Raindancer

When does one "become" a taoist?

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Posted (edited)

This might be a silly question, but the thought arose in me after a conversation I had with a person earlier today.

 

In short this person advised me to practice taoism, and I replied saying that I in fact am a taoist. To that the person replied: "how strange, in my book a taoist does not want things". I had earlier talked about the future I was working towards, how I could see myself living my life, which involved the word (example "I want to have a garden where I can grow vegetables").

 

I do not agree with the person I spoke to, we're not all wise sages without fault, but it made me wonder, is there a consensus on when someone is a taoist?

What should I have replied to that statement? All I did now was to say that I'm no sage, which, though obvious, might've been enough.

Edited by Raindancer
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This is a very good question, and it goes hand in hand with "What is a Taoist?"

 

Some say a Taoist is someone who follows a specific lineage of internal martial arts leading back thousands of years to a certain founder. Others say a Taoist is someone who lives their life according to the principles laid out in the Tao Te Ching. Between these two extremes there is a lot of room and unfortunately not a lot of consensus.

 

I would say that a Taoist is someone who lives life in the manner of a Taoist. This means study of the Taoist classics, daily meditation (this is also an issue without consensus), and embodying the understanding that change is constant, and thus is the only permanent truth.

 

Hope that helps!

 

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Thank you both for your replies!

So there is no consensus, I suspected that. The reaction I had from this person makes me think that there might be some differences in opinion about that, and I can see how that would be with what you say, Lost in Translation, but I'm glad to hear that there's no consensus. I could picture just how hard it would be, to deem who is and who isn't.

Thank you for the link, escott! That article was interesting, and it also seems to support that there's no clear cut line that makes someone a Taoist, only principles to live by as one.

 

 

I'm studying Taoism to the best of my abilities and I try to follow principles in Tao Te Ching, I very much consider myself a student, and I don't think I will ever be 'perfect', but to me there's no question about me being a Taoist or not. I feel as if I've been a Taoist longer than I've known the word for it, as I held the same view of the world and the Way before I discovered Tao Te Ching, I just didn't know how to live aligned with it. I suppose some might disagree with me, but what else should I say I am?

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Posted (edited)

The Druids had a definition of what a human being is that's always resonated.

 

A man or woman is always three things simultaneously.

 

They are who they think they are.

They are who others think they are.

 

And they are who they actually are... apart from the other two.

 

edit to add:  I don't know about any isms, or ists.  But lately, the one truly impossible thing for me, is to ever be separate from source by even a hair's width, for any fraction of time.  You have the anchor of life in the core of your fluid living beingness.  Explore with abandon.  Or sit in contentment.

Edited by silent thunder
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Posted (edited)

The question might be answered.

 

All already are.

 

The point is the realization of this, acting in accordance with this realization.

 

The answer may be it's not becoming one but understanding that one is.

 

 

Edited by windwalker
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Thank you for your answers!

 

My question was not a very deep and thoughtful one, I know that, but I'm very thankful for the answers.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Raindancer said:

This might be a silly question, but the thought arose in me after a conversation I had with a person earlier today.

 

In short this person advised me to practice taoism, and I replied saying that I in fact am a taoist. To that the person replied: "how strange, in my book a taoist does not want things". I had earlier talked about the future I was working towards, how I could see myself living my life, which involved the word (example "I want to have a garden where I can grow vegetables").

 

I do not agree with the person I spoke to, we're not all wise sages without fault, but it made me wonder, is there a consensus on when someone is a taoist?

What should I have replied to that statement? All I did now was to say that I'm no sage, which, though obvious, might've been enough.

 

Reply as follows:

 

The idea that Taoists don't want anything comes from confusing Taoism with kindergarten level Buddhism.

 

2 hours ago, Raindancer said:

My question was not a very deep and thoughtful one, I know that, but I'm very thankful for the answers.

 

It could be very deep indeed, because it gets to the core of how people deal with attachments.

 

Concerning your question about how one 'becomes' a Taoist, it depends on where you fall on the spectrum between mystic and fundamentalist.

 

Edited by Starjumper
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But it is deep and thoughtful.

Why would a Taoist not want things ?

Why did Laozi leave the city ?   Because he wanted things.
Why did he write the TaoTeChing ?  Because he wanted things.

But the things he wanted were of the real world, of what is true.

Rather than the material delusion most of humans live in ... which can be so difficult that Laozi decided to leave.

Many people ride on the bus and go with the flow ... are they Taoist ?
Perhaps they are just unconscious, totally asleep inside their head.   How can someone asleep be anything?
No, if you can write the TaoTeChing you are very alive, the flame of life is roaring within you.

The toll of the true life is roaring within you.

At first it is small, it is a small true thing, a grain of sand that is true within you.

For some, such a small grain of sand feels so real so needed that the entire world barely exists next to it.

And that very small thing is pursued.

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Haha! Well, I'm grateful for the replies :D I also thought it sounded a bit weird, because almost everything could be linked to a "want", I thought this person maybe meant desire, such as desire for riches or alike, because a want can be practically anything, how can it be "wrong" to want to live a peaceful life?

 

I suppose the question is as deep as one makes it. Originally in my head it wasn't a deep thought deserving of a deep answer, but with all the replies I've gotten, I suppose it's more to it than I thought.

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Posted (edited)

"The sage has no mind of his own, his mind is the people's mind (he only wants what the people want)"  TTC

Edited by Starjumper
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are you saying the sages mind is the reflection of the people’s mind as the sage has abandoned mind and become the reflection of others?

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I do recall reading that bit about the sage, hence my reply to the person that I'm no sage. I'm definitely not on that level!

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Pilgrim said:

are you saying the sages mind is the reflection of the people’s mind as the sage has abandoned mind and become the reflection of others?

 

Well, Lao Tzu said it, and the TTC appears to have layers of depth of meaning, so what you say is no doubt true.

 

I was thinking it was more like:  The sage hardly has any cares for himself, but he does like to be helpful to others.  In fact someone :rolleyes: once said that a Taoist master can not say 'no'.  So it's interesting to see how they get around saying no sometimes, and other times, 'yes' can be a much bigger and harsher lesson than no to the 'other'.

 

Not saying they go on crusades too often, but if someone comes to them in person and asks for something then they can have a hard time saying no.

 

Mr. Yueng thought it was a nice challenge though, so he worked on and perfected the art of saying no, it was funny sometimes how he did it.

Edited by Starjumper
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Posted (edited)

Lol I think I would have liked him. I have always earned my living by being of service to others.

 

One of my favorite things to do is say No. I can see the question coming and before they speak I smile and sweetly say No.

 

Often I get a what do you mean no ? I did not even say anything.

 

To which I reply well see the conversation can’t go anywhere but up from here.

 

Or  can’t do anything but improve from that beginning.

 

This is to slow people’s motors and get them to consider I am a person too so they phrase what they really want correctly instead of being on the horns of a need worked up in their emotions or imaginings of an issue that truly is more of a mole hill than a mountain.

 

The really objective ones get it and laugh with me.

 

Some get offended and their issue also takes longer for me to get too ass well 😈

 

 

Edited by Pilgrim
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Posted (edited)
On 21/6/2019 at 6:08 AM, Raindancer said:

 

What should I have replied to that statement? 

 

Far be it from me to tell anybody how to reply to anybody else, but since you ask...you might have started by rolling your eyes.  Do you have beautiful, long hair?  If so, I´d of flipped it insolently.  Alternatively, you could of pursed your lips together and blown raspberries.  Simply stomping off would of worked too.

 

My point is that if you say you´re a Daoist nobody has any business telling you you aren´t.  If someone is curious about what you mean by that statement they can ask.  Do you mean you study the Daoist literature?  Do you endeavor to live by a particular philosophy?  Do you engage in Daoist spiritual practices?  Telling someone who says they are a Daoist that they aren´t is bad form.  

Edited by liminal_luke
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20 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

 

Far be it from me to tell anybody how to reply to anybody else, but since you ask...you might have started by rolling your eyes.  Do you have beautiful, long hair?  If so, I´d of flipped it insolently.  Alternatively, you could of pursed your lips together and blown raspberries.  Simply stomping off would of worked too.

 

My point is that if you say you´re a Daoist nobody has any business telling you you aren´t.  If someone is curious about what you mean by that statement they can ask.  Do you mean you study the Daoist literature?  Do you endeavor to live by a particular philosophy?  Do you engage in Daoist spiritual practices?  Telling someone who says they are a Daoist that they aren´t is bad form.  

 

I guess that is true. Her remark wasn't a question, not something I had to answer, and on top of that, it came across as somewhat rude.

 

Thank you for your reply!

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One reply could be the Tao is not a thing and being a Taoist is not a want. People usually want what they do not have. If you want to be two Taoist instead of one because you already are one Taoist that could be confusing.

 

Did you ever think you wanted to be a Taoist? it probably just happened that you are by accident with out want or trying, no really, it can just happen that some people have the bones of an immortal and the tao sings to them.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Wu Ming Jen said:

One reply could be the Tao is not a thing and being a Taoist is not a want. People usually want what they do not have. If you want to be two Taoist instead of one because you already are one Taoist that could be confusing.

 

Did you ever think you wanted to be a Taoist? it probably just happened that you are by accident with out want or trying, no really, it can just happen that some people have the bones of an immortal and the tao sings to them.

 

Thank you for sharing that perspective, I didn't think as far in that moment. I indeed never 'wanted' to be a taoist, I opened a book and discovered that it was beliefs I already held and principles I had wanted to live by previously, but never put into words.

Edited by Raindancer
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18 hours ago, Raindancer said:

Thank you for sharing that perspective, I didn't think as far in that moment. I indeed never 'wanted' to be a taoist, I opened a book and discovered that it was beliefs I already held and principles I had wanted to live by previously, but never put into words.

 

I think a lot of us came to Taoism via similar means.  It's because Taoism does not require anyone to have any beliefs.  The religious end has what can be called some beliefs, but once again, they are based on reality rather than on make believe..  It is really just a statement of the way things are.

 

A person can acknowledge the truth of the 'philosophy' without being a Taoist, because it's simply the way things are.

 

However, there's something important to know, and that is that the idea of Taoist philosophy is a Western fabrication.  It isn't a philosophy, it's a way of life.  The way to become a real Taoist, and all the armchair philosophers will disagree vehemently, is to study one of the Taoist arts, like Feng Shui, Tai Chi, Traditional Chinese medicine, etc.  There is no such thing as the 'art of philosophy' in Taoism, there are no masters of philosophy in Taoism.  All the masters who know and embody the philosophy are masters of some Taoist art.  You learn the philosophy by practicing the art, and tai chi is the all around best art for embodying the philosophy.  It teaches Taoist principles in a physical manner, so a person 'becomes' the philosophy at a cellular level.

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22 hours ago, Starjumper said:

 

I think a lot of us came to Taoism via similar means.  It's because Taoism does not require anyone to have any beliefs.  The religious end has what can be called some beliefs, but once again, they are based on reality rather than on make believe..  It is really just a statement of the way things are.

 

A person can acknowledge the truth of the 'philosophy' without being a Taoist, because it's simply the way things are.

 

However, there's something important to know, and that is that the idea of Taoist philosophy is a Western fabrication.  It isn't a philosophy, it's a way of life.  The way to become a real Taoist, and all the armchair philosophers will disagree vehemently, is to study one of the Taoist arts, like Feng Shui, Tai Chi, Traditional Chinese medicine, etc.  There is no such thing as the 'art of philosophy' in Taoism, there are no masters of philosophy in Taoism.  All the masters who know and embody the philosophy are masters of some Taoist art.  You learn the philosophy by practicing the art, and tai chi is the all around best art for embodying the philosophy.  It teaches Taoist principles in a physical manner, so a person 'becomes' the philosophy at a cellular level.

 

I guess I used the wrong word before then, English isn't my native language so I apologize! I meant about Tao, I had felt that it existed, but had not been able to explain it, before I opened that book ^_^

 

I have considered starting with Tai Chi and Qigong for quite some time, I'm not sure if I should do both, but I am interested in both, so far I've read Tao Te Ching again and again and reflected over my own life, but not much more.

Thank you for explaining it, it is very interesting and makes a lot of sense to me!

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Raindancer said:

 

I guess I used the wrong word before then, English isn't my native language so I apologize! I meant about Tao, I had felt that it existed, but had not been able to explain it, before I opened that book ^_^

 

No problem, I think we understood well enough.

 

Quote

 

I have considered starting with Tai Chi and Qigong for quite some time, I'm not sure if I should do both, but I am interested in both, so far I've read Tao Te Ching again and again and reflected over my own life, but not much more.

Thank you for explaining it, it is very interesting and makes a lot of sense to me!

 

Personally I think it is best to start with tai chi, preferably Chen style.  The reason is that tai chi will establish a really good foundation in the arts, so if you follow that with chi kung you'll get the most out of chi kung.  Chen tai chi is best because it is complicated enough so that all the money grubbing amateurs leave it alone.  On the other hand, your typical Yang tai chi teacher is an amateur, who learned from an amateur, who learned from another amateur, and on and on, with each generation hiding and missing a little more but adding their own little veneer of bullshit.  Also, the complication of Chen tai chi makes it embody the philosophy in more detail.

 

Learning chi kung first can be a disaster, because most chi kung teachers are worse than most Yang tai chi teachers, they hardly know their ass from a hole in the ground, not to mention all the greed pigs that have come on board.  Particularly for the sake of learning to embody the 'philosophy', tai chi is much better than chi kung, and Chen tai chi is best.

 

The right chi kung system can be very good for cultivating health, but there is so much that is just so sorry, it's really sad. 

Edited by Starjumper
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Raindancer said:

I have considered starting with Tai Chi and Qigong for quite some time, I'm not sure if I should do both

 

I forgot to mention, it's best to learn one at a time or else some simple chi kung along with the tai chi.  A lot of tai chi teachers will do some chi kung for warm ups which is usually very simple, otherwise I would just learn one first and then the other.

Edited by Starjumper
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7 hours ago, Starjumper said:

 

No problem, I think we understood well enough.

 

 

Personally I think it is best to start with tai chi, preferably Chen style.  The reason is that tai chi will establish a really good foundation in the arts, so if you follow that with chi kung you'll get the most out of chi kung.  Chen tai chi is best because it is complicated enough so that all the money grubbing amateurs leave it alone.  On the other hand, your typical Yang tai chi teacher is an amateur, who learned from an amateur, who learned from another amateur, and on and on, with each generation hiding and missing a little more but adding their own little veneer of bullshit.  Also, the complication of Chen tai chi makes it embody the philosophy in more detail.

 

Learning chi kung first can be a disaster, because most chi kung teachers are worse than most Yang tai chi teachers, they hardly know their ass from a hole in the ground, not to mention all the greed pigs that have come on board.  Particularly for the sake of learning to embody the 'philosophy', tai chi is much better than chi kung, and Chen tai chi is best.

 

The right chi kung system can be very good for cultivating health, but there is so much that is just so sorry, it's really sad. 

 

5 hours ago, Starjumper said:

 

I forgot to mention, it's best to learn one at a time or else some simple chi kung along with the tai chi.  A lot of tai chi teachers will do some chi kung for warm ups which is usually very simple, otherwise I would just learn one first and then the other.

 

Thank you for the advice, then I will focus on Tai Chi for now.

 

I live in a relatively small town, I plan on moving (to the countryside but it will be close to a large city), but if I want in life lessons I can't choose the style of Tai Chi (I find a total of two places in my town, none of them mention Chen). I have noticed there being quite a few Tai Chi videos on youtube, I guess that is not ideal, but maybe it is good enough for now? Do you (or anyone else who might read this) know any good Tai Chi teachers who post on youtube?

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