SirPalomides

Is there an "easy path" in Daoism?

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On 21-11-2019 at 9:14 PM, silent thunder said:

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

Wow, that's just beautiful. 

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Start soft and easy and gentle. Built momentum as you go. 

Peanuts.

Peanuts are yellow. They are very yellow. 
Peanuts are yellow like the sun. 
Aluminum shines. It shines like the sun. If you view it under the sun. 
aluminum does shine and peanuts are yellow like the sun. 
Ash crumbles easily. 
It is very dry. Untill you pour water over it. 
Usually the ash does not dissolve in water. Unless you put allot of ash in there, then stirr it, it becomes darker water. 
You have now become enlightened by the truth. 
This is absolute fact. 
No one can denie it. 
There is no shred of evidence to the contrary. 
So lets become more enlightened. 
If you have a lamp in your home that works, if you open it with a switch or click or however, the lamp will shine light. Thomas edisson is often said to be the inventor of the light bulb. 
He liked light. He used to put things on fire on purpose as a kid in the night. 
But he invented the light bulb as safe light. 
As light as electricity. 
No one understands electricity yet. 
It is the greatest thing there is. 
It even runs our mind and brains. 
We have like a portable thunderstorm in our brains running 24/7.
This is amazing. 
You have now become more enlightened. 
You are now a more aligned reflection of your own true nature. 
This is an undeniable fact. There is no shred of evidence to the contrary. 
Enlightenment is simple and easy. And thus capable of expanding into evermore greater complexity, wonders and beauty. 
You have now become more enlightened. 
This is a fact. There is no shred of evidence to the contrary. 
When you touch a soft object like a blanket or a towel or soft clothing or whool. It is soft. And it feels good. 
Because it is very light and surrenders easily to your touch. 
This is the truth that shall set you free. 
And you are now more free than you used to be. 
That rhymes. And this is an undeniable fact.
You are now more enlightened, there is no shred of evidence to the contrary. 
When you light a cigarette in a room where there is no wind. The smoke spirals upwards, like vortices. 
This is visible under light when the background is dark/black. 
This natural spiralling and vortexual motion is evidence of the natural path of least resistance that all things follow, as of all relief of all true nature of all being and becoming evermore here and now. 
The path of least resistance is your natural enlightenment. 
Of your ever expanding knowingness. 
Into the ever expanding wonders and beauties of existance. 
You have now become more enlightened. 
Everything follows the path of least resistance, everything becomes through the path of least resistance. 
Spiraling into evermore expanding motions of being and becoming evermore here and now. 
Effortlessly, naturally, joyously, freely, automatically, purely, inevitably, irresistably. Flawlessly, perfectly, gracefully. 
You are now more enlightened and you will become more enlightened. Evermore here and now. 
There is no escaping the enlightenment. 
It has been set into motion long before you or I were born, long before this physical universe was brought into existence at all. 
I have tried to escape enlightenment and failed. Because all resistance just temporarily blocks the eternal and infinite being and becoming evermore here and now. And no power within existence is greater than the power of existence itself, being and becoming evermore joyously and effortlessly and evermore freely here and now. 
All you can do is allow yourself to be enlightened or suffer unnecessarily a temporary insignificant resistance to your natural evermore enlightenment. 
And as that resistance is let go of, the natural enlightenment sweeps you off your feet effortlessly and joyfully. 
Moves you through the evermore perfecting perfect grace of the evermore infinite ever expanding vortexual source of all creation of all being and becoming evermore here and now. 
Allowance is the key, soft and gentle allowance. Effortless allowance.

Grace is the love of the eternal ever expanding motion of the ever expanding power of the ever expanding infinite and eternal source of all creation.

The vortex is the motion of all life and energy in motion of all being and becoming, as all that exists is but energy set into motion of and by the ever expanding love and light and source of all creation, as the inseperable unconditionally loved and supported and guided inseperable extensions of the ever expanding vortexual source of all creation of ever expanding infinite and eternal intelligence, wisdom, ever spiralling motions of all life and beingness into evermore being and becoming evermore here and now.

As one dies and scatters into ineffible amounts of bits and pieces. Not even a single atom of and every sensation of your every moment of your entire physical time space human life is lost. 
It is infact, being and becoming evermore here and now. 
The best of your life, is eternally being and becoming evermore here and now. 
You are it and you are incapable of ever becoming less than all that you truely are being and becoming evermore here and now. And you are eternally being and becoming evermore here and now.

You are primarily a non-physical, unconditional, ever expanding energy motional, extension of your own greater non-physical consciousness. 
When you suffer, only that which is evermore better than your suffering and even evermore better than the best of your life, is what you are truely being and becoming evermore here and now. There is no shred of evidence to contrary. You might wanna wait untill you die before you let yourself believe me. But no need. You can simply meditate and achieve the very same releasing of resistant self-contradictory perspective that is the only veil between you and all that you truely are being and becoming evermore here and now. 

The more you suffer. The less you will suffer. 
And the more you will enjoy life. 
Because suffering is like... So temporary. That you cannot even describe how temporary it is and how small and futile and unnecessary it is in comparison to all that you truely are inevitably being and becoming evermore here and now. 
It is too painful to hold on to suffering, because you cannot become less only more. And suffering always cancels itself out naturally and effortlessly. 

There is only expansion. Even contraction is but an expansion happening inwards. Into itself. 
It is like non-physical energy motional pure light fractalling inwards and exploding into an entire new universe of creation. 
It is the highest realisation of the highest truth of the highest desire of all the consciousnesses that has ever been consciousnessing. All coming together to the highest irresistable desire of all being and becoming evermore inevitably allowed to be realised and created with the most effortless greatest power of the ever expanding infinite grace of the ever expanding source of all creation, of all the consciousnesses as you are an inseperable extension of it being and becoming evermore awakeningly here and now. 
And it cannot be explained in words, without a feeling or energy motional, emotional description of alignment by which to understand the immensity of this desire. And thus the power behind its focus of ever expanding evermore effortless and intensifying might of purely uncontradicted and purely allowed to be flowed and realised and created and allowed to be and become evermore here and now consciousness. 
And the words of the birth of the entire universe is: All is well. 
That is the foundational core essence nature of this entire ever expanding universe of creation. 
All is well. 
And you are it. 

Pleasant dreams of evermore joyful awakening.

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I would say the Tao is easy when you follow the path of gentleness, of softness. Like Thunder said, you follow the path of water, you take the lowest position, and you don't hold positions. When you don't hold positions that bind you, then you are free to drop freely as a snowflake, naturally, guided by the gentle caress of life, of the Tao.

 

The Tao is difficult when you follow the path of hard thought and speed. You have expectations, goals and positions. It's like you engineer chains that bind you and your snowflake falls like a dead weight, because your trajectory is man-made. The spot both snowflakes will land is different.

 

How to follow the path of gentleness ? It starts with your mind, be gentle there. Don't grasp at thoughts. When they come in, don't apply strong force or direction to them. Let them come in as a gentle breeze, as in a day-dream. Don't become serious about them or hold a strong idea about something. When you're stuck in a strong idea, notice the circular pattern.

 

You'll notice you keep repeating the same information - so, just take a step back, and enter the center of that circle. That center is like the hub of your mind, it is neutral. It doesn't care about Yin and Yang or taking sides. Then you can see clearly, and make the right decision from your deepest conscience. And from there, you are free to extend your loving gentle energy to the world, in a way that is unbiased and natural.

 

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On 11/23/2019 at 12:14 AM, Taomeow said:

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.

 

The picture painted in very broad strokes in this paragraph is not wholly inaccurate, but it is just one part of one angle of the picture. The relationship between Buddhism and Daoism in the various kingdoms and states we now historically lump together as "China" was never simply one of competition. All sorts of blending took place, and continues to take place, between practitioners who appreciate the teachings of a variety of traditions and enjoy the company of people from a variety of walks of spiritual life. A combination of competition, cooperation, cooexistence, conflict, convergence and so forth gave us the stew of praxes and ideas we have today. 

 

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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. 

 

Yes, it would depend on who you ask and when, but not solely on the basis of manipulativeness. There are many non-manipulative/anti-manipulative practitioners in institutionalized Buddhism and Daoism. Perhaps they are a minority, even a small one. But they are not that hard to find, if only because their scarcity lets them stand out, even if they tend to be low key individuals.

 

Today in the Chinese religious world, if a wise teacher has a certain level of achievement, he or she may make recommendations to students who come seeking teachings on the basis of direct sensing of their latent affinities. Off of the top of my head I can think of three older Daoists who fit this bill. 

 

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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 first sentence is correct.

 

The second sentence is not. I have read many of your posts on the influence sun worship over the years as well as many of your posts where you espouse on Buddhism. Your ideas about the former are interesting, but I don't think they describe "the whole picture" any more than the above paragraph about the relationship between Buddhism and Daoism does. Regarding the latter, many comments you have made on Buddhism lead me to believe that your study of this subject is still way too nascent for you to make some of the comments you do. It is hard to believe that a person who had been exposed to Buddhist primary sources (written and oral) would conflate chanting Amitabha's name with sun worship. Just because the sun puts out a lot of light and Amitabha means "infinite light" does not mean that Amitabha = the sun. In fact, I would say that that "light" in question here is metaphorical for awareness/awakeness/consciousness, not an actual light source of any sort. The sun, despite being the brightest thing any of us have ever known, actually only serves modest symbolic value for the (metaphorical) "light" of awakening, because the sun is a discrete object whose light pours from a single point in space in time, and that there are always places that are in shadow. Conversely, enlightening mind is a non-object whose "light" is everywhere, including the darkest shadows. 

 

Speaking as a longtime student of Buddhism, the third sentence in the quoted section above is plainly mistaken.

 

The Buddhist teaching is that you could substitute the name of any other buddha or great bodhisattva ("great" here denotes a bodhisattva at the level of buddhahood, such as Guanyin, Manjushri, or Ksitigharba--who happens to have achieved great bodhisattvahood starting as a little girl trying to help her mom) for Amitabha's name. This teaching is extremely clear: the merit generated by and the effectiveness of chanting any one buddha's name is exactly the same as the merit generated by and effectiveness of chanting any or all other buddha's names. Students are therefore often advised to simply chant the name(s) they feel a natural affinity or inclination towards. Amitabha and the Medicine Buddha (often depicted with dark, lapis lazuli-colored skin; very un-sun-like) are common choices, but this is said to be that is only because those two buddhas long ago developed strong karmic connections with a large number beings in our era and realm. It is understood that not all beings have strong karmic affinity with the same buddhas. They can happily chant the names of buddhas that have nothing to do with the sun or light.

 

Given that chanting any Buddha's name is considered equally effective, a quick look at a list of the English translations of buddhas' names should demonstrate that chanting "Amitabha" is not some sort of sun worship. In this list we see buddha names such as "Jewel Moon," "Jewel Moonlight," "Water God," and "Deity of Water Gods." In this list there are other names like "Sun and Moon Light Buddha," "Marvelous Sound Buddha," "Lighting the Lamp Buddha," and "Golden Ocean Light Buddha." Here we see "Sweet Dew Remaining Buddha," "Pervasive Fragrance Buddha," "Moon Lamp Buddha," "Lightning Lamp Light Buddha," and "Buddha of Infinite Sound," and "Moon's Sound Buddha." 

 

From this list we can ascertain:

-Light in Buddhism is not always associated with the sun, and may even come from sources we who have an affinity for Chinese classification would call "yin," such as the ocean and the moon.

-In addition to "infinite light" being used as a metaphor for the state of buddhahood, limitless fragrance and sound are used, too.

-Some buddhas' names make no reference to light or anything "yang" at all, such as "Deity of Water Gods" and "Sweet Dew Remaining Buddha." 

 

Thus, while it is fair and useful to point out that sexist, patriarchal social mores that were a part of the social/cultural milieus that birthed the many iterations of Buddhism we see in the world today, the idea that chanting Amitabha's name is sun worship is quite untenable. 

 

Please be cautious when speculating about what kind of substitutions one could make for Buddhist practices and when sharing ideas about their philosophical underpinnings. 

 

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In Chinese Amitabha is enunciated ńím√≠tu√≥f√≥.¬† 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.¬†¬†

 

Well, it really doesn't matter all that much what a non-Buddhist has to say about this practice, at the end of the day. The Buddhist teaching is very simple and straightforward: it is the intent that matters, not the sound of the syllables. This is why the mantras and buddha names are always freely translated and/or transliterated into new languages wherever Buddhism goes. The question of whether or not that is okay is a perennial one, and the final answer tends to be, "those masters whose spiritual capabilities are highly cultivated are able to directly verify that mantras or buddha names chanted in different languages or with bastardized pronunciation of proper Sanskrit are totally effective." 

Edited by Walker
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@Walker Thank you for your comments.  I don't have many objections -- indeed I'm not a great in-depth expert on Buddhist teachings... not so much "yet" as "in the foreseeable future too" since I do have my hands full with what-not taoist and proto-.  Albeit not entirely clueless either, and yes, prone to forming my very own and not too often quite orthodox opinions.  In my defense, I present them as my opinions, not as some orthodox teachings.  There's only three varieties of Buddhism I had some hands-on experience with -- Dzogchen (that was before taoism), zen (that's not entirely unrelated to taoism, and exactly the product of cross-pollination rather than manipulation you pointed out) and a chant of a Buddha name that I was given by ayahuasca, to my surprise (but then, she's nothing if not full of surprises).  The choice of that particular Buddha was also a bit of a shocker, though it made sense in hind sight.  

 

It just so happens that any "enlightenment" modality that casually marginalizes or even maligns all things yin, the "endarkenment," falls short of what I'm after.  I know "sun worship" is not strictly about the sun, of course -- what I think it is though is...  well, it is in opposition to all things not yang.  The pursuit of the "pure land" leaves the "impure" this-here land out in the cold.  The "light of consciousness (or awareness or what not) that permeates everything" leaves no room for something I happen to naturally perceive as sacred -- "deep dark impenetrable mystery" no one should have surveillance powers over.  If mother nature wanted everything to be revealed, we would have ultrasonic eyesight, not machines, or else transparent bellies to spy on the fetus.

 

And, yes, ultimately it boils down to what resonates.  

 

 

  

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Is there an "easy path" in Daoism?

 

Yes.

 

Áć®ÁęčŚģąÁ•ě

 

Áć®Áęč independence

 

Śģą keep

 

Á•ě shen

 

from ťĽÉŚłĚŚÖßÁ∂ď Huang De Nei Jin

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I think its worth asking what we mean by 'easy'.  Heaven is known by its easeful-ness to paraphrase the Yijing (I think :) ) ... but I am not a Daoist so I'll leave that there.

 

As far as Pure Land Buddhism goes that's quite interesting.  It arose in the first centuries AD in Gandhara/Kashmir - and was preceded by the way by a similar doctrine to Akshobhya (Eastern Buddha) but it was Amitabha (Western Buddha) which gained in popularity especially in East Asia.  But to some Buddhists the whole idea of it is strictly 'heretical' - because relying on an external 'deity' is a no no.  But what was being said at the time it did develop, was that such was the state of ignorance and so on, in the world that it was becoming impossible to gain enlightenment by the original direct methods of meditation and analysis (of reality e.g. abhidharma).  So the only way was to rely on the pre-existence of the perfect realm and a perfect being that lived therein.  So in a sense you were substituting your own enquiry into the nature of things by appealing to another to release you from ignorance.  It is close to the Dzogchan thing of you already being enlightened and what you need to do is appeal to this.

 

There's a certain sweetness to the Tibetan Dewachen prayers which is appealing - but generally speaking I find Pure Landism very unappealing ... and i find it hard to get my head around the idea of doing nothing but chanting the buddhas name.  But this is probably my own shortcomings.

 

Is Amitabha solar in some sense.  Well, maybe.  But unlike TM I don't see this as a bad thing and not particularly patriarchal (especially as these days the word patriarchal is equated to bad :) ).  In ancient India when Buddha lived there were two distinct cultural areas - in one which followed the chandra (moon) path the Vedic practices dominated - in the other where the ideal was the wandering sage it was the surya (sun path) and from this came Jainism, Buddhism, Ajivekism etc. - so if Amitabha is an extension of this then yes it might be considered at least in association somewhat solar.

 

 

 

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Philosophical entanglements are about as desirable as strep throat, but I¬īll briefly enter my version of an Ivory Tower (such as it is) and say that I think Daoism is about Yin and Yang.¬† Not one or the other, but both. It¬īs best not to get overly infatuated with either sun or moon, darkness or light.¬† Nature is always slipping between the two and if we aim to follow nature, to follow the Dao, so will we.

 

This flowy dance between Yin and Yang is easy in theory and hard in practice.  At least for me. 

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Easiest paths might be :

 

1. surrendering fully to "god"

 

2. zazen... in order to do this Taoist wise you have to have gentle concentration on the belly and rest down from the belly on the exhalation a little like Zhan Zhuang's concept of sung, but done seated.  This is the dark valley flowing down.  Buddhists on the other hand do practices in the head.

 

Each of these just needs to be constantly repeated without glamour until you are inseparable from them.

 

Mantras seem unreliable to me, they are too easy and don't really involve you changing yourself - surrender for instance is a big change in your life.  I believe the main point of mantras is that they occupy the mind so that you can feel your true nature inside ... but I doubt many people use them that way, they often want the power up from the deity and don't "give anything".  Without giving something you can't get much.

 

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20 hours ago, Taomeow said:

It just so happens that any "enlightenment" modality that casually marginalizes or even maligns all things yin, the "endarkenment," falls short of what I'm after.

 

But pleeeaaasee remember that "enlightenment" is an English word, likely quite different from what is meant by "bodhi."

 

My interpretation is that the duality between light and dark is not of much relevance to awakening beings either in Buddhism or in Daoism. I am not a buddha or an immortal, but the textual and vernacular teachings in both traditions support this claim, as do certain experiences I've had in practice and my teachers' interpretations of them. 

 

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I know "sun worship" is not strictly about the sun, of course -- what I think it is though is...  well, it is in opposition to all things not yang.  The pursuit of the "pure land" leaves the "impure" this-here land out in the cold.

 

To be sure, there are plenty of Buddhists (and Daoists) with an "otherworldly" focus that I find troubling on multiple levels. Rather than go on and on about it, I'll just say that I more or less think what Ishmael says in Ishmael is on point. 

 

But there are also Chan and Dzogchen teachers who emphasize very clearly that this very world is a Pure Land to those who have awakened. With their awakening, however, nothing is changed, and nothing is purified. As Chan Buddhism's¬†Sixth Ancestor Huineng's four line poem makes so succintly clear, awakening does not rely upon any sort of purification whatsoever. I believe the Tibetan Buddhist Shabkar also spoke directly about the Pure Land being this very world in his poetry, but I don't have the book of his poetry with me. Might have been Longchenpa, or both of them. A modern Chinese Buddhist monk, Miao-yin (Ś¶ôŚćįś≥ēŚłę, I think in this recording if your Chinese study has gotten to this level) also makes this point, in addition offering a detailed explanation of why proper chanting of Amitabha's name converges with other Buddhist practices after a certain stage (that stage being where the chanting and¬†chanter disappear).¬†

 

Returning to the word "pure," my understanding is that there is a "relative" usage of this word at the level of day-to-day logic, i.e., "this cup contains pure water, this cup contains polluted water." It should not be confused with the "non-relative" usage at the level unconstrained by day-to-day logic. Since language is what it is, those who use language to teach have no choice but to borrow words that have relative meanings to try and point towards non-relative meanings. They all admit that this is a clumsy-but-unavoidable way of transmitting teachings, and it can lead to confusion about the teachings as well as clarity.

 

My understanding is that, in Buddhism and Daoism, when one whose vision is "pure" or "clear" looks at the two cups of water I just mentioned, there is nothing that can be said about them. They can't be called the same, they can't be called different, they can't truly be named or called anything. And¬†yet¬†if, for the sake of convenience, they¬†are¬†named and described, despite the utterance of words and the applications of labels, to the "pure one"¬†nothing is diminished, lessened, changed, or "impurified." A way of resolving this conundrum is alluded to in the Chinese phrase "ŚĻ≥Á≠ČŚŅÉśėĮťĀď," also written "ŚĻ≥Á≠ČŚŅÉśėĮšĹõ."

 

So, while simplistic Pure Land teachings are offered to people who for all manner of reasons are more motivated to practice by longing for heaven or fear of hell than a wish to develop wisdom in this life, Pure Land teachings include many subtler layers of meaning. At the subtler level, these is no leaving of anything out in the cold. There is not even leaving and coming.

 

Buddhism makes an effort to offer teachings that can be used by adults who are not prone to critical thinking, reasoning, and reflection. The idea is that, since it is unlikely that most of these adults will change their lifelong habits of thinking before they die, then at least it is sensible to give them simple teachings and practices they can get started with, and which will greatly increase the likelihood that in this life of the next they develop the capacity for more nuanced thinking. When one who is prone to nuanced thinking sees only the teachings meant for those who are averse to doing much thinking at all, Buddhist teachings can seem senseless and even repugnant (just like abstruse Chan teachings literally put many people to sleep or even make them angry). 

 

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The "light of consciousness (or awareness or what not) that permeates everything" leaves no room for something I happen to naturally perceive as sacred -- "deep dark impenetrable mystery" no one should have surveillance powers over.

 

This reads to me like a value judgement I would be wary of yoking myself to, lest it end up being like a ball and chain on my ankle. Why not try setting it temporarily aside for awhile and seeing what happens? Are there really issues of natural and unnatural, deep and shallow, light and dark, porous and impenetrable, sacred and profane, surveilled and unseen, power and powerlessness, etc, to buddhas and immortals?

 

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If mother nature wanted everything to be revealed, we would have ultrasonic eyesight, not machines, or else transparent bellies to spy on the fetus.

 

If you are saying that the desire to try and know everything is toxic, I agree. If you have encountered many Buddhists who seem to think the goal of their path is to become all-knowing, omniscient superbeings, that wouldn't surprise me. They are many who think this way. I do think they are mistaken about what the Buddha taught, though, and I have yet to meet or hear about a person with such an underlying set of motivations whose story does not end up riven with tragedy. In fact, I think we see plenty of people on this website who go off the rails due to precisely such an orientation. It seems that great energy may be drawn from such motivation for a time, but if it does not give way to quiet wisdom, then major obstacles arise, and collision soon enough follows. 

 

In the end, all Shakyamuni did was sit down, shut up, and wait and see. 

 

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And, yes, ultimately it boils down to what resonates.  

 

Yes, a gentle mixing of affinity, dedication to practice, and study of theory.

 

Thank you for your comments, too.

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9 hours ago, rideforever said:

Buddhists on the other hand do practices in the head.

 

You continue to repeat the same falsehood.

 

Why not go learn more, instead of using your precious time to make incorrect statements that may well sow confusion in the minds of curious newcomers here?

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On 11/22/2019 at 10:22 PM, SirPalomides said:

 

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.

 

I don't think there is any official school¬†or lineage¬†called "Action and Karma" in Daoism. But sometimes the character śīĺ, which is often used in the names of Daoist sects, schools, and lineages, only means "style." For instance, artists and musicians who do things in the "Shanghai mode" are called "śĶ∑śīĺ." Sometimes the character gets used in spiritual cultivation not to refer to a formal sect/school, but to a way of doing things. Kind of like saying "old school" in English.¬†Maybe that is what she was trying to say.¬†

 

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

 

There are deity name chanting practices and mantra chanting practices in Daoism, but I do not have much instruction in them. It is generally considered inadvisable to go about making up your own practices in Daoism, which always emphasizes teacher student relationships. Even Daoists with no human teachers are always said to have heavenly teachers, or to themselves be heavenly teachers incarnate. 

 

By the way, it is widely written that chanting certain scriptures many thousands of times brings about results. The end of the Classic of Clarity and Stillness¬†(„ÄäśłÖťĚúÁ∂ď„Äč, Qingjingjing) has a discussion of how chanting the scripture will bring certain benefits to the reader. This kind of thing can also be seen with some Highest Purity scriptures. To this day I know many people who chant the¬†Daodejing¬†and¬†Qingjingjing¬†with this in mind. Such considerations are a part of the Quanzhen liturgy, as well.¬†

 

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

 

Yep.

 

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Thanks for your post.

 

Fa sho. 

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4 hours ago, Walker said:

You continue to repeat the same falsehood.

Why not go learn more, instead of using your precious time to make incorrect statements that may well sow confusion in the minds of curious newcomers here?

 

I gave accurate practice information rather than stupid opinionating Walker. 
 

You talk of "texts" and "vernacular" and definitions of words ... it's obvious you have no idea, - do you actually do any practice ? 
Have you made any progress ?
Or do you spend your time massaging your books and opinions ?
I suggest you try to find a teacher and keep your mouth closed until you do.
 

Edited by rideforever
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I believe that at least 99% of the time, there is a better way than direct personal attacks.

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6 hours ago, Walker said:

 

You continue to repeat the same falsehood.

 

Why not go learn more, instead of using your precious time to make incorrect statements that may well sow confusion in the minds of curious newcomers here?

 

 

A constant in the forum: many people parroting  what becomes disinformation and misinformation, and others being affected by it.

 

1 hour ago, rideforever said:

 

I gave accurate practice information rather than stupid opinionating Walker. 
 

You talk of "texts" and "vernacular" and definitions of words ... it's obvious you have no idea, - do you actually do any practice ? 
Have you made any progress ?
Or do you spend your time massaging your books and opinions ?
I suggest you try to find a teacher and keep your mouth closed until you do.
 

 

Honest question and by no means an attack on you: based on earlier threads you created such as "Buddha Did Not Know", you seem to have an opinion of Buddhism that doesn't sound like you enjoy it. So now how did you arrive at such a conclusion that Walker's opinion (a well-informed one, too), from citing texts he's read and vernacular apropos the context of the material, is an opinion that is not worth sharing?

 

4 minutes ago, moment said:

I believe that at least 99% of the time, there is a better way than direct personal attacks.

 

Sadly, today, any disagreement is interpreted as a personal attack because people view their opinions--factual and reasonable or not--as sacred and a means of diminishing their relevance. An informed opinion does not trump emotional appeal, as emotions overlook facts, and emotions fuel delusions of relevance for many. 

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Daoism has the figure of a butcher who attains the Dao by looking for the Way while carving Oxes. Practice and attention, a mind free of worries, and any and all practices can become spiritual and daoist by essence - even if it's something of a completely different line of religious thought, like buddhism.

 

So, just look for the Way on anything you do. Seek for the path of less resistance and for the "flow" of things which puts you in contact with the basic workings of the universe, and how your Will would be able to infiltrate it.

 

Be it chanting a buddhist mantra, a chatolic prayer or even writing in a daoism forum - all of those can lead to the Way.

 

It can be felt and understood once you attain the correct state of mind. How to attain it, though, is the really difficult thing. In this aspect, mantras like " Namo Amituofo", offerings to the gods or other such practices which call for help from an external source (a buddha, ghost or god) will be usefull and "easy" - that is, until your own mind starts to make things difficult for you.

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18 hours ago, rideforever said:

2. zazen... in order to do this Taoist wise you have to have gentle concentration on the belly and rest down from the belly on the exhalation a little like Zhan Zhuang's concept of sung, but done seated.  This is the dark valley flowing down.  Buddhists on the other hand do practices in the head.

 

1. "Zazen" is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word "zuochan." Its characters are ŚĚź and Á¶™, which mean "sit" and "dhyana." The Sanskrit word dhyana¬†is called chan in Chinese and zen in Japanese. When capitalized they refer to the schools of Buddhism that bear this name.¬†

 

Zazen/zuochan, thus,¬†is a Buddhist term which means practicing this form of Buddhist meditation. This term is seldom used by Daoists to describe their¬†practice. More commonly, Daoists talking about seated meditation use the general¬†terms jingzuo/ťĚúŚĚź (tranquil + sitting)¬†or dazuo/śČďŚĚź (hit + sit), which are also sometimes used by Buddhists, yogis, and others who have seated meditation or contemplation practices. Unlike zazen/zuochan, jingzuo¬†and dazuo¬†are not specific to a certain type of meditation practice.

 

2. It is widely documented that many forms of Buddhist meditation, including but not limited to zazen (see, for instance, the Thai vipassana teachings preferred by Daniel Ingram as well as Tibetan vase breathing), involve gentle concentration on the belly.

 

3. In addition to Buddhist meditation techniques that involve gentle concentration on the belly, there is an incredibly well documented wealth of other Buddhist practices that do not involve the head.

 

4. Also very well documented is the fact that many very important Daoist meditation practices are conducted right inside of, you guessed it, the cranium.

 

5. "The dark valley flowing down." Where does this notion come from?

 

4 hours ago, rideforever said:

I gave accurate practice information rather than stupid opinionating Walker. 

 

More study.

 

Less emotion.

 

Quote

You talk of "texts" and "vernacular" and definitions of words ... it's obvious you have no idea, - do you actually do any practice ? 
Have you made any progress ?
Or do you spend your time massaging your books and opinions ?
I suggest you try to find a teacher and keep your mouth closed until you do.

 

Yawn. Yes, I massage my books. They purr.

 

Trying to punch up from time to time is fine, but be careful not to break your proverbial hands on anybody's shinbones. 

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2 hours ago, Earl Grey said:

 

 

A constant in the forum: many people parroting  what becomes disinformation and misinformation, and others being affected by it.

 

 

Honest question and by no means an attack on you: based on earlier threads you created such as "Buddha Did Not Know", you seem to have an opinion of Buddhism that doesn't sound like you enjoy it. So now how did you arrive at such a conclusion that Walker's opinion (a well-informed one, too), from citing texts he's read and vernacular apropos the context of the material, is an opinion that is not worth sharing?

 

 

Sadly, today, any disagreement is interpreted as a personal attack because people view their opinions--factual and reasonable or not--as sacred and a means of diminishing their relevance. An informed opinion does not trump emotional appeal, as emotions overlook facts, and emotions fuel delusions of relevance for many. 

The trick is to target the opinion without using possessives.

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27 minutes ago, Walker said:

Zazen

 

Listen mate just copying and pasting definitions from the internet is not having a teacher or any experience.  Your whole approach is of an internet amateur.  Better to do some practice. The question you need to ask yourself is out of today's 24 hrs, how much did I practice?

 

The guy is looking for Taoist meditation, instructions I have given, they are accurate.

Zazen as it is practised in Zen develops awareness/concentration at the front of the head with a small amount of belly work due to its Taoist cross over, however it is not true work on the tantien.  In particular Zen does not surrender or flow down.

True Taoist meditation is on the belly and the enlightenment so received is of the valley flowing down into darkness, or sung : this is the kind of enlightenment that gives rise to the TTC.

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On 22/11/2019 at 4:14 PM, Taomeow said:

 

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 ńím√≠tu√≥f√≥.¬† 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.¬†¬†

 

So, we could just "Om", as Daoist, but reap the benefits still...

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On 24/11/2019 at 11:32 AM, Apech said:

But to some Buddhists the whole idea of it is strictly 'heretical' - because relying on an external 'deity' is a no no.  But what was being said at the time it did develop, was that such was the state of ignorance and so on, in the world that it was becoming impossible to gain enlightenment by the original direct methods of meditation and analysis (of reality e.g. abhidharma).  So the only way was to rely on the pre-existence of the perfect realm and a perfect being that lived therein.  So in a sense you were substituting your own enquiry into the nature of things by appealing to another to release you from ignorance.  It is close to the Dzogchan thing of you already being enlightened and what you need to do is appeal to this.

 

 

Wait, so you mean, it is actually an exercise rather than literally treating him as a deity? If so, then that's really useful to know. I used to do the chant when I was exploring Buddhism, but stopped due to my understanding from teachings that there was no worship/God in Buddhism.

 

I admit, the chanting was very peaceful and felt good. But a part of me felt I was leading myself down a road of deities, heaven and hell again etc. So please let me know if I was mistaken!

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58 minutes ago, Rara said:

 

Wait, so you mean, it is actually an exercise rather than literally treating him as a deity? If so, then that's really useful to know. I used to do the chant when I was exploring Buddhism, but stopped due to my understanding from teachings that there was no worship/God in Buddhism.

 

I admit, the chanting was very peaceful and felt good. But a part of me felt I was leading myself down a road of deities, heaven and hell again etc. So please let me know if I was mistaken!

 

 

Hmmm yes, this is an important point I think.  From my experience Buddhists (Tibetan mostly) seem to treat the 'deities' as real even though if you ask they will say that they are aspects of buddha-nature.  That applies to all tantric deities such as Manjushri, Chenrezig and so on.  But of course it all depends on what you mean by 'real' anyway.  Its more than just an exercise I think because they inspire real devotion and aspiration but on the other hand all deities, entities and so on are empty-of-self - just as we are.

 

Pure Land Buddhism is perhaps the most devotional of all the schools of Buddhism.  Also there are hells in Buddhism - all kinds, hot, cold and so on - 16 in fact.  And on the other hand there are Buddha-fields or Pure Lands also.  So that's very heaven and hellish.

 

But I would say its a completely different interpretation to Christian heaven and hell - but most westerners who go into Buddhism import a load of assumptions and preconceptions from Judeo-Christian beliefs and some never get rid of them.  Which is a problem.

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1 hour ago, Rara said:

 

Wait, so you mean, it is actually an exercise rather than literally treating him as a deity? If so, then that's really useful to know. I used to do the chant when I was exploring Buddhism, but stopped due to my understanding from teachings that there was no worship/God in Buddhism.

 

I admit, the chanting was very peaceful and felt good. But a part of me felt I was leading myself down a road of deities, heaven and hell again etc. So please let me know if I was mistaken!

 

Buddhism developed the understanding of "skillful means," that is, a variety of practices and doctrines adapted to people of different capacity, all leading to the same place. So, to oversimplify it, for persons of higher capacity, the paths of direct enlightenment, madhyamaka, etc. For middling persons, ritual, chanting, austerities, discursive meditations. For persons of lower capacity, devotional practices relying on Buddhas/ deities as beings outside ourselves. Some people

 

But here's where the Pure Land school, as elaborated by Shantao and others, turned this schema on its head- precisely because the Pure Land practice was easy and popular, it was the superior teaching, because it led everyone, regardless of karmic disposition, to enlightenment, especially in the days of dharma decline. The nianfo practice was seen as encompassing everything else. Chan practitioners could put their own spin on it and see the "other power" as a kind of mind-hack for recognizing one's inherent Buddha-nature.

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3 hours ago, Rara said:

 

Wait, so you mean, it is actually an exercise rather than literally treating him as a deity? If so, then that's really useful to know. I used to do the chant when I was exploring Buddhism, but stopped due to my understanding from teachings that there was no worship/God in Buddhism.

 

I admit, the chanting was very peaceful and felt good. But a part of me felt I was leading myself down a road of deities, heaven and hell again etc. So please let me know if I was mistaken!

Focusing one's whole attention  on something helps bring about loss of ego and transcendence.  Worship is a means to an end.

Anything that has real power for you can be used as a devotional. It is that sense of spirituality that helps focus your concentration.

Even if you have had no higher experiences, you should consider your ritual of meditation as such.

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As I see it, the Way is simple and the path is wide.  But I think there's a component of self-realization that precedes it.  We can't achieve clarity until our inner life is untangled.  Life gives all of us the tangles - in my particular case, it was alcoholism.  In another's case, it may be marital problems or something else.  Losing a job.  I don't think folks who have had it easy throughout their lives are as driven to proceed to the state of enlightenment as those of us who have suffered a lot in life.  That may not be true for all, but it just seems to me that many of us here on this forum have had some pretty horrendous backgrounds.

 

Once the inner self is straightened and blockages removed from our channel, this is when it gets easy.  This is when walking the path of the Dao gives its rewards.  When useless judgments are released, when one has control over their thought process, when one truly understands that we are merely a part of the Whole - this is when life can be free of fear and anxiety.  And love enters - love for the Whole and everybody and everything in it.  This is the ideal, of course - but it can be experienced sporadically at first - and then the Practice becomes staying in the consciousness, the I Am consciousness (referred to differently within different traditions) as much as you possibly can.

 

This I Am frame of mind is the acknowledgment of who we really are - and it's my guess that all traditions will ultimately get you there, if followed earnestly.  As I observe it, I believe that all viable paths have one thing in common for attainment:  the metaphysics, the unseen laws that underlie everything.  And it's my belief that at a certain point, all dogma is best left to fade into the background.  The confinement of dogma is not beneficial to merger with the One.

 

Just one old lady's opinion.

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