A Greased Scotsman

Daoist monasticism

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I've been reflecting on monasticism as practised by groups like the Celestial Masters and their spiritual successors and a thought occurs: the core belief of Daoism is that we should 'master' The Way by becoming like it - by taking no action that is contrary to nature.  Since humans are by nature social creatures, is isolating oneself from society for extended periods of time not an action which runs contrary to the Dao?

 

To be clear, I don't mean the caricature of the ragged Daoist master laughing contentedly, having recognised social mores as ultimately meaningless and thrown them off.  Such men can still live in society but not be part of it.  I mean those who become renunciants and physically remove themselves from human society.

 

I'm curious to see how other Daoists requite these seemingly exclusive concepts.

Edited by A Greased Scotsman
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We are told to follow our own true nature.  All doors are open - all options are on the table.

 

The Way of Nature is sometimes cruel.  Witness the past two hurricanes.  I think the Taoist Sage would avoid such activities.

 

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3 hours ago, Marblehead said:

We are told to follow our own true nature.  All doors are open - all options are on the table.

 

Great point. I think for some people that lifestyle is in line with the way. For most people though i would think it is unnatural. I would say most are just regular people in society who practice in their time alone. And at certain stages may go on an extended retreat but eventually come back and integrate back into society, holding on to what they've learned and keeping their center. It's easy to get rid of lust, anger, and greed when your completely removed from temptation. The real achievement in my opinion is being right in the midst of temptation and not being effected. Keeping your center no matter if your in the mountains in complete solitude or in the city with all its drama. Thats my opinion I guess there are different ways to look at it though.

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This thread is interesting, because I recently posted a story about two groups of monks, one group was all about show, with no internal substance, and the other group was about Doing whatever thing that they could to increase their energy body talents. This increase worked to enhance spiritual feelings in their area and did impress such good feelings into the genius loci of the area, that they were felt far away by what some would call a dragon/spirit mage.

Spoiler

The enamored collective mind waves of the genius loci in the area, passed on the high energy positively charged feelings, of these efforting monks to a spiritually receptive traveler who became intrigued, and eventually passed by two separate groups of monks, of which one found favor in his sight. 'this true story was based on the esoteric understanding of a bible faze'; 'one buried his talent, and lost favor, the other increased his talents and was given more talents'. (text in italics paraphrased to shorten)

In my experience: in the world of spirits that I go Journeying about, talents are worked for, traded for favors or to offset payback (revenge), used to define the honor of an individual, etc...

A Tiny Talent : is currently the first story in the thread.

Visualizations stories the mage  (order of stories is subject to change)

Edited by mrpasserby
rearranged wording
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20 hours ago, Seatle185 said:

It's easy to get rid of lust, anger, and greed when your completely removed from temptation. The real achievement in my opinion is being right in the midst of temptation and not being effected.

 

Roll with the punches, eh? Anyone can find peace on a mountaintop.

 

That said I'm tempted to pursue a monastic life, but I can see it for the trap it is.

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On 9/12/2017 at 4:39 PM, A Greased Scotsman said:

I've been reflecting on monasticism as practised by groups like the Celestial Masters and their spiritual successors and a thought occurs: the core belief of Daoism is that we should 'master' The Way by becoming like it - by taking no action that is contrary to nature.  Since humans are by nature social creatures, is isolating oneself from society for extended periods of time not an action which runs contrary to the Dao?

 

To be clear, I don't mean the caricature of the ragged Daoist master laughing contentedly, having recognised social mores as ultimately meaningless and thrown them off.  Such men can still live in society but not be part of it.  I mean those who become renunciants and physically remove themselves from human society.

 

I'm curious to see how other Daoists requite these seemingly exclusive concepts.

what are you talking about ? - I have no control over this

the world is tearing apart at the seams 

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1 hour ago, Stumpich said:

the world is tearing apart at the seams 

 

Leon comes home and finds Mathilda by the stairs. She's bleeding from a bloody nose. He looks around then reaches into his coat and offers her a tissue.

 

Mathilda looks up. Her eyes are preternaturally mature. "Is life always this hard, or just when you're a kid?" she asks.

 

Leon pauses, carefully choosing his words.

 

"Always like this."

 

Leon, The Professional - 1994.

Edited by Lost in Translation
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19 hours ago, Lost in Translation said:

 

Roll with the punches, eh? Anyone can find peace on a mountaintop.

 

That said I'm tempted to pursue a monastic life, but I can see it for the trap it is.

What is then stopping you or any other like minded individuals to seek out the monastic life without the complications of it's modern form.

A temple, a band of us all together with the focus of being one with the Tao and finding our inner nature.

I for would would put all of my resources into such an endeavour. 

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3 minutes ago, Lost in Translation said:

I would love nothing more than to do that, but it's not my path in this life.


Simple thing to assume our path and another to know it for certain. I won't presume to know which is which.

You've obviously the heart and the will for such things but something holds you back. 

If I ever find such a place, it will be subtle, free and used as a format for training, learning and study. 
Money is ideology of greed, which I don't believe we require, so all would be welcome regardless of their financial station.

Take this "what if" and know you'll always be welcome.

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2 minutes ago, LousyLaoTzu said:

You've obviously the heart and the will for such things but something holds you back.

 

Thank you. I would hope so, and something is holding me back. Too much of my life has been spent running away. Eventually the prodigal son must return and face his mistakes.

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30 minutes ago, Lost in Translation said:

I would love nothing more than to do that, but it's not my path in this life.

I second you about it not being your path, Lost in Translation, because if you know from within yourself what I was raving about (the 180), mentioned in one of your previous posts, then In my experience: you have a chance at having your own inner-domain. 'remaining in the world but no longer of the world 180' (paraphrased). :)

Edited by mrpasserby
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7 minutes ago, Lost in Translation said:

 

Thank you. I would hope so, and something is holding me back. Too much of my life has been spent running away. Eventually the prodigal son must return and face his mistakes.

The one son said yes I will go and do, the second son said no I will not. Later the second son returned and became the doer. (paraphrase for my convenience Lol). :)

Edited by mrpasserby
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On 13/09/2017 at 4:16 AM, Seatle185 said:

 

Great point. I think for some people that lifestyle is in line with the way. For most people though i would think it is unnatural. I would say most are just regular people in society who practice in their time alone. And at certain stages may go on an extended retreat but eventually come back and integrate back into society, holding on to what they've learned and keeping their center. It's easy to get rid of lust, anger, and greed when your completely removed from temptation. The real achievement in my opinion is being right in the midst of temptation and not being effected. Keeping your center no matter if your in the mountains in complete solitude or in the city with all its drama. Thats my opinion I guess there are different ways to look at it though.

 

Yeah, I agree with all of this. And not just unnatural. It seems completely pointless (to me) to carry on living if all you're going to do is hide away from the world indefinitely. Each to their own, I guess. :) 

 

Also, I guess, if you're planning on creating an immortal fetus, you'll probably want to hide away for a while in some kind of monastery free from distraction. I'm not sure what people do once they attain this, though. Do they reintegrate into society?

Edited by morning dew
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28 minutes ago, morning dew said:

 

Yeah, I agree with all of this. And not just unnatural. It seems completely pointless (to me) to carry on living if all you're going to do is hide away from the world indefinitely. Each to their own, I guess. :) 

 

Also, I guess, if you're planning on creating an immortal fetus, you'll probably want to hide away for a while in some kind of monastery free from distraction. I'm not sure what people do once they attain this, though. Do they reintegrate into society?

 They travel (bodily, with the immortal body) to the heavenly realms, interact with the different beings there. Get a perspective on reality and life---and probably a bit more information about the structure and purpose of their life. And when (or if) they decide to return to the physical body, they can bring that information with; they can have a conscious knowing for some of what their future will hold. Some reintegrate with society. Some continue to live in the margins. It depends on their proclivities and destiny.

Edited by Apeiron&Peiron
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11 minutes ago, Apeiron&Peiron said:

 They travel (bodily, with the immortal body) to the heavenly realms, interact with the different beings there. Get a perspective on reality and life---and probably a bit more information about the structure and purpose of their life. And when (or if) they decide to return to the physical body, they can bring that information with; they can have a conscious knowing for some of what their future will hold. Some reintegrate with society. Some continue to live in the margins. It depends on their proclivities and destiny.

 

Thanks, very interesting. Do we know of any contemporary people who claim to have achieved this? I'm guessing they probably wouldn't advertise this on the Internet lol.

Edited by morning dew
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There are probably a few more than I know. But I know of just one. It happened when he was on a long retreat doing meditation in a cave. He mentioned some of the details during a video of a talk with his students. It was more of a community-only video, though. I saw it a few years ago and don't know what happened to it. 

 

Part of what he learned related to his mission with the Qigong healing system that he teaches.

--https://www.springforestqigong.com/

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Regarding travel higher/lower realms:

 

4 minutes ago, morning dew said:

Do we know of any contemporary people who claim to have achieved this?

 

Traveling to spirit realms (whether upper (spirit) or lower (animal) worlds) is a staple of shamanic traditions. By shamanic I don't just mean American Indian. I worked briefly with a shaman in my area, for about one year. In the beginning I was skeptical but he helped me see things that very much changed my mind on the nature of reality. I suppose that's a topic for another thread in another sub-group.

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Shamanic traveling and the yang shen are not the same. There are all kinds of travel that can take place with yin shen, temporary bodies, through astral projection, or using the sort of "oneness"/non-spatial features of consciousness. But none of those involve the full-bodied stuff of the yang shen. The difference would be like watching a movie versus actually being somewhere---not to mention the complete difference of the quality of material (and quality of experience, by virtue of the material).

Edited by Apeiron&Peiron
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27 minutes ago, Apeiron&Peiron said:

Shamanic traveling and the yang shen are not the same. There are all kinds of travel that can take place with yin shen, temporary bodies, through astral projection, or using the sort of "oneness"/non-spatial features of consciousness. But none of those involve the full-bodied stuff of the yang shen. The difference would be like watching a movie versus actually being somewhere---not to mention the complete difference of the quality of material (and quality of experience, by virtue of the material).

 

Fascinating. I was wondering what the difference between the two would be. :) 

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Well, I can't be certain that it's exactly right. It's only from what I know about the process and the one person I know of (who isn't a person out of mythology) who attained it. All of the other forms of travel basically involve some manner of mind-substance that already exists in/around the body in some way. The yang shen only exists after enough of the body's representative energies have been refined and integrated with some type of yang heavenly energy so they can fully bond with the shen. Hence "yang shen" wherein the yang is the fully transmuted body energy.

 

So anything else wouldn't be as "full-bodied", by comparison. It also wouldn't be as yang (from what the alchemy entails) which means that there would be a greater affinity for lower realms than the heavenly realms. The yin shen, for example, is just spirit energy that floats around the body and can be made to detach at will (although even this requires a bit of cultivation for enough stability in the jing and chi to support weird operations of shen---otherwise there would be health problems).

Edited by Apeiron&Peiron
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I thank all who posted, for me reading this thread is extreme cultivation, in terms that I can understand.

I would add my take on the doers. In my opinion: the act of transcending any part of the reactionary states of the world is 'being in the world but not of the world'.

Which is personal monasticism, as some of my christian relatives did attempt. :)

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A Greased Scotsman, 'Since humans are by nature social creatures, is isolating oneself from society for extended periods of time not an action which runs contrary to the Dao?'

I am just a bigger and learning Daoist concepts, but in my experience: it is all about the doing of whatever you can manage at any given time to get you below all things-forms so that then you will have opportunities presented to you by the universe to transcend all things-forms, and that places you in line with the Dao to my Novelist understanding. :)

 

If the following story was just a story and not a real life experience, I would have written that the monks who had achieved  functional energy bodies by choosing to go below human speech in their daily lives, would have eventually chosen to leave the whistling monastery and to migrate into the world so that through service and experience they could begin to transcend all things according to the opportunities that would be presented to them.

Spoiler

 A tiny talent:      Visualizations stories the mage

 

Edited by mrpasserby
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