem to diverge.

 

Quote

That may well be true for original Buddhism. But later forms (e.g. as encountered in Japan) are just replete with artistic expressions. So I am not sure if a lack of aesthetics should still be regarded as characteristic of Buddhism today.

 

My point wasn't so much surrounding whether aesthetics existed or not but whether aesthetics were seen as a spiritual tool or reflection of Truth. In Kukai and in certain Zen formulations and thus much of Japanese Buddhism this is the case, but I am unsure if Theravada or more general Mahayana saw music for example as a means of spiritual transformation.

 

In any case, to point out some further perhaps less philosophically based differences:

 

--Buddhism historically has been a much more missionary-based and universal religion. Now this isn't to say Daoism is a purely ethnic religion as some claim since I think this is mostly the result of historical circumstance and Daoism's failure to take root among non-Han Chinese people. That said the first organized Daoist movements (Way of Five Pecks of Rice/Heavenly Masters) initially sought to convert the Ba-Shu people and Daoist missionaries were sent to early medieval Korea with some limited success, etc.

 

--On the whole I think Daoism is less prone to the "ours is the one true way" perspective than Buddhism and it was more of Daoist influence which contributed to the "unity of the three teachings" than Buddhism which generally stressed its superiority to other traditions, whether Hinduism or Daoism. We can see this perspective in older threads from this forum here and in turn these threads may prove useful for further investigation into the goal of this thread:

 

https://www.thedaobums.com/topic/10193-buddhism-transcends-the-tao/

 

https://www.thedaobums.com/topic/16163-taoism-vs-buddhism/

 

(Though as a forewarning from my own knowledge it seems there is a lot of misrepresentation of Daoism in these threads by the users Vajrahridaya and Xabir in their portrayal of Daoism as not being an ontological Absolute or ground of reality and linking Daoism solely to the Lao-Zhuang material, but that aside interesting discussions.)

 

--Daoism generally seems to have viewed the gods/deities or other celestial beings as being extremely subtle or pure qi that in some way is closer to the source of emanation or the Dao than that of humans or lower creatures. Thus the gods or deities do have some objective reality to them. Buddhism on the other hand seems to view the deities as aspects of our own Mind and uses them in a tantric sense of visualization to see their ultimate emptiness. While "other power" is a concept in Buddhism, it seems that deities or other power is more important in Daoism than Buddhism overall.

 

Edited by Kongming
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Two further points I thought of while mulling over the topic earlier:

 

--While there is some Buddhist association with the martial arts and warfare, whether Shaolin, the Sohei, or the association of Zen with the samurai, on the whole it seems Daoism has a much greater association with the martial arts. Furthermore while both generally emphasize nonviolence and Buddhism historically hasn't operated as the pacifism that many now envision it as, Daoism is certainly less so. We have verse 33 from the Daodejing for example (Star translation):

 

Even the finest warrior is defeated when he goes against natural law

By his own hand he is doomed and all creatures are likely to despise him

One who knows Tao never turns from life’s calling

When at home he honours the side of rest

When at war he honours the side of action

Peace and tranquility are what he holds most dear so he does not obtain weapons

But when their use is unavoidable he employs them with fortitude and zeal

Do not flaunt your excellence

Do not rejoice over victory

With the loss of others weep with sorrow and grief

After winning a battle, do not celebrate, observe the rites of a funeral

One who is bound to action, proud of victory, and delights in the misfortune of others will never gain a thing from this world below Heaven

 

--Daoism is less based on a particular founder figure or establishing a particular orthodoxy (though there were doctrines or practices or sects deemed heretical or Waidao Ś§ĖťĀď ) than Buddhism, which has always been splintering into various directions due to a wish to establish orthodox doctrines and thus also has placed a greater emphasis on debate and argumentation than the Daoists which is why they often trounced the latter in imperial debates historically. While Laozi is sometimes seen as the founder of Daoism or the Heavenly Masters the start of Daoism, I personally agree with those who see Daoism as a continuation of the primordial Chinese tradition, or at least its more esoteric/mystical/hermetic side (incidentally the view of many traditional Daoists who connected the tradition to figures like the Yellow Emperor)¬†and thus is older than Buddhism which is often seen either as a reformation of, break from, or opposition to the Vedic tradition.

Edited by Kongming

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Since each person has to reinterpret expounded principles of any tradition to apply those teachings to themselves, traditions have an inherent flexibility. Regardless of what one pictures a tradition to be , one should decide if their adherence is going to be to the tradition or to what they feel the tradition imparts to them.

If Buddha was moved to embrace compassion, in particular, 

as a vehicle for the rectification of social ills, one might call him a reformer,, but its not like the Vedic tradition did not consider this as but one path with validity. Nor should this particular emphasis be dismissed as but one more hair on a dog. 

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Stosh said:

Since each person has to reinterpret expounded principles of any tradition to apply those teachings to themselves, traditions have an inherent flexibility. Regardless of what one pictures a tradition to be , one should decide if their adherence is going to be to the tradition or to what they feel the tradition imparts to them.

If Buddha was moved to embrace compassion, in particular, 

as a vehicle for the rectification of social ills, one might call him a reformer,, but its not like the Vedic tradition did not consider this as but one path with validity. Nor should this particular emphasis be dismissed as but one more hair on a dog. 

 

 

 

 

When I said Buddha was seen as a reformer I meant in his relation to the preexisting Brahamanism or Vedic tradition as a spiritual doctrine rather than toward society. Some are of the opinion that the Buddha was in stark opposition to the Brahmins and the Vedic tradition, others are of the opinion that he was attempting to return to a more authentic Vedic or Indo-Aryan spirituality against what he saw as corruption and confusion on the part of the Brahmins who he believed to be relying too heavily on ritual and speculation and lacking direct experiential insight.

 

I am more inclined to the latter perspective but if it is indeed the case that the Buddha denied all validity to the Vedas and really denied the Atman-Brahman of Upanishadic thought then Buddhism can be viewed as a break from the Vedic tradition and thus something new, which I believe is the perspectives many religious Buddhists hold.

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4 hours ago, Kongming said:

 

 

When I said Buddha was seen as a reformer I meant in his relation to the preexisting Brahamanism or Vedic tradition as a spiritual doctrine rather than toward society. Some are of the opinion that the Buddha was in stark opposition to the Brahmins and the Vedic tradition, others are of the opinion that he was attempting to return to a more authentic Vedic or Indo-Aryan spirituality against what he saw as corruption and confusion on the part of the Brahmins who he believed to be relying too heavily on ritual and speculation and lacking direct experiential insight.

 

I am more inclined to the latter perspective but if it is indeed the case that the Buddha denied all validity to the Vedas and really denied the Atman-Brahman of Upanishadic thought then Buddhism can be viewed as a break from the Vedic tradition and thus something new, which I believe is the perspectives many religious Buddhists hold.

Ok, I'm not disagreeing, all of that may be true taking the normal presumptions as standard. Im just saying - that the actual state of a tradition is as varied as those that are trying to follow them. So there is no authentic vs inauthentic delineation as a matter of actual practice. Whatever one practices and believes authentically , is the authentic actuality of the tradition. 

For example, some folks eat ham on thanksgiving , others say its not authentic, they are supposed to eat turkey. But the tradition is what people actually DO  , and some people actually do eat ham for thanksgiving.

 What I read - the originators who are being emulated -, probably ate bluefish , which was a common catch and likely what was actually consumed , IF the holiday even happened at all , with  folks figuring it to become a federal  holiday , ( which they probably didn't ). 

If you ask yogis about Buddha , they would probably consider his preaching to be similar to many others , in having common ancestry, but a father isn't actually his own son, nor is he a more valid human being , nor is the son  'supposed ' to be a carbon copy of his dad. 

The normal presumption which I mentioned at the start of this post , is that there is legitimacy to the idea of traditions , it is a grouping which exists as a figment of human thought , it is not actual or real,,,  outside of fitting the arbitrary definitions people impose to assert that their beliefs have more validity than someone elses. 

You can use this construct as a tool for investigation , but its like being accurate at naming Santas reindeer. :) 

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The further one goes up the lesser the differences; however both systems are very different from the beginning through to the middle level and then again Buddhism still ignores Yin and Yang, 5 E, 4 Phases, Bagua, Qi as a manifestation of spirit and Jing as a manifestation of the Earth-Yin, the connection of the human to Gaia. Taoism at a high level still cares about these concepts but to a lesser degree as one seeks to transcend them entering the realm of pure Shen (spirit). One still has to maintain the body but with less effort. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well I certainly don't disagree that authentic traditions would have less differences the further they go up due to the fact that ultimately they are all trying to describe, intuit, and lead us toward the one Truth or the one reality.

 

That said just as there is a difference between believing in a personal God who acts in history and who will judge at the end of time whether beings will face eternal salvation or eternal hell and the Buddhist conception of reality, so also there are differences between Daoism and Buddhism to be discerned or else they'd be the same entity. No doubt they are more closely related to each other than either are to something like Islam for example.

 

In Buddhist discourse, both historically (such as in Zongmi's hierarchy of traditions or Kukai's Ten Levels of Mind or the debates between Buddhists and Hindus or Daoists) and today (such as those threads I linked earlier) there seems to be a concern in proving that non-Buddhist traditions cannot lead to the end of suffering....essentially stating that a Daoist who has attained the Dao or a Hindu yogi who unites with Brahman are still bound to samsara (I disagree but that's not relevant here.) Thus I think many Buddhists would not agree with the Perennial Philosophy or sharing the same view or end goal as Daoists.

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7 minutes ago, Kongming said:

Well I certainly don't disagree that authentic traditions would have less differences the further they go up due to the fact that ultimately they are all trying to describe, intuit, and lead us toward the one Truth or the one reality.

 

They should also become more integrative of the previously neglected aspects that are emphasized in other systems.

 

7 minutes ago, Kongming said:

That said just as there is a difference between believing in a personal God who acts in history and who will judge at the end of time whether beings will face eternal salvation or eternal hell and the Buddhist conception of reality, so also there are differences between Daoism and Buddhism to be discerned or else they'd be the same entity. No doubt they are more closely related to each other than either are to something like Islam for example.

 

Superficially speaking, yes.

 

But Buddhists also believe that the conclusions drawn at the end of a cycle will be the foundations of what is going to happen in the next one.

 

And the concept of eternity can be interpreted too if we assume that the discarnate entity potentially experiences a state of timelessness. From which it will in most cases return to another space-time existence, however, as recognized by Hinduism, Buddhism, and esoteric Christianity.

 

7 minutes ago, Kongming said:

In Buddhist discourse, both historically (such as in Zongmi's hierarchy of traditions or Kukai's Ten Levels of Mind or the debates between Buddhists and Hindus or Daoists) and today (such as those threads I linked earlier) there seems to be a concern in proving that non-Buddhist traditions cannot lead to the end of suffering....essentially stating that a Daoist who has attained the Dao or a Hindu yogi who unites with Brahman are still bound to samsara (I disagree but that's not relevant here.) Thus I think many Buddhists would not agree with the Perennial Philosophy or sharing the same view or end goal as Daoists.

 

Many Buddhists don't even agree on the same views or end goals among themselves. Haven't you heard of the legendary 'Buddhist wars' on TDB? :D

 

But it is of no consequence what many would agree to or not. All that matters is if you can integrate whatever you have accepted as true into a coherent personal Cosmology.

 

 

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samsara is relative and dependent upon holding a limited perception and or position, thus the "First Nobel Truth" is also and ultimately only apparent.  (which btw and imo. is alluded to in other Buddhist doctrine)

 

 

Edited by 3bob

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3 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

Superficially speaking, yes.

 

But Buddhists also believe that the conclusions drawn at the end of a cycle will be the foundations of what is going to happen in the next one.

 

And the concept of eternity can be interpreted too if we assume that the discarnate entity potentially experiences a state of timelessness. From which it will in most cases return to another space-time existence, however, as recognized by Hinduism, Buddhism, and esoteric Christianity.

 

Let me put it this way: I believe in the various authentic traditions throughout history that there were men enlightened and transformed through their system leading to timelessness or immortality. I believe the potential for this exists in any authentic path since all are seeking the one and only Absolute Truth. That said I believe the discrepancies and differing opinions between various sects are not unimportant and can inform us of the validity of a particular doctrine or sect.

 

For example, if I encountered a tradition that didn't take in account transcendence or denied that men can transform themselves ontologically, I would think less of it even if it may have produced sages in spite of that.

 

Thus core differences that might prop up between certain Buddhists and Daoists, such as whether there is an ontological Absolute or something similar to the Atman or whether there is a continuity for a particular life form rather than just being a succession of moments, whether the body is a microcosm or an illusion, etc. are not without importance. Even if they lead to the same end theoretically, uncovering these differences can help determine if a particular path is workable or right for you.

 

 

3 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

 

Many Buddhists don't even agree on the same views or end goals among themselves. Haven't you heard of the legendary 'Buddhist wars' on TDB? :D

 

No I have not, what were these Buddhist wars? Dzogchen followers of a Madhyamika stripe vs. Zennists?

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19 minutes ago, Kongming said:

 

Let me put it this way: I believe in the various authentic traditions throughout history that there were men enlightened and transformed through their system leading to timelessness or immortality. I believe the potential for this exists in any authentic path since all are seeking the one and only Absolute Truth. That said I believe the discrepancies and differing opinions between various sects are not unimportant and can inform us of the validity of a particular doctrine or sect.

 

Well, in my view, you can learn something of value from almost every system and teacher.

 

19 minutes ago, Kongming said:

For example, if I encountered a tradition that didn't take in account transcendence or denied that men can transform themselves ontologically, I would think less of it even if it may have produced sages in spite of that.

 

As stated, every valid tradition revolves around an esoteric core of perennial philosophy. A system obviously devoid of that would not be able to catch my interest in the first place. But I do see it in all major traditions that I have looked into so far.

 

19 minutes ago, Kongming said:

Thus core differences that might prop up between certain Buddhists and Daoists, such as whether there is an ontological Absolute or something similar to the Atman or whether there is a continuity for a particular life form rather than just being a succession of moments, whether the body is a microcosm or an illusion, etc. are not without importance. Even if they lead to the same end theoretically, uncovering these differences can help determine if a particular path is workable or right for you.

 

I see what you mean. It is less of a concern for me though, because I don't adhere to any beaten path, but cherry-pick from all of them whatever I need to build my own unique path. 

 

19 minutes ago, Kongming said:

No I have not, what were these Buddhist wars? Dzogchen followers of a Madhyamika stripe vs. Zennists?

 

I don't know exactly, they happened mostly before I came here. But I recall hearing that Dzogchen was indeed a topic for recurrent arguments.

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multiple beings are not transformed to a private and separate timelessness , (although an exceptionally long god like life is possible)  for there is only one timeless being-ness that becomes unveiled and is already existing beyond normal existence, without any transformation needed to make it !

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20 minutes ago, 3bob said:

multiple beings are not transformed to a private and separate timelessness , (although an exceptionally long god like life is possible)  for there is only one timeless being-ness that becomes unveiled and is already existing beyond normal existence, without any transformation needed to make it !

This is my understanding, too.  Traditions botch the impossible attempt at putting the ineffable into culturally relevant words in their own unique ways, and each tends to believe (understandably) that their dogma is the one accurate representation, but, when we are ready, we return.

 

(No, my attempt at putting the ineffable into culturally relevant words isn't particularly accurate, either...)

Edited by Brian
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Here's a song about reincarnation.  You have to have an open mind to realize it though:

 

Spoiler

 

 

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12 hours ago, 3bob said:

multiple beings are not transformed to a private and separate timelessness , (although an exceptionally long god like life is possible)  for there is only one timeless being-ness that becomes unveiled and is already existing beyond normal existence, without any transformation needed to make it !

 

Indeed, but there is still the transformation of realization or actualization to occur or else we'd all be immortals, Buddhas, and sages.

 

Whatever the case, as mentioned I do believe from the Absolute perspective the differences between traditions or sects are of little to no importance, but for one on the path I don't think they are entirely unimportant. Buddhism as far as I know emphasizes "right view" (though it is debated what the exact nature of right view is....some say it is Nagarjuna's sunyata but that postdates earliest Buddhism) as essential to success on the path.

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and one might ask if matrix's for True Self ever realize the True Self...? 

 

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You can understand the essential difference between Buddhism and Daoism from mathematics and music theory.

 

Buddhism is based on the logic of "Neti, neti" and so is from Vedic philosophy - meaning, "neither this, nor that."

 

The math of vedic philosophy is "divide and average" math.

 

The spread of Vedic culture into China is actually quite ancient - from when the Shang making chariot culture as dominant for warfare. First chariots were just for the aristocrats but then chariots were amassed as huge armies.

 

Key to chariot technology is to center the circle based on divide and average math from Vedic ritual geometry that math professor Abraham Seidenberg traced back to around 3000 BCE. The square rectilinear altars were the basis for making the circles the same area as well - so that the female lunar circle principle had to conform to the solar square altar principle. Similarly houses had to be rectilinear, not circular.

 

You can then see how this Vedic culture as meditation alchemy training spread across Asia in Buddhist philosophy by studying Stupas.

 

The Stupa designs reveal the elements of alchemy for meditation training.

 

http://www.sacred-texts.com/cfu/choc/choc06.htm

 

Consider this early analysis.

Quote

 

The Chinese speak of five elements: water, fire, wood, metal, and earth; while, according to the ancient sages of Hellas and India, there are but four: water, fire, earth, and air. This latter view also

 

p. 42

[paragraph continues] (although in a later age) has migrated to China, where it is commonly accepted among the Buddhists, but has been modified in so far as ether has been superadded so as to make the elements of the Buddhist-Chinese conception equal in number to the older enumeration which we may call the Taoist view.

 

 

Now then actually instead of "divide and average" math which is based on symmetric phonetic logic of the divine from rectilinear geometry - "I Am that I Am" as the definition of Brahman-God - for Taoism, the math is actually akin to the oldest philosophy of India which is the "three gunas."

 

So the Tai Chi is actually from music theory - the number theory of Taoism is actually the same as the number theory of Pythagorean philosphy - and in turn the same as the three gunas - and this is also from music theory.

 

So for the three gunas - sattva is the octave as 1:2 (Emptiness) and raga is the Perfect Fifth (yang) as 3/2 and sattva is yin as the Perfect Fourth.

 

But the deeper meaning of this is called noncommutative phase - or nonlocal consciousness as being in two places at the same time. This was covered up by Western symmetric logic since Plato and Archytas - and so Westerners do not understand this difference.

 

So in noncommutative phase - then  the number value has two different geometric values at the same time - so C is 1 and the octave is 2 as C - but then 3 is F as subharmonic and 3 is G is overtone harmonic.

 

That was covered up in the West so that 2/3 as C to F Perfect Fifth Yang is turned into 4/3 as Perfect Fourth yin.

 

So in alchemy this is called the One Perfect Yang principle - or something to that effect - in music theory is means that internal listening converts the differences in frequency and amplitude into the nonlocal phase resonance - so that the yin energy is resonated into its Yuan Qi yang origin as the truth of reality.

 

So for Western symmetric math  the principle of the Greek Miracle was taken from divide and average math of Zoroastrian-Babylonian logic that is the complementary to Vedic logic.

 

So then ARchytas knew that "arithmetic mean multiplied by harmonic mean equals geometric mean squared." This is how irrational magnitude was created from music theory.

 

But for that symmetric math equation to work as algebra - it had to cover up the noncommutative phase truth.

 

In other words - originally "harmonic mean" was actually "subcontrary mean" but the term got changed as the cover up - when 2/3 as the Perfect Fifth, C to F geometry was changed from the subcontrary or subharmonic to 4/3 as the Perfect Fourth C to F geometry for the harmonic mean.

 

So for Archytas to create his equation for symmetric math of irrational magnitude - the harmonic mean had to have a value greater than 1 - with the numerator higher than denominator.

 

Thereby hiding the older truth of nonlocal noncommutative phase that did not get rediscovered until quantum logic and quantum physics discovered a paradox for frequency and time with relativity of Einstein.

 

There is a book called "From Pythagoras to Einstein" - all that does is expand the square root of two irrational magnitude symmetric math to relativity.

 

But de Broglie realized that as energy goes up in frequency towards the speed of light in relativity then time slows down, so that wavelength gets bigger. That violates the fundamental principle of Pythagoras that time is inversely proportional to frequency.

 

So de Broglie created the Law of Phase Harmony since quantum physics is true but to make it fit relativity it means there has to be a signal that is nonlocal and therefore superluminal.

 

In terms of de Broglie - this means that Time is the Emptiness, and noncommutative phase is the Yuan Qi that is nonlocal - and frequency is the Shen that is "turned around" - so you get the speed of light squared as the Law of Phase Harmony - and the wavelength is the Jing energy.

 

So when shen is put below jing then you get reverse entropy or negentropy as "quantum relative entropy" - the Emptiness is a reverse spacetime vortex that enables precognition, etc.

 

So the older philosophy of the three gunas is actually the truth also of the Tai Chi - and both are from music theory that goes back to the original human culture - the San Bushmen that had the same alchemy training as Taoism and the three gunas of India. All human cultures in fact use the 1-4-5 music intervals as the Octave Perfect Fifth/Perfect Fourth as 1:2:3:4 harmonics.

 

It is the simplest and yet the most powerful - as TAoism teaches.

 

The number theory is real and is from music theory. I have the references in my pdf https://www.pdf-archive.com/2017/04/10/idiot-s-guide-to-taoist-alchemy/

 

People argue endless about the real meaning of Buddhism vis a vis Vedic philosophy and Taoism but that is because they have not realized that music theory unlocks the universal truth of human spiritual training.

 

By the way you can find these Stupa Vedic elements even in Burma as the pagoda alchemy training in Buddhism.

 

So the alchemy training again is from the older Bronze Age chariot culture - but this in turn is from an older music theory based philosophy.

 

The secret of OHM is infinite time-frequency resonance from the 1:2:3 octave perfect fifth/perfect fourth music intervals - called the Triguna - I have the details again in the link.

 

 

 

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Steven Q. Marshal has a few cheap kindle articles up for sale on this topic. One is titled: Emptiness in Buddhism and Taoism: the Difference, and another compares the differences between the Taoist and Buddhist Heart Sutras. Perhaps those could be useful to this conversation.

 

---

 

Recently someone posted here that one of the goals is to unwrap the soul from around the spirit so that the spirit becomes free.

 

I've heard that in Buddhism the idea of the Soul is denied. Perhaps within this denial, something is left behind that flavors each perspective differently.

 

In daoist internal alchemy, there is the concept of merging the upper and lower souls (hun and po), which is also related to merging the 5 elemental phases and 4 directions back into one. This is essentially reversing the diffraction of light, after cleansing and balancing it's components. The soul is unwrapped, and then turned around to rejoin the oneness.

 

There is a concept in daoism of putting things back together such that there is no separation from the dao. After one transcends, the more complete things are, the longer one will stay complete. Yet if something is missing or has been abandoned, eventually there will be the need to do the work to reclaim what is missing.

 

I believe this is why daoism focuses on the body and the energy at these earlier stages, so as to do some initial work to bring all of the components together before doing the work at the later stages which are more difficult to distinguish from other practices. And perhaps the accomplishments within these initial stages also informs why daoism has a different perspective than buddhism at the later stages. Although it is possible some types of buddhism, such as Tantric Buddhism, also incorporate these practices.

 

That which is emptiness is indeed emptiness, but emptiness is not fixed as emptiness.

That which is form is indeed form, but form is not fixed as form.

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9 minutes ago, Daeluin said:

Recently someone posted here that one of the goals is to unwrap the soul from around the spirit so that the spirit becomes free.

 

 

I hold to both concepts of spirit and soul.  I can't recall speaking of unwrapping anything though.

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4 hours ago, Daeluin said:

Steven Q. Marshal has a few cheap kindle articles up for sale on this topic. One is titled: Emptiness in Buddhism and Taoism: the Difference, and another compares the differences between the Taoist and Buddhist Heart Sutras. Perhaps those could be useful to this conversation.

 

---

 

Recently someone posted here that one of the goals is to unwrap the soul from around the spirit so that the spirit becomes free.

 

I've heard that in Buddhism the idea of the Soul is denied. Perhaps within this denial, something is left behind that flavors each perspective differently.

 

In daoist internal alchemy, there is the concept of merging the upper and lower souls (hun and po), which is also related to merging the 5 elemental phases and 4 directions back into one. This is essentially reversing the diffraction of light, after cleansing and balancing it's components. The soul is unwrapped, and then turned around to rejoin the oneness.

 

There is a concept in daoism of putting things back together such that there is no separation from the dao. After one transcends, the more complete things are, the longer one will stay complete. Yet if something is missing or has been abandoned, eventually there will be the need to do the work to reclaim what is missing.

 

I believe this is why daoism focuses on the body and the energy at these earlier stages, so as to do some initial work to bring all of the components together before doing the work at the later stages which are more difficult to distinguish from other practices. And perhaps the accomplishments within these initial stages also informs why daoism has a different perspective than buddhism at the later stages. Although it is possible some types of buddhism, such as Tantric Buddhism, also incorporate these practices.

 

That which is emptiness is indeed emptiness, but emptiness is not fixed as emptiness.

That which is form is indeed form, but form is not fixed as form.

 

This is a very good response but requires an indepth analysis.

 

For example if you study Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality book - the influence of Buddhism and also Confucian terminology causes a deeper analysis to be required.

 

So the "innate nature" as Xing is actually the Yuan Shen that also is the left eye. But the left eye is also the liver energy as the Hun Soul - which is also the yin qi energy as the Green Dragon.

 

So if you study the book what you realize is that until the lower tan tien is filled up then the eyes are not united as Sun and Moon but instead are in the jing or yin qi stage of Dragon and Tiger.

 

In other words you lose energy out of the eyes as yin qi energy and in fact the Hun Soul - as that book details - is actually still the yin qi energy that leaves the skull with the heart shen at death (for the typical person).

 

Whereas the po soul is the etheric energy of the body as the passion white tiger lung energy of the right eye that is the origin of the yuan qi - again only after the energy is built up.

 

So the problem is the West fixates on the concept of "oneness" as if it is a static nondual Emptiness whereas the truth is there is eternal movement of time as formless awareness - as the Yuan Qi energy. The end of the Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and immortality book details how the yang shen body then is vaporized back into the formless awareness of the Universe as the Yuan Qi.

 

So then we are told that the Golden Body yang shen can reappear whenever needed - as chosen by the Yuan Qi  - not by the actual immortal person.

 

The ego is the spiritual awareness as light consciousness while the Universal consciousness is light - only when it is "turned around."

 

So we can see this in cosmology as well - there is a 5th dimension that is time-like but is actually nonlocal phase - noncommutative phase. This means being in two places at the same time.

 

So consider the Yang Shen - it is said multiple yang shens can be created - and even the Yuan Shen healing - the qigong master states how he can do healing around the world of multiple people - at the same time.

 

But is it really at the same time? I saw him creating Yuan Shen but they were made one after the other, each breaking off from the top of his head - while he was in full lotus meditation.

 

But for the person with the light turned around into the Emptiness then light itself does not experience time. The qigong master who befriended me describes how time freezes. This in quantum physics is true - when time is zero then there is the nonlocal entanglement.

 

So with no measurement made by the ego as light perception - the nonlocal light is a wave that is quantum entanglement - as the 5th dimension. But when the measurement is made then the light collapses as a "photon" point that is seen to be contained as form externally.

 

Similarly Ramana Maharshi says the whole physical universe does not exist when the Self as light is so great that the whole physical universe can not be seen nor experienced. So he gives the metaphor of a film camera as our brain - we need ignorance to see the film of the Universe as our awake consciousness. But in fact the camera relies on the light of the individual soul and yet that light is part of a much brighter light of the real formless awareness.

 

Ramana Maharshi points out that the formless awareness as Self is NOT light - and yet we have to use our "sattvic" ego mind as spirit to go into the Emptiness and therefore in the Emptiness we still experience this bright light.

 

So he admits this is a logical paradox that he can't get around - and that is why so many confuse the "light" as being the Self when that is not the truth. The light has a hidden momentum when the light is turned around - Ramana Maharshi calls this the ETHER of the flame of the Self. He says it's like looking at a candle - you see that space between the flame and the candle and that is the ETHER energy of the self that powers the candle, just as the wax powers the light.

 

So this is the Yuan Qi energy that is formless awareness but because it is noncommutative phase it is also in eternal motion as creation of yuan jing and yuan shen - and so there is endless creation and destruction. You can experience this also by taking strong ayahuasca. haha.

 

We can say the Soul then is all our past lives but yet these past live connections are probably contextual. So then just like in the Tibetan book of the Dead - after each death there is a better chance of seeing the illusion of the soul in order to go into the Emptiness as the truth of reality. So in other words - the Yuan Shen is our individualized spirit of when the Yuan Jing is developed - so at age 16 is what is said - and so the qigong master does Yuan Shen healing from the Yuan Qi emptiness. So the qigong master also heals ghosts - meaning they are the Hun Shen with Po Shen blockages and so stuck on Earth - and he sends this ghosts into the Emptiness by increasing their light - which means by realizing their Yuan Shen self - just as he does Yuan Shen healing of people alive as well.

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it is a hell of a lot easier knowing one is a spirit having a human experience than the other way around, although that doesn't mean I'm knocking that process. 

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When we are in deep dreamless sleep every night we wake up thankful for our bliss - but not aware of our self during that bliss that can only be acknowledged after the fact. So logically our Self is not dependent on our experience of the spirit as light - and yet it is through our spirit that we consciously make contact with our true Self that creates the bliss. Ramana Maharshi stated how he maintained his individual sense of I even when he went into the formless awareness and how is that possible? Because his access of the formless awareness was with each breath when his prana or qi went to the right side of his heart as the secret pinhole to formless awareness beyond death. So he called it the I-I emanating from his heart. And so the irony of being alive is that the greatest bliss is from beyond death. Yet the formless awareness in the Emptiness is even beyond the bliss of the unconditional love - as the original qigong master revealed, despite his emphasis on the unconditional love as the Yuan Qi.

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