SirPalomides

Is there an "easy path" in Daoism?

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Years ago I had the privilege of making a visit to Taishan. One of the Zhengyi monks was exceptionally friendly and struck a conversation with me. In my very bad Mandarin I asked him for some advice on spiritual practice. He told me to chant "Namo Amituofo." I was surprised that a Daoist would advocate a Buddhist practice but I probably shouldn't have been- an ecumenical attitude is more common in Chinese religion than sectarianism, it seems.

 

But it did get me thinking... while I feel a lot more attuned to the Daoist worldview than Buddhism, I do admire the way the Buddhist Pure Land school advocated a very popular practice that was simultaneously profound, an "easy path" accessible to busy, stressed, ordinary people while containing the entire teaching.

 

Has Daoism ever had an "easy path" comparable to the Pure Land doctrine? That is, a simple practice anyone could do, any time, but with promises of the highest attainments (eventually)? Thanks.

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Water flows through the valley without effort, skill, training, seeking or striving.

Coming to rest in the muck, slew and refuse ignored by the mind full...

 

What is there to 'achieve'?  What in life is to be changed, altered, mended by human mind based interferrence?...

What of life and reality is broken that we with our limited conscious interactions are to set right?

 

Easiest path of all... the one impossibility seems that dao never separates from essential core, nor outward physical expression, by even a hair's width, for a millisecond ever.

 

as i experience it lately

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1 hour ago, SirPalomides said:

a simple practice anyone could do, any time, but with promises of the highest attainments (eventually)?

 

Human life itself is that.

 

Anyone who cannot achieve basic healthy free human life is not going to attain anything beyond that.

 

So today's "Masters" who die from cancer or are diabetic - not really Masters of much at all.

 

Not even up to "ordinary".
 

Because this is a particular time. Here is an old Greek description of it, just one of many:

 

"Thereafter, would that I were not among the men of the fifth generation, but either had died before or been born afterwards. For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest from labour and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night; and the gods shall lay sore trouble upon them. But, notwithstanding, even these shall have some good mingled with their evils. And Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men also when they come to have grey hair on the temples at their birth. The father will not agree with his children, nor the children with their father, nor guest with his host, nor comrade with comrade; nor will brother be dear to brother as aforetime. Men will dishonour their parents as they grow quickly old, and will carp at them, chiding them with bitter words, hard-hearted they, not knowing the fear of the gods. They will not repay their aged parents the cost their nurture, for might shall be their right: and one man will sack another's city. There will be no favour for the man who keeps his oath or for the just or for the good; but rather men will praise the evil-doer and his violent dealing. Strength will be right and reverence will cease to be; and the wicked will hurt the worthy man, speaking false words against him, and will swear an oath upon them. Envy, foul-mouthed, delighting in evil, with scowling face, will go along with wretched men one and all. And then Aidos and Nemesis, with their sweet forms wrapped in white robes, will go from the wide-pathed earth and forsake mankind to join the company of the deathless gods: and bitter sorrows will be left for mortal men, and there will be no help against evil."

 

Find the "easy path".

 

Show us what you find.

 

 

 

 

-VonKrankenhaus

Edited by vonkrankenhaus

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1 hour ago, vonkrankenhaus said:

 

Anyone who cannot achieve basic healthy free human life is not going to attain anything beyond that.

 

So today's "Masters" who die from cancer or are diabetic - not really Masters of much at all.

 

 

Hmm...  Perhaps we might want to compare this sad state of affairs "today" with "way back when" of taoism.  E.g., let's take a closer look at the Eight Immortals, who did achieve something...  if immortality and god-like powers count as "something."  

 

He Xiangu was, by today's standards, anorexic -- in her teens she started eating only powdered mica and became like a wraith.

 

Cao Guojiu had family trouble that brought shame and persecution, that's why he became a recluse.

 

Li Tieguai was irritable and bad-tempered, a disheveled beggar, lame and walking with the aid of an iron crutch.

 

Lan Caihe never made it clear whether they were a boy or a girl, and it's couldn't have been all that easy "way back when" for someone sexually ambiguous (and still isn't).  They alternatively dressed as either male or female and were carried to heaven by a crane while in the state of drunken stupor.

 

Lü Dongbin, scholar and poet, was also a womanizer and a drunk prone to bouts of anger.

 

Han Xiangzi didn't have any flaws of character, but unlike in the case of others, there's no evidence he ever existed as a mortal.

 

Zhang Guolao preferred drinking wine to nearly everything else, and could go for many days on that alone.

 

Zhongli Quan was a general and led his army against Tibet.  He was beaten in battle by the Tibetans, escaped into the mountains and traded in his damaged military career for taoist studies.  

 

So, it's not impossible to have less-than-stellar health, troubled or failed social life, and all kinds of character flaws and still accomplish "something." :) 

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2 hours ago, Taomeow said:

  

So, it's not impossible to have less-than-stellar health, troubled or failed social life, and all kinds of character flaws and still accomplish "something." :) 

 

Oh thank goodness!  (As a less-than-perfect oldster who, nevertheless, still hopes to accomplish something, this is good news.)  

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9 hours ago, SirPalomides said:

Years ago I had the privilege of making a visit to Taishan. One of the Zhengyi monks was exceptionally friendly and struck a conversation with me. In my very bad Mandarin I asked him for some advice on spiritual practice. He told me to chant "Namo Amituofo." I was surprised that a Daoist would advocate a Buddhist practice but I probably shouldn't have been- an ecumenical attitude is more common in Chinese religion than sectarianism, it seems.

 

This is actually not an uncommon occurrence. Chanting Amitabha's name is widely understood as a slow but reliable and safe way to clear karmic obscurations, create good karma, train the mind, and greatly increase one's chances of finding an appropriate teacher/path in this lifetime (i.e., its value is not solely limited to praying for rebirth in Amitabha's Pure Land, and it is widely held that some practitioners who simply use this practice can reach enlightenment in this lifetime). Part of the reason that Daoists offer this teaching is that ecumenical attitudes have been quite common for centuries. Another reason is that Daoism doesn't really have (to my knowledge) an equivalent "one size potentially fits all" practice like this one. Still another reason is that Zhengyi Daoism is extremely complicated. If you've ever had the opportunity to observe an all-day Zhengyi ritual it's just insane. Non-stop chanting, singing, playing instruments, dancing, martial arts, coordinated steps holding torches... all this stuff memorized (!)... barely any breaks, Daoists pouring in sweat under their robes. There's little from that repertoire that could be offered to a person who is just visiting a holy mountain, whereas the practice of chanting Amitabha's name can be mastered in under a minute, and bear gifts for the rest of a person's life. 

 

9 hours ago, SirPalomides said:

But it did get me thinking... while I feel a lot more attuned to the Daoist worldview than Buddhism, I do admire the way the Buddhist Pure Land school advocated a very popular practice that was simultaneously profound, an "easy path" accessible to busy, stressed, ordinary people while containing the entire teaching.

 

It is indeed an admirable contribution and indeed one of the reasons that Buddhism has touched so many lives. While some with Daoist affinity has a dis-affinity for Buddhism, it's hard to deny that many, many people who chant Buddhas' names or mantras report phenomenal effects. 

 

9 hours ago, SirPalomides said:

Has Daoism ever had an "easy path" comparable to the Pure Land doctrine? That is, a simple practice anyone could do, any time, but with promises of the highest attainments (eventually)? Thanks.

 

Yes, the Daoist "easy path" has been referred to as 上品 or 上乘 since at least the Song dynasty, when some of the ways of sorting, categorizing, and "ranking" various parts of Daoist praxis that are still used today came into vogue. These practices really just center on "doing nothing" (but they might involve some postural or light mental focus instructions) and are spoken of in some detail by the Book of Balance and Harmony (中和集... I remember its translation being somewhat confusing, but it might be better than nothing) and maybe some other texts that are in English. Such practices really are, from a certain standpoint, the easiest thing imaginable, and their proponents tend to argue that they also slowly but surely lead to the very highest attainments. The big caveat is that "doing nothing" is an instruction of unparalleled subtleness, vagueness, insubstantiality, elusiveness, ass-backwardness, boringness, "am I doing not doing right-ness." Thus, Daoists tend to be acutely aware that It is, paradoxically, extraordinarily difficult for the vast majority of practitioners to do the easiest thing. That is why discussion of 上品 /上乘 more often than not make the point that exceedingly few people are ready, as beginners or potentially even after years of seeking, to understand such teachings. This does not mean they must be kept secret from beginners. Quite the opposite, their gist can be discussed quite openly, beginners really can't make heads or tails of this gist. There is no real secret. "Do nothing." There you have it, the whole cat (well, minus a few details, perhaps), out of the bag.

 

If you say to Daoist master (and I am speaking of people I know, not hypothetically) that that makes no sense, he or she very well might laugh, say, "I know," and then suggest you go and recite Amitabha's name for a few years to cultivate wisdom, remove obstacles, and so forth. 

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5 hours ago, Taomeow said:

let's take a closer look at the Eight Immortals, who did achieve something...  if immortality and god-like powers count as "something." 

 

Well, they have changed who they are at times.

 

The ones we know now are only about 1000 yrs old, and previous ones and lists of "immortals" in other areas are also different.

 

So these are not originally "people".

 

People are "associated" with them - different people important to different people, etc.

 

In general, "Immortal" Gods of any culture are pretty much the planets and stars in sky, and especially the fixed stars.

 

Current list of 8 immortals corresponds with the Big Dipper moving into the pole via precession.

 

This is also the source of the Later Heaven Bagua. Early Heaven arrangement was before Polaris and the Dipper when there was no pole star - after the time of Thuban & Draco, the "Pearl and Dragon", and the early dynasties.

 

Maybe if people somehow directly attain the attributes of the Immortal Gods they will be able to actually live ordinary healthy and happy human lives somewhere along that "path", but this seem much more difficult than learning Yangsheng and ChangMing techniques and living in a plain natural setting and abstaining from modern poisons first.

 

 

 

 

 

-VonKrankenhaus

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1 hour ago, vonkrankenhaus said:

 

Current list of 8 immortals corresponds with the Big Dipper moving into the pole via precession.

 

 

The Big Dipper actually has nine stars.  Two were still visible at the time of the eight immortals and are present on the astronomical maps of the time.  

 

But they aren't that.  They are the archetypal characters who embody the Eight Trigrams as they manifest in human personality.  Generally speaking, there's deities who are indeed "star gods" and planet gods too -- but the star or planet is like an office they take, a job they assume.  There's 64 gods taking turn assuming the office of Grand Duke Jupiter, e.g. -- which one of them is the planet Jupiter?  The one in office.  The office will be putting forth regulations -- we may call them qi -- that will reflect the personality of this particular boss, not of his predecessor and not of his successor.  Even the Jade Emperor was a person.  The cat's meow of taoism is that you can cultivate your position in the universe.  There's fixed stars but there's no fixed destinies.  Matter of fact, even stars descend to assume offices on earth and go back to heaven when that's what they fancy.  

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16 hours ago, SirPalomides said:

He told me to chant "Namo Amituofo."


Some would say this is a polite way to tell you that you’re not ready for real practice :)

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8 hours ago, Walker said:

 

This is actually not an uncommon occurrence. Chanting Amitabha's name is widely understood as a slow but reliable and safe way to clear karmic obscurations, create good karma, train the mind, and greatly increase one's chances of finding an appropriate teacher/path in this lifetime (i.e., its value is not solely limited to praying for rebirth in Amitabha's Pure Land, and it is widely held that some practitioners who simply use this practice can reach enlightenment in this lifetime). Part of the reason that Daoists offer this teaching is that ecumenical attitudes have been quite common for centuries. Another reason is that Daoism doesn't really have (to my knowledge) an equivalent "one size potentially fits all" practice like this one. Still another reason is that Zhengyi Daoism is extremely complicated. If you've ever had the opportunity to observe an all-day Zhengyi ritual it's just insane. Non-stop chanting, singing, playing instruments, dancing, martial arts, coordinated steps holding torches... all this stuff memorized (!)... barely any breaks, Daoists pouring in sweat under their robes. There's little from that repertoire that could be offered to a person who is just visiting a holy mountain, whereas the practice of chanting Amitabha's name can be mastered in under a minute, and bear gifts for the rest of a person's life. 

 

Yeah, unfortunately I didn't have the chance to observe any of the elaborate rites, just the relatively sedate morning liturgy. I've seen videos and read Michael Saso's account of the Jiao ritual, though, so I know that it's not exactly something you dabble in. The endurance and commitment is amazing. I know though that Daoism has many sects and sub-sects, which made me wonder if there was some path for those who didn't have time to spend years learning complex liturgies and meditations. I remember Eva Wong talking about "Action and Karma" school, with the Taishang gan ying pian as the most popular scripture, but I read elsewhere that there really isn't a particular school by that name.

 

8 hours ago, Walker said:

 

It is indeed an admirable contribution and indeed one of the reasons that Buddhism has touched so many lives. While some with Daoist affinity has a dis-affinity for Buddhism, it's hard to deny that many, many people who chant Buddhas' names or mantras report phenomenal effects. 

 

What about names of Daoist deities? Has anyone advocated, say, "Namo Yuhuang shangdi," "Namo Xiwang mu," etc.? Would this be considered inappropriate, eccentric, dangerous?

 

8 hours ago, Walker said:

 

 

Yes, the Daoist "easy path" has been referred to as 上品 or 上乘 since at least the Song dynasty, when some of the ways of sorting, categorizing, and "ranking" various parts of Daoist praxis that are still used today came into vogue. These practices really just center on "doing nothing" (but they might involve some postural or light mental focus instructions) and are spoken of in some detail by the Book of Balance and Harmony (中和集... I remember its translation being somewhat confusing, but it might be better than nothing) and maybe some other texts that are in English. ...

 

Fascinating, I'll have to look into that. This is the one translated by Thomas Cleary, right?

 

Thanks for your post.

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6 hours ago, Taomeow said:

 

The Big Dipper actually has nine stars.  Two were still visible at the time of the eight immortals and are present on the astronomical maps of the time.  

 

Would this be before the current Beidou yansheng jing was written down? I ask because, at least in Eva Wong's translation, it addresses "The Seven Sacred Deities of the Northern Bushel."

 

6 hours ago, Taomeow said:

But they aren't that.  They are the archetypal characters who embody the Eight Trigrams as they manifest in human personality.  Generally speaking, there's deities who are indeed "star gods" and planet gods too -- but the star or planet is like an office they take, a job they assume.  There's 64 gods taking turn assuming the office of Grand Duke Jupiter, e.g. -- which one of them is the planet Jupiter?  The one in office.  The office will be putting forth regulations -- we may call them qi -- that will reflect the personality of this particular boss, not of his predecessor and not of his successor.  Even the Jade Emperor was a person.  The cat's meow of taoism is that you can cultivate your position in the universe.  There's fixed stars but there's no fixed destinies.  Matter of fact, even stars descend to assume offices on earth and go back to heaven when that's what they fancy.  

 

Here's something I've long wondered: Considering that we know now that stars are impermanent, that is, that they have life cycles, and some of the stars we see now are already long "dead", how does that gel with the high importance given to astrology in Daoism (and other worldviews)?

 

A more speculative, potentially irrelevant question: How would these astrological systems be adapted to life on other planets or solar systems, where the constellations and movements would be different?

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28 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

Sifu Jenny Lamb, who taught Yi Gung (Kunlun) to Max Christiansen, is a big proponent of chanting Namo Amituofo.  

 

How would the Buddhas and their Pure Lands figure into Daoist cosmology(ies)? Are they emanations of Daoist deities?

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15 minutes ago, SirPalomides said:

 

How would the Buddhas and their Pure Lands figure into Daoist cosmology(ies)? 

 

As far as I know, they wouldn´t.  I just found it interesting that another Daoist teacher also likes this chant.  It seems there´s a lot of cross pollination between Buddhism and Taoism, with many practitioners taking up pieces of both.  Purists in both camps likely decry this mixing; personally, I don´t think it´s so bad.  

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2 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

I just found it interesting that another Daoist teacher also likes this chant.


Jenny Lamb is primarily Buddhist in her spiritual path. She just uses some Daoist approaches to access it :)

 

It’s quite common.
 

2 hours ago, freeform said:

Some would say this is a polite way to tell you that you’re not ready for real practice :)

 

I’d also like to say that re-reading that, it sounds like a rude, smartass comment. 
 

I didn’t mean it that way. It’s common for teachers to give ‘outsiders’ a basic practice as a way to placate their curiosity...

 

Its understandable as the real answer would be something along the lines of - “it will take me a month of lectures to explain our path, and then decades of full time practice for you to begin to achieve some of the foundational attainments”...

 

And saying “no - you’re a weird foreigner, and I don’t have the time or inclination to teach you anything” would just be plain rude.

 

Thats not to say that a chant or mudra or some singular practice isn’t beneficial - it’s just not how any of the highly achieved people got there...

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1 hour ago, SirPalomides said:

 

What about names of Daoist deities? Has anyone advocated, say, "Namo Yuhuang shangdi," "Namo Xiwang mu," etc.? Would this be considered inappropriate, eccentric, dangerous?

 

 

 

Buddhists, historically, were competition, and taoists suffered dire setbacks when this or that emperor favored the spread of buddhism -- though recovering and thriving again at times, when the emperor would discover that buddhist monasteries, granted vast privileges by his predecessors, exempt from taxes and allowed to own lands with bonded slaves, had grown disproportionally wealthy and powerful, and would get worried about that and turn against the Buddha and toward the indigenous gods again.  Institutionalized religions are extremely manipulative, and also extremely manipulated.  So the attitude toward your chanting some other name, a native Chinese deity's name, would depend on who you ask, and when. 

 

Amitabha is a Sanscrit word for Buddha and means "infinite/boundless light."  A version of sun worship, the oldest religion on earth since the advent of patriarchy.  So you could probably substitute any name of any sun god.  The Hindu believe, however, that it is the sound of particular words itself that has power, hence the prescription for assorted chants and mantras, and it is also assumed that they lose much of their power if not verbalized precisely.  The act of just chanting any mantra may have pronounced calming effects on the mind, so even if it's not esoterically powerful in a particular verbalization, it might still subjectively feel as doing something useful.  I remember a chant in my kindergarten the kids created spontaneously -- it went "dog dog dog dog" and it did harmonize and lift the spirits. :)   

 

 In Chinese Amitabha is enunciated Ēmítuófó.  I wonder whether it would sit well with one of those Hindu gurus who believe the sound precision of a Sanscrit word is what counts.  

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3 hours ago, Taomeow said:

Amitabha is a Sanscrit word for Buddha and means "infinite/boundless light."  A version of sun worship, the oldest religion on earth since the advent of patriarchy.

 

Amitabha (alternate name Amitayus, meaning infinite life) is a word to refer to a specific Buddha. Supposedly. Many believe this practice is not actually Buddhist in origin, that's true. Mindfulness of a/the Buddha is not sun worship though. Also the word ābhā(Sanskrit)/obhā(Pali) means radiance or splendor in general and is used to refer to the appearance and aura of any type of lesser or greater deva(deity/spirit), who does have that type of splendor, at least in the Pali Canon, multiple times, I assume the Sanskrit Agamas are the same way. Not just the appearance of the Sun deva.

 

That said I'm not exactly a fan of Amitabha practice.

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11 hours ago, Taomeow said:

The Big Dipper actually has nine stars.

 

Actually 7 stars:

 

dipperSTARS7.thumb.jpg.c3b14e7c5a0361e1c6cdc79c49d2724f.jpg

 

Lo Shu adds the Pole Star that these rotate around, Polaris, as well, but that isn't a star "in" the Big Dipper.

Also, Mizar, the second star from the end of the Big Dipper's handle - is a binary with Alcor - traditionally a test of eyesight ability.

 

dipperROTATE.jpg.15f7c71efe15819a5df02a23078c7bb7.jpg

 

Of course, that's the source of the "Swastika" as well.

 

None of these are "real people", but at various times both real and imaginary people have been associated to them.

 

 

 

 

 

VonKrankenhaus

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12 hours ago, Taomeow said:

Generally speaking, there's deities who are indeed "star gods" and planet gods too -- but the star or planet is like an office they take, a job they assume.  There's 64 gods taking turn assuming the office of Grand Duke Jupiter, e.g. -- which one of them is the planet Jupiter?  The one in office.

 

The 12 year orbit of Jupiter was used to calculate the Solar year and Solar calendars.

 

Previous to that, Saturn was used to determine the Lunar Mansions and Lunar calendars.

 

That's the switch in Greek mythology from Chronos to Zeus.

 

Coastal people watched Tides more, inland people watched the Sun.

 

The "offices" are Time Periods.

 

Just like Wu Xing (& 10 Stems) are Time Periods - the order of the risings of the visible planets on the horizon.

 

All this was used to create the Chinese calendar.

 

 

 

 

-VonKrankenhaus

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5 hours ago, vonkrankenhaus said:

 

Actually 7 stars:

 

Ack...  I'm talking astronomy of the original taoism not modern astronomy and refurbished taoism.

 

Check out, e.g., Isabelle Robinet's Taoist Meditation: The Mao ShanTradition of Great Purity.  You will find some of the esoteric magical techniques used by taoists that draw upon invisible stars surrounding the Big Dipper (the two currently invisible, earlier visible stars I mentioned -- you must have missed it -- that are still found on the older Chinese astronomical maps, located at each side of the "handle" of the Dipper -- but there's more):

 

In the taoist texts under consideration here, the stars of the Big Dipper constellation are surrounded by a network of stars which cast a “black light” or “light that does not shine.”  These stars are inhabited by female deities who are invoked in many authentic magical and alchemical taoist practices.  

  

They are called obscure names in line with their invisible nature: “(She Who) Hides by Transformation and Escapes into the Origin,” “(She Who) Changes Her Body and Transforms Her Brilliance,” “(She Who) Hides Her Traces and Disperses Her True Form.” These deities are the “Nine Yin of the Lord Emperor.” Celestial counterparts to the nine subterranean obscurities, they assist in the transformation and multiplication of the adept, in his “concealment within the eight directions,” and in the “hiding (of his) body and the closing up (of his) light.”

 

  I know about the swastika (obviously -- that image is all over the internet) but I can also dance the Steps of Yu based on the Big Dipper and involving nine steps (not eight, not seven) -- on the ground or on the palm of my hand.  I use these as my personal signature I burn into all my taiji weapons that have wooden parts.  :D

 

Edited by Taomeow
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When did those two stars cease being visible? I ask because the Taishang xuanling beidou benming yansheng zhenjing, which I think is from the Song dynasty, names seven stars and their attendant deities.

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7 hours ago, SirPalomides said:

What about names of Daoist deities? Has anyone advocated, say, "Namo Yuhuang shangdi," "Namo Xiwang mu," etc.? Would this be considered inappropriate, eccentric, dangerous?

Mindfulness of any high divinity gives some benefit (per the Buddha), however Amitabha Buddha is considered special and is so popular because the ratio of benefit to ease of access if very very high.  That is, what kind of complicated ritual do you need to do, what kind of initiation do you need to have received, what kind of rules do you need to follow, to seriously receive the blessing of any particular deity, and just how much blessing can that deity give, and for what types of pursuits or goals?  The more accessible and diffuse a practice is, the more chance it isn't very powerful, just because of how things work in the way the human realm connects to higher realms.  But somehow, in exception to this, Amitabha Buddha's name has the power to actually connect you to a very high realm, even though it is very easy to chant and very diffused.  Buddhists would say this is due to Amitabha Buddha's great merit and great vow to share that merit with all beings.  This kind of direct connection wouldn't be there by chanting "Namo [insert deity here]".  Though, as I said, mindfulness of a deity you feel a connection to is still meritorious.

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1 hour ago, SirPalomides said:

When did those two stars cease being visible? I ask because the Taishang xuanling beidou benming yansheng zhenjing, which I think is from the Song dynasty, names seven stars and their attendant deities.

 

I'm not sure there's an exact "when" -- could have been gradual or periodic, I don't remember if I have this info anywhere, would have to look.  However, there's some plausible modern astronomical explanations as to "how" and "why" they could become invisible -- which also seem to confirm the accuracy and reliability of the early Chinese star maps.  There was a possible black hole discovered that seems to be tugging Alioth (in the handle of the Dipper) back and forth, and also an invisible star next to Alcor (also in the handle), named Alcor B, a red dwarf that orbits Alcor A. There are some charts where Alcor is not labelled at all, as it is “overshadowed” by its neighbor Mizar, with which it shares a position.  Both stars were used as a common test of eyesight — being able to distinguish “the rider from the horse” — among ancient people. One of Galileo’s colleagues observed that Mizar itself is actually a double, the first binary star system resolved by a telescope. Many years later, the two components Mizar A and B were themselves determined each to be tightly orbiting binaries, altogether forming a quadruple system. Now, Alcor, which is near the four stars of the Mizar system, also has a companion.

Edited by Taomeow

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4 hours ago, SirPalomides said:

When did those two stars cease being visible? I ask because the Taishang xuanling beidou benming yansheng zhenjing, which I think is from the Song dynasty, names seven stars and their attendant deities.

 

Chinese history spans a long time.

 

Early systems and notations and the first dynasties happen around time of Draco and the star Thuban at the pole. This is the traditional Chinese Dragon and the Pearl is the ecliptic pole itself that the Dragon rotates around.

 

Later, precession moves the pole from those stars and pointing towards the Big Dipper and Polaris instead.

 

This is the Lo Shu and "Later Heaven" arrangement.

 

They were using different stars to mark time by then.

 

"Early Heaven" is from a time of no distinct Pole Star and Lunar calendars, watching Saturn, etc.

 

Also - there are other 7 stars groups in sky, used in different parts of astrology.

 

 

 

 

-VonKrankenhaus

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