What is Nirvana - A post from FB

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17 hours ago, freeform said:


Oh I see.


No sorry - I’m not an expert on the Dharma. My Buddhist teachers just tend to tell me what to do and then watch me do it in a little wooden hut in the forest :)


My main path is Daoist. My Buddhist teachers understand that and work around it.


There are various way of getting over craving in Daoism and they are different at different stages.


The difference in Daoism is that there’s rarely any contrived ‘control’ of your behaviour - there are very few precepts and rules for behaviour...


It’s considered that imitating virtue is as bad as being un-virtuous.


So you can try to act compassionately or wisely, but that will move you as far (if not further) from embodying your ‘original nature’ (or Yuan Shen) as would acting selfishly or foolishly...


Because any contrived action builds further layers of ‘Acquired Mind’.


In fact if your Acquired Nature is selfish and foolish - you’d be better off acting that way, because at least it does not build any new layers of ‘self’.


It tends to be very unpopular with most students 😄


It is one reason I refuse to speak ‘wise sounding words’... because I’m clearly not that wise :)


I've heard this idea before, and I can see some sense in it, and it does get to the moral heart of your daoism. But for me, this actually puts me off this style of practice.


So, do these qualities slowly develop with the practice, or do you only act in a 'virtuous' way once you've attained X, which may be right at the end of the path, or never if you never quite get there.


 I'm comparing this attitude with bring up a child - do you teach them how to treat others with respect? When you yourself have an 'acquired mind'?


Hmmm, I've got some other thoughts on this that I can't quite put into words yet . . .



There are some strong differences between Chinese and Western culture, maybe this is slightly touching on why ...




should there be moral guidance in wider society who don't have access to this teaching, of course. It's strange then starting a spiritual practice where you then let some of that go, but just which bits of your earlier moral education do you let go?

Edited by Miffymog
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1 hour ago, Miffymog said:

I've heard this idea before, and I can see some sense in it, and it does get to the moral heart of your daoism. But for me, this actually puts me off this style of practice.


Yeah. It was also somewhat confusing to me too. It’s generally quite unpopular with most students of the Dao.


The context is important here. We should remember that the height of Daoism arose at the same time as Confucianism which is kind of the exact opposite...


Confucian society was very ‘culturally refined’ and very stringently controlled - there were very many precepts for behaviour and many taboos. Human progress was considered to only be possible by refining action in accordance to strict external rules.


I tend to think of the upper class Britishness of the 18th century... where even table legs were covered up because if left uncovered they were considered to be a bit too racy - reminding one of a lady’s bare leg 😧🙈


For Daoists the opposite was true. They were the anarchists of the day 😄 Their only precepts were Humour, Humility and a general attitude of not taking things too seriously. 


The important part is that there was a big difference between one who’s a cultivator on the path and an ordinary ‘householder’ living in society.


For a spiritual cultivator, contrived rules are detrimental. For an ordinary person they are a necessity.


And it’s also important to remember that developing uncontrived virtue was of critical importance in most of the Daoist lineages. Someone who’s fully virtuous and uncontrived is considered to have developed a higher attainment than mere immortality....


Uncontrived virtue means virtuous action that comes not from the ‘personality’ or the Acquired Mind but virtue that arises spontaneously from the Original Self (the Yuan Shen)...


With uncontrived virtue one does things not for some personal aim (I want to be a good guy) but just coz they do it... 


“I’m going to pass on some wise lessons to these people” - contrived.


Opens mouth, profound wisdom comes out - uncontrived :)


There are five main virtues and they all come about through the harmonisation of Qi in the body as a foundation, through to the full transformation of the Acquired Mind and one’s emotional nature.


They are: Contentment, Patience, Bravery, Compassion and Wisdom.

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