wandelaar

What's the use of schools and lineages within Taoism in the Modern World?

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On 4/30/2018 at 11:52 AM, Lost in Translation said:
On 4/30/2018 at 10:02 AM, wandelaar said:

There is no guaranty that Taoist masters from schools with a long lineage will have it right. The long lineage can just as well mean that they have wandered far from the source (so to speak). And even Lao tse and Chuang tse may be wrong or outdated on some points.

 

This is worthy of a thread in its own right! (hint, hint) I, personally, always come back to choice/consequence. Whether we follow the road laid before us or forge our own path, we always must choose. And once chosen we must accept the consequences. 

 

This ^^^ is the comment from another thread that started this thread. We'll see if it sparks any interest...

 

For almost any discipline other than Taoism I would answer that a school/lineage is a repository and arbiter of canonical knowledge. Naturally the same is true of Taoism to a certain extent. But fundamental to Taoism is unlearning and non-action. These seem to be at odds with the very concept of "canonical." So where does that leave us? How do you teach something that holds at its core that "the Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao" and "the name that can be named is not the eternal name?"

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I think the mystical experience is essentially beyond words in all religions. The difference lies in what we are supposed to do before and after.

 

Further there is a Tao that cannot be told, and there is also a Tao that can be told. The Tao that cannot be told can only be "known" in mystical experience. But the Tao that can be told consist in the Laws of Nature (from physics), in patterns visible in the living world and human society, and in the exemplary lives of Taoist sages.

 

At least that is my current understanding. ;)

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14 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

I think the mystical experience is essentially beyond words in all religions.

 

But now we have added a new element, the mystical experience. This is by no means a requirement of all religions - quite the opposite! The mystical experience often runs counter to dogma and canon and is thus to be shunned, or at the very least controlled.

 

Are you saying that the mystical experience is essential to Taoism?

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1 hour ago, Lost in Translation said:

For almost any discipline other than Taoism I would answer that a school/lineage is a repository and arbiter of canonical knowledge. Naturally the same is true of Taoism to a certain extent. But fundamental to Taoism is unlearning and non-action. These seem to be at odds with the very concept of "canonical." So where does that leave us? How do you teach something that holds at its core that "the Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao" and "the name that can be named is not the eternal name?"

 

Well there's a big big situation brewing here.   Schools and lineages pertain to the Taoist arts, whether it be medicine or tai chi or any of the hundred other ones.   A long lineage is of no use in philosophy, and in fact philosophy is NOT a Taoist art, the philosophy is embedded in the other arts and is best learned by practicing those arts learned from the most advanced master you can find from a long and trusted lineage.  Taoist 'philosophy' removed from the arts is a sad little Western invention which I see as being essentially useless.

Edited by Starjumper
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The experience that is mystical cannot be told.  Only experienced.  Words will never express the experience.

 

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Likewise there are some bozos teaching some of the arts and they do not come from a lineage, they just mishmash some kindergarten  level knowledge of some art(s) together and call it something new.  One of these that comes to mind would be Mr. Hairy Lieman, who claims to know nei kung, others would be the Wimps of Western more pie, who also claim to be doing nei kung (vomit emoticon goes here).

 

Then there are the true masters who have learned deeply from long lineages but when they teach they normally must dumb down and simplify their approach so that it better fits modern people with miniscule attention spans and little disciple.  One of these that comes to mind is the feller who teaches Spring Forest chi kung, something simple which he put together out of a much vaster knowledge of such things and gave it a new name.

 

A slightly different example of a similar kind of thing comes from the 1800 year old immortal, Babaji Nagaraj.  He recommends Kriya yoga for the modern peoples, but that isn't the yoga that he used to become an immortal.  In fact the yoga that he used he learned from a Siddha (wizard) from Ceylon, and that yoga is very similar to the kind of chi kungs which contain the ten thousand techniques, which technically is nei kung - or that's what nei kung used to mean before bozos such as Hairy Lieman and others of his ilk bastardized the concept for money.  So why did Babaji not recommend his own kind of yoga for the masses?

Edited by Starjumper
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10 minutes ago, Starjumper said:

Taoist 'philosophy' removed from the arts is a sad little Western invention which I see as being essentially useless.

 

That may be true, but it also may not be true. Taoist 'philosophy' may simply be the newest lineage in a long line of lineages.

 

I had this thought many years ago when working with a group of Indian computer programmers. None of them spoke English as a native language yet they all spoke English. It seems there are so many languages in India that the government uses English to speak to itself. Now this is interesting because the English used in India is not the same as used in England for America, but it is very much English. It even has its own slang! A purist may say "they are not speaking English", but that's not what they would say!

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10 minutes ago, Lost in Translation said:

That may be true, but it also may not be true. Taoist 'philosophy' may simply be the newest lineage in a long line of lineages.

 

Well of course it could become a new kind of lineage which fits well with the Western mentality.  I suppose the philosophy could be of some use to a few people but it seems very superficial to me.  I've taken high power in your face success seminars, which of course are entirely mental, and although I was really psyched and motivated right after the four day retreat I found that before long it faded into the background and my 'real' self returned in full force, but now with more ammunition to beat myself up with.

 

Possibly it has to do with different learning styles that different people have.

 

Now I did get some sagely advice from one earthly immortal and it really helped me see the Way, it was parallel to but 'outside' of the common publicly shared philosophy.  It only had value when blended with a serious meditational cultivation practice though.

 

So I'm shticking to my opinion that the philosophy is useless when not joined with or learned from one or more of the arts, your mileage may vary.

 

Edited by Starjumper
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If you enjoy your efforts , you get to express your life in a way that fits who you want to be.. well that's pretty useless to me , Right ? 

But I would say ,it is spending your time well .

Your teachings and learnings empower the spirit right? Of what use is that? You will pass like everyone else, and the rich garden of your soul will .. disperse. It isn't going to be stored .

Even great heroes from Ghengis to Archimedes , live only as names now, ,, and only as faces or voices ,back then ,

behind which, were entire persons, mostly anonymous. 

 

So what you will have,  is what you live now , transitory moments , emotions , loves, triumphs

and all the rest that human flesh is heir to.

The facts and figures of a savings account, statues and foundations in your honor

( if you get that done) ,

are all useless to you ,if your life sucked ,

if you lived at odds with yourself,

even if you lived two hundred years. 

If these arts make your life good , if they don't leave you fired up and ticked off ,

well then, the philosophy has done the trick whether you wanted it to or not.

It soaked in,  and that's the important thing. :)

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10 minutes ago, Starjumper said:

Well of course it could become a new kind of lineage which fits well with the Western mentality.  I suppose the philosophy could be of some use to a few people but it seems very superficial to me.

 

I suppose it's important to distinguish the objective beforehand. If one wants to master chi and become a wizard, well, philosophy alone is almost certainly the wrong path. But not everyone wants that. Many want to simply be at peace with the world, in which case philosophy may be of great value.

 

13 minutes ago, Starjumper said:

So I'm shticking to my opinion that the philosophy is useless when not joined with or learned from one or more of the arts, your mileage may vary.

 

Noted. 

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Well - I also consider Taoist philosophy without any form of practice as a sterile approach. But the practice doesn't have to be Martial Arts, Chi Gong, or those kind of things. I do however consider meditation of some form essential, and there are references in Lao tse and Chuang tse to meditative practices. But the most important Taoist art connected to Taoist philosophy would naturally be "the art of living well".

Edited by wandelaar
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Schools are for learning. There is a lot of random info in the spiritual marketplace, some good and some not...but without becoming an actual student of any of the various schools out there, our learning isn't as clear and systematic, and we almost completely lack guidance. There are various goals that we could set out for, but without a school do we even have a clear end goal in sight? Practicing aimlessly will bring aimless results.

I'm a big fan of finding others to learn from in legitimate ways...a big fan of schools. Also, of doing the work of the school that you choose...be a good disciplined student, obeying the instruction as best you can, so long as its sensible and it brings benefit.

At the same time, maintain your objectivity and keep the school's teaching in its place in your life...as just one aspect of who you are, and as counsel to consider rather than something to give up your capacity of reasoning for.

So yeah...the use of schools is to learn better than you would otherwise, and then to have a better shot at attaining your (and the school's) goal.

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On 2018-05-01 at 10:50 PM, Lost in Translation said:

 How do you teach something that holds at its core that "the Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao" and "the name that can be named is not the eternal name?"

You teach the methods that makes you experience that for yourself. 

 

Which is the purpose of schools and lineages. The school for teaching, the unbroken lineage as a proof that your method works. 

And if your teacher or his/her teacher fails to show the results they claim you should get, you might want to get out of there. 

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On 2018-05-02 at 12:08 AM, Starjumper said:

Likewise there are some bozos teaching some of the arts and they do not come from a lineage, they just mishmash some kindergarten  level knowledge of some art(s) together and call it something new.  /...... /

 

Then there are the true masters who have learned deeply from long lineages but when they teach they normally must dumb down and simplify their approach so that it better fits modern people with miniscule attention spans and little disciple.  One of these that comes to mind is the feller who teaches Spring Forest chi kung, something simple which he put together out of a much vaster knowledge of such things and gave it a new name.

 

So, lineage for the student who wants the whole package, modern teachings for the modern person.?

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57 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

So, lineage for the student who wants the whole package, modern teachings for the modern person.?

 

Yes, you could say that.  Hopefully some modern people would want the whole package.

 

1 hour ago, Mudfoot said:

And if your teacher or his/her teacher fails to show the results they claim you should get, you might want to get out of there. 

 

This is the problem with certificates.  Some certificates have real meaning and value while others amount to so much toilet paper.

 

For example, my fearless clan leader, designated inheritor of my system of chi kung and kung fu was not given a certificate, nor was I, which brings up a comment I made elsewhere: "If you ever see a wizard with a certificate you can be sure the world has gone to hell."  He's one of the more advanced martial artists in the whole world and also a true jedi, but alas, with no papers.  He wanted to teach some chi kung at his local VA hospital, but oops, not allowed to because he had no certificate.  I told him I would make a certificate for him and he could make one for me, semi jokingly, but no we don't even want to get into that circus, which I find more and more disgusting as time goes on.  Any bozo can make a certificate for any other bozo, it's easy; you can probably download them from the internet and print one out.  I'll pay 25 cents to anyone who provides me with a certificate =)

 

Then on the other hand you have all these people, like in the American Qigong Association or something with that kind of name, who are mostly a bunch of frigging amateurs with certificates who go around patting each other on the back, they are all required to have certificates to be in that club.  ... and why do we suppose they want to be in that club?  Well it's for money or ego, isn't it? ... Or the Koffee Klatch element, that's part of it too.

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Got loads of certificates. Comes with the territory, working in the health care system means you go to a lot of shorts courses. 

 

Most of them certify attendance, not skill. ūüėĀ¬†

 

So, I have the proof that I am good at attending. 

Sort of. 

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7 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

Got loads of certificates.  

Yeah, they sure look good on the wall after being framed and mounted.  I have a few.  They haven't prevented me from getting old though.

 

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Here's an exemplary video which contains an example of a certificate.  A lot of chi kung is essentially the same.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

They haven't prevented me from getting old though.

 

Maybe you are part of a long lineage of getting old? 

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The modern long linage schools are very old yet present today. Living arts make this possible. my lineage is unbroken for only 600 years so in context it is modern. The knowledge of its foundation is from 5000 years written and 8000 plus years of prehistory.

 

Why in the world are we discussing and practicing these ancient methods in the first place in the year of 2018. Maybe these arts transcend time and are always of value and apply to the modern times.

 

Being, non being what does that calendar look like. Beyond the laws of yin and yang we reach the eternal a well that never runs dry. If ancient and modern have not reconciled their difference there is no birth. A proper education from a long lineage school might help to understand.

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3 hours ago, Mudfoot said:

Got loads of certificates.

 

3 hours ago, Marblehead said:

Yeah, they sure look good on the wall after being framed and mounted.  I have a few.

 

Yikes, I'm surrounded by the enemy :ph34r:   Heh heh, everything's cool, I like certificates.

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37 minutes ago, Starjumper said:

 

Yikes, I'm surrounded by the enemy :ph34r:   

It is a forum after all. 

A place where we meet to argue, and in some cases, fight imaginary battles. 

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