Stewart

The Tao of disappointment

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On 5/11/2018 at 3:46 PM, Stewart said:

I’m about ready to throw in the towel on the Tao.  ..

Recently I purchased a book call “Taoist Meditation” translated by Thomas Cleary and was disappointed at what I read.

Example:

Human life is the ultimate; when the ultimate goes into action it produces positive energy as fire.  Fire is spirit.  When the ultimate becomes quiescent it produces negative energy as water.  Water is vitality.  The fire of spirit and the water of vitality combine subtly and congeal between the two kidneys to constitute the root of original energy.

You would have to search far and wide to find a bigger load of horse-pucky than that.

 

 

back to OP

Horse-pucky or the words of Taoist Sages?  Here's the information about the book (Publishers Weekly) from

"These five Taoist treatises, written from the 7th to the 19th century, offer Chinese sages' thoughts on meditation, "alternative" medicine, body energy, human nature, the martial arts and life and death ("Everyone likes life but not the path of long life. Everyone dislikes death but not the things conducive to death"). The first selection, "Anthology on the Cultivation of Realization," is a vivid assortment of reflections taking up nearly half the book's text; it is long but fascinating. The esoteric "Treatise on Sitting Forgetting" is also a jewel, closing with some fundamental principles of Taoist meditation ("Arrest thoughts as they arise, in order to make your mind peaceful and quiet")"

 

So, what the writer considers BS is from reknown sages.  It's done in the classical poetical, typically hard to understand allegory/5 element theory.  This stuff is hard to understand.  For someone without extensive background it's easily seen as B.S.  but with study and long years of practice you might find deep meaning, that matches your own experiential findings. 

 

There are easier tomes to start with.  Just practicing equanimity, learning to keep a quiet mind, learning to sit in silence.. can be a powerful teacher. 

Edited by thelerner
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4 hours ago, Mudfoot said:

Isn't it Liu I-Ming that though that daoism was in a sorry state, people studying Nei Dan classics but ending up wanking off or moving a bit of Qi instead of realizing the Dao?

And those practitioners he critisized had access to teachers, didn't have to rely on translations, and still ended up by a side door.

Shows how difficult this area is. 😁 

 

I think I've read he only found true teachings in his seventies or eighties. That gives some hope. :)

 

 

1 hour ago, Kar3n said:

You are not under attack, please create another thread if you wish to speak further on anything other than the OP.

 

Thanks for your cooperation. 

 

This has brought back a very old memory. I went to youtube and sure enough:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx2G3OCVRNk

 

:lol:Thank you!:lol:

 

 

2 hours ago, Starjumper said:

to do astral projection you had to have no negative thoughts or comments for about seven years ... so each day I tell myself: "dang, seven more years to go".

 

:lol:Thanks to you too! This is pure gold :lol: but now I think I've just laughed the equivalent of 3 months as the Classics warn of overjoy.

Edited by KuroShiro
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13 minutes ago, KuroShiro said:

...only found true teachings in his seventies or eighties. That gives some hope. :)

Like ancestor Lu who met Zhong-li at 40, and have heard the ultimate Dao at 50; like ancestor Zhang, who only at 60 has abandoned his family, went on to visit the Taoists, and at 70 got to receive secrets from Huo-long. So, looking at them, be only afraid that you disagree to orient your heart towards Dao, do not fear that years are old! In our school we have a saying: Don’t worry that your years are not young, only worry that your heart is not sincere for Dao.

http://www.taoiststudy.com/taoist_alchemy/huang-yuanji-meditation-practice

 

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On 5/11/2018 at 4:46 PM, Stewart said:

I’m about ready to throw in the towel on the Tao.  When I first came here (Dao Bums) I said I was looking for a purer form of the Tao.  Something free of Buddhist teachings about Karma, Dharma, reincarnations, Suffering and the eight fold path.  I also asked if someone could tell me what a Tao Sage was and if there were any still around that I could meet.  Now I walked into this conversation knowing full well that I would encounter people trying to be clever, and others being true believers of their interpretation of the Tao trying to convince me that their way was THE way.  But what I did not expect to find was nothing.  There doesn’t seem to be any serious cannon beside the 81 verses.  I find parts of the verses helpful, but they kind of echo ideas that I have already come across.  I suppose my experience would be much more meaningful had I found a mentor.  Forget a Sage, just a knowledgeable person.

Recently I purchased a book call “Taoist Meditation” translated by Thomas Cleary and was disappointed at what I read.

Example:

Human life is the ultimate; when the ultimate goes into action it produces positive energy as fire.  Fire is spirit.  When the ultimate becomes quiescent it produces negative energy as water.  Water is vitality.  The fire of spirit and the water of vitality combine subtly and congeal between the two kidneys to constitute the root of original energy.

You would have to search far and wide to find a bigger load of horse-pucky than that.

 

That Gertrude Stein quote about Oakland CA, “there is no there there”, sums up my current experience with the Tao.  but just maybe that is the point of the Tao.

 

I was going to post before but forgot what I wanted to say... now that's some level of disappointment but as I can't remember, there is really nothing to be disappointed about too :)

 

Yea, reading books... yak, yak, yak... too many words...  same with this website sometimes...  yet here we are :)

 

If we accept the sunshine then we have to accept the rain and snow: Open to everything that arises.     Therein is the pure Dao ;)

 

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On 11.5.2018 at 10:46 PM, Stewart said:

I’m about ready to throw in the towel on the Tao. 

 

Useful knowledge doesn't get served on a silver platter.

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On 5/11/2018 at 4:46 PM, Stewart said:

I’m about ready to throw in the towel on the Tao.  When I first came here (Dao Bums) I said I was looking for a purer form of the Tao.  Something free of Buddhist teachings about Karma, Dharma, reincarnations, Suffering and the eight fold path.  I also asked if someone could tell me what a Tao Sage was and if there were any still around that I could meet.  Now I walked into this conversation knowing full well that I would encounter people trying to be clever, and others being true believers of their interpretation of the Tao trying to convince me that their way was THE way.  But what I did not expect to find was nothing.  There doesn’t seem to be any serious cannon beside the 81 verses.  I find parts of the verses helpful, but they kind of echo ideas that I have already come across.  I suppose my experience would be much more meaningful had I found a mentor.  Forget a Sage, just a knowledgeable person.

Recently I purchased a book call “Taoist Meditation” translated by Thomas Cleary and was disappointed at what I read.

Example:

Human life is the ultimate; when the ultimate goes into action it produces positive energy as fire.  Fire is spirit.  When the ultimate becomes quiescent it produces negative energy as water.  Water is vitality.  The fire of spirit and the water of vitality combine subtly and congeal between the two kidneys to constitute the root of original energy.

You would have to search far and wide to find a bigger load of horse-pucky than that.

 

That Gertrude Stein quote about Oakland CA, “there is no there there”, sums up my current experience with the Tao.  but just maybe that is the point of the Tao.

 

I don't think you're likely to find what you are looking for online or in books or videos.

If you want a taste, you need to look for a taste - that means practice, engagement, direct instruction by a master.

Find a credible teacher of Daoist arts - meditation, neigong, qigong, taijiquan, baguazhang, xingyiquan, yijing... 

Once you'd had a bit of direct experience, the words start to make a bit more sense.

Or just let it go, there are plenty of paths to follow.

Good luck

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Wherever you go you will find your teacher, as long as you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.
~Shunryu Suzuki ~

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I agree with starjumper's opinion for saying that real neigong systems have thousands of techniques.

 

For example even if you could set something on fire with the open palm but could you do it with your fist that is a different circulation route than the palm. Or with your yi alone or at a distance or with your wei field or your feet. Just because you can do one thing that doesnt mean you are developed enough to express it at a master level.

 

Proper development matters.

Edited by Purple Gold Qilin
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31 minutes ago, Purple Gold Qilin said:

I agree with starjumper's opinion for saying that real neigong systems have thousands of techniques.

 

 

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Stewart, I have to say I was really struck by your post. So, many thoughts ran thru my head as I read it. I felt like I wanted to say something but have struggled with words or even where to start. 

 

I am no sage. I don't think anyone here is. But there sure are a lot of knowledgeable folks on this site. Everyone here is on their own journey. Each with his/her own perspective and talents.

 

Having picked up a translation of the DDJ is just s starting point on the journey. The Dao is a broad expanse. It has many aspects and they are not mutually exclusive; they form a unity. 

 

You may not find a sage that will tell you all you want to know. In a sense you are your own mentor. It is up to you to find the aspects of Dao thst resonate with you and explore them. And I can tell you that takes time. The more you explore the more you can see.

 

There is advantage to having a forum like this. Folks here are willing to offer their understandings and do so in an open and kind way. I hope you can see that value and decide to stay. If not, then best wishes on you journey. 

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On 5/11/2018 at 3:46 PM, Stewart said:

I’m about ready to throw in the towel on the Tao.    There doesn’t seem to be any serious cannon beside the 81 verses.  I find parts of the verses helpful, but they kind of echo ideas that I have already come across.  I suppose my experience would be much more meaningful had I found a mentor.  Forget a Sage, just a knowledgeable person.

 

Getting back to the OP, I'd recommend the Taoist Manual by Brock Silvers.  It's a look at serious Taoism, ie the religious side, that's where much of the hard core, mystical, deep stuff is.   It considers the TTC to be amongst many important Taoist manual.  It gives an indepth look at serious, religious Taoism.  Forget 'sage', it takes years or decades of study and practice to become a serious initiate.  In the book you may find clues to what your looking for.   Not easy answers but paths to follow. 

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On 5/11/2018 at 2:27 PM, Lost in Translation said:

Failure is an excellent teacher. Whether on this forum or in life you will meet disappointment, but that does not mean you cannot learn from it. I suggest you exercise patience in this matter.

How do you exercise patience? Let's say many postings are far from reality but mostly this new age positive mentality, do i need to tell myself be patient?

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8 hours ago, Mig said:

How do you exercise patience? Let's say many postings are far from reality but mostly this new age positive mentality, do i need to tell myself be patient?

Yeah, but get on with it already, we're losin' daylight.  

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On 5/25/2018 at 12:18 AM, Mig said:

How do you exercise patience? Let's say many postings are far from reality but mostly this new age positive mentality, do i need to tell myself be patient?

 

One way to exercise patience -

 

When I feel impatient, I notice that and let it be just as it is.

I feel it fully, not pushing it away or suppressing it, but don't engage with it, don't add to the internal discussion.

I simply feel impatient and rest in that feeling.

In due time, it's gone.

 

Reflecting on that, I pay attention to what brought it up.

What aspect of myself was irritated or stimulated and why was there a need to change what is?

Something in me, something I over-identify with, was the source.

If I can let that go and see that it is nothing more than a thought, an idea, I do not need to be disturbed.

 

So in the case of postings that are far from reality or come from a new age positive mentality...

What in me is bothered by that?

The practitioner? The critic? The purist? The fundamentalist? The expert?

It is some role in my life that I identify with that gives birth to that irritation.

Is it my role to eliminate those posts, that mentality in the world?

Is that even possible or necessary?

Perhaps, even though I find it foolish, it is supporting and helping someone in a very difficult time in their life and it's all they have access to.

Are there other things in the world that are more worthy of my time, attention, and effort?

Can I see that the problem is in me and my inability to simply allow it to be as it is?

 

While I certainly do not "need" to tell myself to be patient, I also do not need to punish myself with impatience because the New Age mentality exists. I can let it be and perhaps even offer the New Age person my friendship and support while sharing with them my own views, rather than attacking theirs.

 

Just one approach and the one I play with. It takes a lot of practice but can be very effective.

 

 

 

Edited by steve
typo
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56 minutes ago, steve said:

One way to exercise patience -

 

When I feel impatient, I notice that and let it be just as it is.

I feel it fully, not pushing it away or suppressing it, but don't engage with it, don't add to the internal discussion.

I simply feel impatient and rest in that feeling.

In due time, it's gone.

 

I think quietly embedded in this statement is the notion of disconnecting the the source from the response.

 

Impatience is most noticeable when the response is the rapid and often volitile emotional discharge it results in. As stated, by taking a moment to "... notice ... and just let it be ..." it allows time for the emotional discharge to gradually dissipate, to recognize what just happened, understand the source and then act in a more appropriate way. 

 

 

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@ steve & OldDog

 

Very good! Let me add one more consideration: criticizing usually backfires! See:  https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Backfire_effect

 

So when you see you are dealing with a believer or fundamentalist who obviously is not interested in facts or arguments against his own position, the best thing you can do is leave them alone.

 

Note: I still sometimes ignore my own advise, because it is a difficult thing to follow. :blush:

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1 minute ago, wandelaar said:

So when you see you are dealing with a believer or fundamentalist who obviously is not interested in facts or arguments against his own position, the best thing you can do is leave them alone.

 

I had one of those the other day and I did good at resisting the temptation to disagree.

 

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There is also the last resort option of placing someone who continually irritates you on your personal list of "Ignored Users".

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I know what you mean OP.

 

Same with Buddhism.

 

It's called religion.

 

Although I still follow my understanding of both Taoist and Buddhist doctrines my experience after years of doing so, even after

Retreating to the wilderness/entering homelessness, was that when confronted with the real life religious institutions was WTF?

 

Both institutions have strayed from the original truths, and ways described by the originators f the ancient doctrines.

 

The tao that can 've taoed is not the eternal Tao.

 

The Tao is not Chinese in origin, nor is the Dharma a product of Asia.

 

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3 hours ago, steve said:

 

One way to exercise patience -

 

When I feel impatient, I notice that and let it be just as it is.

I feel it fully, not pushing it away or suppressing it, but don't engage with it, don't add to the internal discussion.

I simply feel impatient and rest in that feeling.

In due time, it's gone.

 

Reflecting on that, I pay attention to what brought it up.

What aspect of myself was irritated or stimulated and why was there a need to change what is?

Something in me, something I over-identify with, was the source.

If I can let that go and see that it is nothing more than a thought, an idea, I do not need to be disturbed.

 

So in the case of postings that are far from reality or come from a new age positive mentality...

What in me is bothered by that?

The practitioner? The critic? The purist? The fundamentalist? The expert?

It is some role in my life that I identify with that gives birth to that irritation.

Is it my role to eliminate those posts, that mentality in the world?

Is that even possible or necessary?

Perhaps, even though I find it foolish, it is supporting and helping someone in a very difficult time in their life and it's all they have access to.

Are there other things in the world that are more worthy of my time, attention, and effort?

Can I see that the problem is in me and my inability to simply allow it to be as it is?

 

While I certainly do not "need" to tell myself to be patient, I also do not need to punish myself with impatience because the New Age mentality exists. I can let it be and perhaps even offer the New Age person my friendship and support while sharing with them my own views, rather than attacking theirs.

 

Just one approach and the one I play with. It takes a lot of practice but can be very effective.

 

 

 

Excellent and I appreciate your input. It is very important to know what you mean and elaborate. Now, what do you do when you don't agree with the system you live in? Do you just accept and be patient until changes?

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1 hour ago, Mig said:

Excellent and I appreciate your input. It is very important to know what you mean and elaborate. Now, what do you do when you don't agree with the system you live in? Do you just accept and be patient until changes?

 

Not at all.

 

First of all, in general it is usually of little value to try and change a system while we are weak and confused. It is far more effective to change ourselves. Even that does not mean that we do nothing to improve our surroundings but it is far better to look inside first. When we have made the necessary changes in ourselves we will be far more effective in changing the system. In fact, when we change ourselves, those around us can't help but change in response. 

 

People frequently misunderstand the instruction to "leave it as it is" (Dzogchen) which is essentially the same as "wu wei" (Daoism). It does not mean to do nothing. It means to make sure that what we are doing comes from the right place, a place of openness, awareness, and clarity; not from a place of frustration, impatience, fear, desire, and anger. When we try to change our environment from that mind, we tend to do more harm than good.

 

The way to do it in these paradigms is to recognize the pain we are experiencing and not act from that pain. Instead, we use our practice to allow those emotions and distortions (fundamental ignorance) to liberate. Once we are in a clear and settled frame of mind, the actions we take will be far more appropriate, balanced, and effective; and they will occur spontaneously and naturally. In Daoism, that would be practicing wu wei (not acting or not interfering) and allowing the natural flow of Dao (the right response, the right action manifests naturally). In Dzogchen, it would be referred to as resting in the nature of mind (recognizing our true nature, overcoming ignorance) and allowing the 3 bodies to arise (whatever is needed in any given situation will arise spontaneously). That's the basic idea as I understand it. 

 

A simple example is saving a drowning child. Most of would not need to think about it, the action of saving the child will just happen spontaneously and effortlessly. That is wu wei. Wu wei is not sitting by and watching the child drown. Similarly, another example is engaging in an argument when someone criticizes or contradicts us. When we are not over-identified with the ego, there is nothing to defend. We can accept the criticism with a smile and a thank you rather than escalate. We can do nothing at all and allow the other to have the last word. We have both voiced our opinions and can let it go and move on. That is also wu wei. So much of what we do is reactionary and unhelpful. Imagine if every action we take is that spontaneous, that appropriate. It can be achieved but takes a lot of dedication and skillful practice. 

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Criticism can be very useful, and one would do oneself a disservice by ignoring all and any criticism at one's own opinions. In fact one can learn much more from well meant criticism than from likes and applauds. But it's the criticism of people who don't know what they are talking about or who are trying to win a debate by whatever means to boost their own ego that irritate me. Such discussions tend to take up huge amounts of time and energy without any positive result. I much rather put those guys on my Ignored Users list, so as to block that type of discussion already at the beginning. As Lao tzu said it's best to solve problems before they arise.

Edited by wandelaar
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5 hours ago, wandelaar said:

There is also the last resort option of placing someone who continually irritates you on your personal list of "Ignored Users".

Yeah, but there's no ignore button in real life.

 

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3 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

Yeah, but there's no ignore button in real life.

 

Where is the crying emoticon? 

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