acdbox

Why live a Virtuous life?

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Hello,

if anybody can assist in my understanding of why someone would want to live a life by virtues vs a non-virtuous life?

Sure it would benefit those around you, though why bare the suffering of living that life?

What I am saying, if 'one' is suffering leading a non-virtuous life and essentially living a life by doctrine to virtues is a form of suffering anyway is there a logical reason for choosing that as a path? thank you

 

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Hello, acdbox and welcome.

 

Your membership is approved and we're happy you found your way to us. We look forward to accompanying you on some of the way that you still have to go.

 

Please take the time to read the post pinned at the top of this Welcome page and take a look at the forum Terms and Rules.   This covers all you need to know when getting started.

 

For the first week you will be restricted to ten posts per day but after that you can post as much as you like.¬†Also, until you‚Äôve posted fifteen times in the forums, you‚Äôll be a ‚ÄúJunior Bum‚ÄĚ with somewhat restricted access and will be allowed only two private messages per day.

 

Good luck in your pursuits and best wishes to you,

 

Marblehead and the TDB team

 

 

Hi acdbox,

 

Well, by living a virtuous life you are likely to piss off very few people and therefore you have a better chance of living out your natural life span.

 

You are welcome to jump right in ongoing discussions, revive an older thread, start a new thread of your own, or start a discussion in the "Newcomer Corner" sub-forms to expand on your introduction or ask general questions to help you get started.

 

May you enjoy your time here.

 

Marblehead

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It's cliche but virtue is its own reward and evil, stupidity and selfishness tend to self destruct; though it may take awhile.

 

Course so much depends on definitions.  This being partially a Daoist website, then virtue is sorta 'Te.  Not so easily defined. Here's one way of approaching it (http://www.spiritandflesh.com/Taoism_Three_Taoist_te.htm)-

 

 

 

Three Taoist approaches to te

from (http://www.yakrider.com/Tao/Taoism_Daoism.htm)

The Spirit and Flesh Sacred Texts Online Library: world religion and spirituality.

 

The little word "Te" in the title Tao Te Ching is usually translated "virtue" or "power." Virtue is a good translation if it is understood in the old sense of the word, as in the healing "virtue" of certain plants, medicines, practices, etc. There are occasions where te seems to translate well as virtue in the sense of goodness, but do not confuse it with the moralistic sense in which we think of virtue in the West. Te is the Tao at work, so te is goodness inasmuch as person of te is adept at living in harmony with the dynamic flow of Tao in the world.

 

Indeed, goodness in this sense has nothing to do with societal conventions of goodness (Taoists decry conventional "goodness" as too contrived, shallow, or complicated), and has everything to do with living in understanding of and harmony with the Way (Tao). The character's typical translations include: power, virtue, success, effectiveness, integrity, and goodness. So "virtue" or te as goodness here must be seen in light of these other translations; what is good is living by the supreme effectiveness of harmony with the powers of the natural universe and unity with the unnamable, ungraspable reality underlying the universe. The title Tao Te Ching might be translated "The Classic Book (Ching) of the Way (Tao) and It's Power (Te)." In his book "The Way and Its Power," Arthur Waley quotes a description of Te:

It is close at hand, stands indeed at our very side; yet is intangible, a thing that by reaching for cannot be got. Remote it seems as the furthest limit of the Infinite. yet it is not far off; everyday we use its power. For the Way of the Vital Spirit fills our whole frames, yet man cannot keep track of it. It goes, yet has not departed. It comes, yet is not here. It is muted, makes no note that can be heard, yet of a sudden we find that it is there in the mind. It is dim and dark, showing no outward form, yet in a great stream it flowed into us at our birth.

Edited by thelerner
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10,000 thanks for that article, thelearner.

My internal take on Te has always been 'efficacy'.

 

Welcome to the forum, acdbox. (-:

I fixed your thread title for you.

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This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not be false to any man.

 

Shakespeare via Polonius

 

Of course we are talking about people who have not already twisted into devils.:o

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@acdbox

 

Glad I'm not the only one asking this question. It's been really bothering me for the last few months, usually at least once a day. Very tricky, as it leads inevitably to an endless loop of "Why?" questions. ("Why should I be good?" "Because it should make you happy to see others happy." "Why should I be happy when others are happy?" Etc...)

 

Ultimately, I think that the Taoist has three reasons for being virtuous (other faiths are different of course - are you a Buddhist or a Taoist - or even something else?):

 

1. As @Marblehead noted, there are practical benefits to staying on people's good side.

 

2. Perhaps you just find joy in seeing other people be happy. When you think about it, there's no reason you shouldn't find joy in that, any less than you might find joy in movies, or music, or books, or chatting with friends, etc -- however difficult it can be for me to justify this sometimes, to legitimately, truly feel happy about others' joy.

 

3. If you get rid of most of your materialist desires as the Taoist sage did, then I'm not sure how many reasons you have left not to be virtuous (although this is debatable, since being virtuous generally requires involvement in the community which may not bring peace of mind as easily as the sage would like). If you think about it, probably most of our reasons not to be nice are things like, "I want to do _____ instead of this 'good' action." If you eliminate the want, which is often an attachment to a possession of some sort, then suddenly the obstacle disappears (although there is still not necessarily an actual affirmative reason to do good). 

 

In regard to @Earl Grey's point above: I get what he's saying, but, technically speaking, is there really any reason why an "evil" person can't have peace of mind? I think the only reason why people feel shame is because they have been imprinted with an image of what they are supposed to be like by society -- and they have done something the society considers opposite of that image. If one realized that, I think peace of mind might be attainable. 

 

However... I thought of another reason, related to Earl's peace of mind argument, why one might want to be good: Would a true Taoist really be sure that there was no right or wrong, or that there was no God? If they acknowledge that there is a possibility of God's existence, then there's a chance that by being at least somewhat virtuous they could avoid eternal damnation. This dynamic is really tricky to ponder and, IMO, shakes Taoism (and any other belief system) to its core. When I get the chance I'm planning to start a thread about some related issues that have been bugging me.

Edited by Will
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"Do not be overrighteous,

neither be overwise‚ÄĒ

why destroy yourself?

Do not be overwicked,

and do not be a fool‚ÄĒ

why die before your time?

It is good to grasp the one

and not let go of the other.

Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes." - Ecclesiastes 7:16-18

Virtue is good, but if it's harming you then it's not good...and perhaps not even truly virtuous. That's not to say avoid virtue and be bad...that also harms you. It's better to live life not harming yourself or anyone else, but actually benefiting all parties.

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Thank you all for replying.

@Marblehead thank you for the welcome 

@rene thank you for the amendment to the title.

and thank you for all the responses above.

 

I see the potential for doing good towards others, I dont deny that and is a factor.

Though by living a virtuous life you are essentially suffering. 

You suffer the self and denial essentially choosing others over self? 

Yes we suffer through non-virtuous means also, but if these have been reached through ignorance we can blame the external as a cause.

I appreciate that one empowers a different aspect of self by taking responsibility of actions regardless... though the following then arises:

Ok, so if we see the live a life non-virtuous, we can say 'that way doesn't work' lets try being virtuous a different means?

But, they then walk the virtuous life and still might find that doesnt quite work, is there reason one could raise themselves to stay to virtues? 

We could essentially walk our whole lives by virtue and beyond the trust/reassurance in virtues themselves and the small good deeds we do, nothing more is visible to be seen as justification to that path? Where one could live a life of self-preservation, but have the appropriate social understanding to get what they want/need but by being pleasant and courteous in when required. They have trust and reassurance in their own means of survival but the outside actions do not look much different. A virtuous path doesnt seem to have justification over the other?  

 

I am do not follow a religion, but appreciate some of what I have experienced of taosim. and believe its possible the wisdom here could be very beneficial to appease unnecessary conflicts in me. Thank you

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2 minutes ago, acdbox said:

 

Though by living a virtuous life you are essentially suffering. 

You suffer the self and denial essentially choosing others over self? 

I disagree.  If we suffer as a result of the above it is because there is no harmony in what we are doing regarding self and other.

 

Moderation!

 

Self first, others next.

 

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Think in terms of the    'win win" scenario.

But the consideration of ones self second is still valid 

in

The relationship between student and teacher

Husband and wife 

producer and consumer 

king and subjects 

etc 

Without trying to punch holes in it , you will see that the idea works.

Generally, If X puts himself first , then everyone else has to see to themselves first

If X puts himself second then folks can work for each others benefit easily

 

Its not perfect in all scenarios , especially because many folks are screwed up , but when I have put my students first , there was common interest , accord and respect. We had fun. If I made the whole thing about me , and promoting my wonderfulness, I doubt it would have been anything like that, or if the students were just entirely wrapped up in trying to do whatever they thought etc. 

Edited by Stosh
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On 10/19/2017 at 0:20 AM, acdbox said:

a life by doctrine to virtues

 

Hi acdbox,

 

What is such a life in the context of everyday living?

 

- LimA

Edited by Limahong
Enhance ...

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@Marblehead thank you again. So, with good intention and life of moderation, the final appearance could be far from appearing virtuous. So is having good intentions and keeping to moderation enough to live a virtuous life, even when virtue is seemingly no where to be seen? Hope that makes sense?

 

@Stosh Thank you for the viewpoint.

 

@Limahong I was attempting to state that a vitreous life is one of constriction and suffering in its own way. 

 

Thank you again

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1 minute ago, acdbox said:

 I was attempting to state that a vitreous life is one of constriction and suffering in its own way.

 

Hi acdbox,

 

Thank you. What is a non-virtuous life in the context of everyday living?

 

Good night.

 

- LimA

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Why live a Virtuous life? Why not. Actually Taoist are impatient and choose to grow into heaven wile alive instead of waiting for transformation at death. One must be virtuous and be in harmony with the Tao to achieve this skill. The Buddhist conception of suffering is not a skill but lack of skill.

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@Limahong , @Wu Ming Jen; I would expect to see virtue? I dont currently. Therefore I would have to make a commitment to virtue for change, but currently, do not have enough reassurance in that path. this was an exploration to see if possible calamity can be avoided and if in fact I may have been wrong in my actions. The unfortunate scenario is this needs to be reached via my mind to hold ground. Sincere thanks. good night 

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3 hours ago, acdbox said:

@Marblehead thank you again. So, with good intention and life of moderation, the final appearance could be far from appearing virtuous. So is having good intentions and keeping to moderation enough to live a virtuous life, even when virtue is seemingly no where to be seen? Hope that makes sense?

 

Intention must always be followed by action else all the intention in the world is of no value.

 

True, moderation is not always praise-worthy but then, seeking praise is not what we are talking about.

 

Yes, I think good intentions enacted with moderation is virtuous.  It may not be enough for some people you interact with but you must stay at peace with your inner self and not necessarily with the person who feels you are not doing enough.  

 

So yes, I think that one will find inner peace knowing that they have done the best they could even though some others may view it as not enough.  (But, in my opinion, they don't matter.)

 

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Although I didn't give it a "Thank You", Stosh's post above is a valid perspective.  Just not one I hold to.

 

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16 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

Although I didn't give it a "Thank You", Stosh's post above is a valid perspective.  Just not one I hold to.

 

Fine, but what does that mean?

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13 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

Intention must always be followed by action else all the intention in the world is of no value.

 

Good morning Dada-da,

 

Attention to intention is important, otherwise it's just pretension?

Leading to no definitions of "virtues" and whatsoever retention?

 

- LimA

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18 minutes ago, Stosh said:

Fine, but what does that mean?

Gotta concern one's self with one's self first so that one become able to help others.

 

If I have two broken legs I would be totally unable to help anyone walk.

 

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4 hours ago, acdbox said:

I would expect to see virtue?

 

Good morning acdbox,

 

Virtue in relation to your expectation? What is that?

What if I do not expect the same?

So virtue is relative?

 

- LimA

Edited by Limahong
Enhance ...
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23 minutes ago, Limahong said:

 

Good morning Dada-da,

 

Attention to intention is important, otherwise it's just pretension?

Leading to no definitions of "virtues" and whatsoever retention?

 

- LimA

Yeah.  You have led me to the concept of wu wei.

 

Generally translated as non-action.  Not really a good translation, IMO.  It is more at "action without intention else no action."

 

That would be a condition already attained by a Taoist Sage.  I'm not there yet.  I won't judge others.

 

So for most of us dealing with our everyday changing world we make plans.  When we act upon those plans we have, in fact, undertaken action with intention.

 

Was our action virtuous?  Depends on the state of our De.

 

And yes, some things we do with intention thinking that it is the most virtuous thing to do may be viewed by others to have been cruel.  Now, are we yet beyond praise and blame?

 

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i feel like your virtues shouldn't be forced. they should make you happy. if they dont, then its something else.

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40 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

Gotta concern one's self with one's self first so that one become able to help others.

 

If I have two broken legs I would be totally unable to help anyone walk.

 

Ok, I can live with that exception, as long as the point is to help others. 

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1 hour ago, Limahong said:

 

Virtue in relation to your expectation? What is that?

What if I do not expect the same?

So virtue is relative?

 

- LimA

 

Those, sir, are very good questions. (-:

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