Sign in to follow this  
Basil

Daoist associations?

Recommended Posts

I don't post on here very often, so most of you have probably never seen me, but I do pop in from time to time when I have a question - and my fellow bums have never failed me before.  

 

I am curious if any of you have any experience with any of the Daoist associations in the US (e.g. Daoist Foundation, Center of Traditional Taoist Studies, etc.)?

 

I'm not sure what I'm looking for exactly, but I was just looking to see where I could take my admittedly lazy, armchair studies of Daoist next.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My impression of Center of Traditional Taoist Studies, from very brief email interaction, is that they don't do distance learning of any sort- that is, if you want to learn anything from them, you have to be able to show up at the Temple.

 

The Daoist Foundation has graciously provided me some beginners' pointers when I asked them via email.

 

Parting Clouds Daoist Education says they are offering a distance course- contact them for details. I've emailed them but haven't heard back- that was a few weeks ago. It might be a busy time for them.

 

These Four Dragons guys also offer a three year online training course for ordination into Zhengyi or Quanzhen based on your preference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‚Äé12‚Äé/‚Äé23‚Äé/‚Äé2019 at 9:27 AM, SirPalomides said:

These Four Dragons guys also offer a three year online training course for ordination into Zhengyi or Quanzhen based on your preference.

 

I might need to backtrack on this one, and put a query to the forum here: is it kosher for a Daoist teacher to charge money for training leading to ordination? I read a comment from Michael Saso where he unequivocally warns against anyone charging money for a Daoist ordination, which has dire consequences for the person selling these ordinations, and also saps the strength of whichever lineage is being transmitted.

 

Some counter-points, perhaps: the Four Dragons teacher does not guarantee ordination at the end of his program, though the program is billed for that specific purpose.

 

Also, Saso states that it takes at least ten years to train for a proper Daoist ordination. I don't doubt that this is a widely observed standard, especially considering the many complex skills that go into a functioning Daoist priesthood. But I've also heard of a lot of cases of initiations conducted without such extensive training- but also without any mercenary considerations.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

I may have some information which some may find useful in regards to Four Dragons since they've been mentioned. Four Dragons is ran by Lao Shi (Patrick Lovitt). Patrick has been a practicing Daoist ever since he was a small child living in a Monastery in China Town San Francisco,  with his adopted father (Whom was a Daoshi and Ch'an Monk). Patrick is an ambassador and was ordained by Abbot Bright Heart (Zhang Shifu), the head Abbess for the Qingcheng Mt. Daoist Association (Longmen), of which Patrick is her representative, and holds a temple for the Association in Houston. I am a Priest that was ordained by Patrick and am a Zhengyi Daoist Priest as well as, a 22nd Generation Longmen Priest.

As for charging money for ordination goes, Four dragons doesn't charge for ordination, but it does charge for the Seminary leading to ordination. Let's get something straight right off the bat,  you will be charged (IN SOME FASHION), to learn and be ordained as a Daoist priest. You will either have to spend thousands on plane tickets, or spend thousands on a seminary, but you will spend money to become a Daoist Priest. There are no restrictions against charging money.

If you go to China and live in a Monastery in order to be trained, thinking that you'll spend no money, you'll still pay. You'll pay by working, doing dishes, sweeping, taking care of the grounds etc. teachers have to eat, and live too, unless you find one that is a breatharian, and lives in a cloud cave on top of Mt. Kailash. Shifu's, Masters, and Teachers eat, sleep, and live just like the rest of us. In fact, Patrick is no longer taking distance students. So, if you want to learn from Four Dragons you'll have to be physically present now in Houston. Patrick (Lao) is most certainly not mercenary in his motives, just trying to spread the Dao and keep food in his kid's mouths like any of us.

I will say this, Patrick is the real deal, and walks the walk. The initial seminary and ordination are three years, but the entire process takes 9 years, and Patrick is there the entire way. After the Seminary there are no fees for the next 6 years. If there are any other questions or comments, I'd be happy to answer them.

 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Nathan. What you say makes perfect sense. And I didn’t want to give any impression that I’m accusing anyone- I’m just thinking aloud.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Nathan said:

I may have some information which some may find useful in regards to Four Dragons since they've been mentioned. Four Dragons is ran by Lao Shi (Patrick Lovitt). Patrick has been a practicing Daoist ever since he was a small child living in a Monastery in China Town San Francisco,  with his adopted father (Whom was a Daoshi and Ch'an Monk). Patrick is an ambassador and was ordained by Abbot Bright Heart (Zhang Shifu), the head Abbess for the Qingcheng Mt. Daoist Association (Longmen), of which Patrick is her representative, and holds a temple for the Association in Houston. I am a Priest that was ordained by Patrick and am a Zhengyi Daoist Priest as well as, a 22nd Generation Longmen Priest.

 

Hi Nathan, thank you for coming and offering to answer questions.

 

What do you guys mean when you say "Longmen Priest?" Do you consider yourselves to be ťĀďťē∑/daozhang in the Longmen order? I ask this because Longmen¬†daozhang¬†are traditionally understood to be "left-home" (ŚáļŚģ∂/chujia)¬†Daoists who take vows with close semblance to the Buddhist monastic¬†vinaya, which includes abstaining from sex, meat, alcohol, and even garlic and onions. Your teacher is pictured on his website with his children and you mentioned them here, too. Is he raising in them in the capacity of a monastic practitioner, or a householder? Does he teach people in your school that if they wish to become Longmen priests they must take monastic vows? If so, what are the monastic vows he transmits?

 

Also, what does it mean that Lovitt is the "representative" of Abbess Zhang? What do you mean by "ambassador" in the above paragraph?

 

Thanks. 

Edited by Walker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Walker said:

 

Hi Nathan, thank you for coming and offering to answer questions.

 

What do you guys mean when you say "Longmen Priest?" Do you consider yourselves to be ťĀďťē∑/daozhang in the Longmen order? I ask this because Longmen¬†daozhang¬†are traditionally understood to be "left-home" (ŚáļŚģ∂/chujia)¬†Daoists who take vows with close semblance to the Buddhist monastic¬†vinaya, which includes abstaining from sex, meat, alcohol, and even garlic and onions. Your teacher is pictured on his website with his children and you mentioned them here, too. Is he raising in them in the capacity of a monastic practitioner, or a householder? Does he teach people in your school that if they wish to become Longmen priests they must take monastic vows? If so, what are the monastic vows he transmits?

 

Also, what does it mean that Lovitt is the "representative" of Abbess Zhang? What do you mean by "ambassador" in the above paragraph?

 

Thanks. . 


Yes, we are Daoshi (Daoist Priests) in the Longmen Order. Patrick is Bright-heart’s representative because he runs a temple and altar of Qingcheng in Houston. He is also an Abbot of Qingcheng directly under Zhang Shifu. As for the monastic vows,  Zhang doesn’t require them of her Western clergy. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Nathan said:

Yes, we are Daoshi (Daoist Priests) in the Longmen Order. Patrick is Bright-heart’s representative because he runs a temple and altar of Qingcheng in Houston. He is also an Abbot of Qingcheng directly under Zhang Shifu.

 

Is there a chance you can type the Chinese characters of her name here, or link to a place where they are written?

 

3 minutes ago, Nathan said:

As for the monastic vows,  Zhang doesn’t require them of her Western clergy. 

 

Why is that?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/15/2020 at 10:13 PM, SirPalomides said:

I'm guessing Zhang Shifu is ŚľĶśėéŚŅÉ whom the Parting Clouds Daoist Association also trace their authority to.

 

Thanks!

 

@Nathan, is that correct?

 

Can you please explain why your grand-teacher said that westerners can be Longmen Sect daozhang but not maintain celibacy?

 

And what vows do you take? Are there other traditional vows of Longmen monks/nuns that your grand-teacher said westerners can eschew? 

 

Thank you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/15/2020 at 3:34 AM, Walker said:

 

Hi Nathan, thank you for coming and offering to answer questions.

 

What do you guys mean when you say "Longmen Priest?" Do you consider yourselves to be ťĀďťē∑/daozhang in the Longmen order? I ask this because Longmen¬†daozhang¬†are traditionally understood to be "left-home" (ŚáļŚģ∂/chujia)¬†Daoists who take vows with close semblance to the Buddhist monastic¬†vinaya, which includes abstaining from sex, meat, alcohol, and even garlic and onions. Your teacher is pictured on his website with his children and you mentioned them here, too. Is he raising in them in the capacity of a monastic practitioner, or a householder? Does he teach people in your school that if they wish to become Longmen priests they must take monastic vows? If so, what are the monastic vows he transmits?

 

Also, what does it mean that Lovitt is the "representative" of Abbess Zhang? What do you mean by "ambassador" in the above paragraph?

 

Thanks. 

 

I don't know the details of course, but in general, Longmen daozhang are often (especially in Taiwan) syncretic beyond the officially accepted doctrine.  The Daozhang Xubian (Sequel to the Daozhang), a collection of two dozen texts written by the 11th Longmen patriarch, some of which are unique in their "healing the world" goals, offers a variety of practices that are "more inclusive."  In Taiwan, many daozhang have been ordained without the requirements to follow the procedural customs since at least the mid-20th century.  So the West may just be catching up.     

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Taomeow said:

 

I don't know the details of course, but in general, Longmen daozhang are often (especially in Taiwan) syncretic beyond the officially accepted doctrine.  The Daozhang Xubian (Sequel to the Daozhang), a collection of two dozen texts written by the 11th Longmen patriarch, some of which are unique in their "healing the world" goals, offers a variety of practices that are "more inclusive."  In Taiwan, many daozhang have been ordained without the requirements to follow the procedural customs since at least the mid-20th century.  So the West may just be catching up.     


That is spot on.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Walker said:

Before I reply, @Taomeow, can you please clarify what you mean by "syncretic" here? 

 

Embracing syncretism, blending various practices from various traditions, including those¬†that have either¬†lost their once-orthodox¬†status at some point and were long considered unorthodox, or gained it without a prior history of inclusion.¬† E.g.¬†n√ľdan practices, dual cultivation for men and women, and various techniques and teachings adapted more flexibly to¬†personal leanings and¬†preferences.¬† Strict discipline and impeccable ethics are required, but "abstaining from sex, meat, alcohol, and even garlic and onions"¬†is,¬†to my knowledge, just one way to go about it and not the only one.¬† I remember some of it¬†(hopefully correctly) from this article: ¬†https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1179/073776901804774604

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Taomeow said:

 

Embracing syncretism, blending various practices from various traditions, including those¬†that have either¬†lost their once-orthodox¬†status at some point and were long considered unorthodox, or gained it without a prior history of inclusion.¬† E.g.¬†n√ľdan practices, dual cultivation for men and women, and various techniques and teachings adapted more flexibly to¬†personal leanings and¬†preferences.¬† Strict discipline and impeccable ethics are required, but "abstaining from sex, meat, alcohol, and even garlic and onions"¬†is,¬†to my knowledge, just one way to go about it and not the only one.¬† I remember some of it¬†(hopefully correctly) from this article: ¬†https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1179/073776901804774604

 

Gotcha. I will re-read Esposito's article when I've got a bit more time, definitely worth returning to. My thoughts off the bat:

 

Syncretism has always been a part of the Quanzhen movement, going back to the very earliest days. It is part of the commonly accepted lore that one of Wang Chongyang's famous "seven disciples" (can't remember which one off the top of my head) achieved accomplishment only after receiving further instruction from immortals following Wang's death. As early as the third generation of Quanzhen one can find clear record of important Quanzhen Daoists who were also lineage holders in other sects (I wrote about this here maybe two months ago, I can dig up the post if you want and give a link). So, this is to say, I do not think any sensible person with a knowledge of Quanzhen history would ever point at a specific, discrete praxis and declare "that is orthodox Quanzhen cultivation." 

 

At the same time, they laity was an important part of the Quanzhen movement from the very beginning, with Wang Chongyang founding (iirc) three lay organizations called śúÉ/hui¬†where non-monastic students and disciples could congregate to receive teachings and practice. The idea of lay disciples of monastic Quanzhen figures seems to have always been a part of this movement, up to the present day; as some lay disciples have reached very high levels of cultivation, there are also lines of transmission that left the monastic fold long ago. I have never seen a member of Complete Reality Daoism question this phenomenon¬†unless¬†the lay teacher in question was in it for the money or--as I have personally been privy to, knowing the targeted¬†victim personally--worse, such as sexual abuse of students under the guise of "transmitting the Dao." (This sort of thing also arises in monastic settings, of course).¬†

 

So, to recapitulate the above, there has always been¬†lots¬†of room for syncretism in Complete Reality Daoism, and there has always been a wide-open door for those aspirants who do not wish to ŚáļŚģ∂/chujia/become monks or nuns, and thereby lead their lives according to the strictures of monastic discipline. Those who walk through that door are often called šŅóŚģ∂ŚľüŚ≠ź/sujia dizi, meaning " disciples with worldly families" or something like that. Sometimes they are also called ŚĪÖŚ£ę/jushi, a term borrowed from Buddhism that means "householder," from the Sanskrit¬†uppasaka [sic].¬†

 

However--and this is a big however--I have never in well over a decade of mingling with this world heard it be said that one can be an honest Longmen monk or nun while carrying on sexual relationships, eating animal flesh, indulging in intoxicants, and doing many other things that generally seem antithetical to an ascetic pursuit of spiritual goals.

 

To be sure, there is an abundance of dishonest Longmen monks and nuns these days who fuck around as much as they please, including in their temples, including in the great White Cloud Monastery, including on goddamn video-chat with their girlfriends who later get pissed off and share their screengrabs of their monk boyfriends fucking watermelons during cybersex. Like, literally and for real:

 

image.png.0d201f1e30c49e14976a457c26d99a24.png

 

The above, much as I hate to admit it, is an affair that was narrated to me in person by somebody in White Cloud Monastery a year and a half ago--this isn't just some internet gossip, it's just par for the course in modern PRC Complete Reality temples, where you might have trouble finding anywhere quiet to meditate, best case scenario because the guy next door won't turn the sound off on his smartphone "beat the landlord" game, or worst case scenario, because he is roaring in the throes of passion as he discharges his precious jing into a helpless piece of produce.

 

Despite the prevalence (now and historically) of monks and nuns who take vows that they are unprepared to observe, there nevertheless¬†remains a strong core of monks and nuns who live by these vows, and they draw a very clear line between monastics whose path is ś≠£ and those whose is ťā™. It's not really very hard to do draw this line. If one vows before an altar under the observance of witnesses during a formal ceremony to abstain from doing certain things in order to simplify one's life and focus on spiritual attainment¬†and¬†be better able to live in selfless service to the community... and then one takes the donations said community gives to buy liquor, take girls out on the town at night while in lay garb, play video games all day because being a "monk" means you don't need a real job, etc... Then, well, that's¬†ťā™.¬†

 

Now, I understand, deeply, that there are those who may say, "but you don't need monastic vows to reach the Dao!" Others may go so far as to protest, "monastic vows are contrary to pursuing the Dao, they shouldn't exist at all for Daoists!" (A Zhengyi priest I met in Hunan called Quanzhen monastic rules "perversion"). And if you ask me, those are both points that are worthy of serious consideration!

 

But,

 

If one believes that monastic vows are unnecessary or even counterproductive, why would one join a monastic order?

 

There are plenty of ways to cultivate the Dao without being a Longmen monk or nun. Claiming to be a Longmen monk or nun while either secretly breaking the vows or while openly saying "we don't need the vows" seems awfully strange. And I promise that I am not alone in these opinions, having spent thousands of hours around Daoist monks and nuns in China, many of whom are very forthright in expressing their worries about the chaos (šļā being the word used most in these conversations) prevalent in modern Daoist temples and monasteries.¬†

 

Anyway, Taomeow, can you give links to the Longmen initiation phenomenon in Taiwan you mentioned? To my knowledge there has been little to no monastic Longmen presence in Taiwan until very recently, and historically¬†no in-country monastic line (there may¬†have been a Longmen monk in Tainan in the late 1800s, but that is not historically well-established, and he did not leave behind lineage descendents). Thus one currently sees Taiwanese aspirants traveling to China (Wuhan and Laoshan in Shandong being to major destinations) and¬†spending time there before being accepted as monks/nuns; their number is still very small. I do know a couple of young women who take part in Longmen rituals in Taiwan in Daoist regalia, but they fly Chinese monks and nuns over to lead the rituals, and are very quick to emphasize that they themselves have not become nuns (ŚáļŚģ∂) if asked.¬†

Edited by Walker
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Walker  Thank you for the graphic picture.  Could it be that taoist monks enjoying sex with watermelons were inspired by that great movie, Night on Earth? -- though come to think of it, it should have served as a warning to them when the Catholic priest therein had a heart attack from merely hearing the story of someone's carnal knowledge of a pumpkin...  I won't say more in the unlikely case you haven't seen it.

 

I don't know much about monastic life of taoists, and the only taoist nun I ever knew was batshit crazy, throwing prudeness tantrums and proclaiming¬†celibacy as the¬†Way with such regularity and such fervor that I suspected she may have been driven emotionally unstable by the very practice she preached.¬† But I thought we were talking about taoist priests, ťĀďťē∑ ,¬†not monks and nuns?¬† ¬†Is it the same word? -- my Chinese is, alas, very limited.¬†¬†

 

I don't think I have any links saved specifically, I'm not a scholar of taoism, just a practitioner of a number of taoist arts, monkey see monkey do.  Monkey choose at that.  I read things "around" and "about" it of course but usually forget whatever is not found practically useful, theoretically compatible with my "bigger picture," or smacks of trivia which I try to avoid because my poor memory is overloaded with too much of everything as it is and I "seek daily decrease" as a good little taoist.  The Encyclopedia of Taoism edited by Fabrizio Pregagio, with whom I occasionally talked online, may have been one source, but my memory of it is far from encyclopedic.  Other than that, I have Taiwanese friends (living in the US now) and rely on what they tell me.  The picture that emerges from their stories is very colorful, but, again, no links. 

 

I've a hunch  the real reason for your questions is that you suspect Nathan's organization is not legit -- well, I've no idea one way or the other.  But from what I heard about how taoism was resurrected and "restored" in China...  I wouldn't take anyone's word for anything legitimacy-wise.  (Which is one reason I am 90% empirical in my pursuits and use theory as a crutch when there's not enough monkey see for to do, and research around it as the crutch of the crutch.)    

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Taomeow said:

@Walker  Thank you for the graphic picture.  Could it be that taoist monks enjoying sex with watermelons were inspired by that great movie, Night on Earth? -- though come to think of it, it should have served as a warning to them when the Catholic priest therein had a heart attack from merely hearing the story of someone's carnal knowledge of a pumpkin...  I won't say more in the unlikely case you haven't seen it.

 

Never even heard of this movie, but sounds... Interesting to say the least! 

 

Quote

I don't know much about monastic life of taoists, and the only taoist nun I ever knew was batshit crazy, throwing prudeness tantrums and proclaiming celibacy as the Way with such regularity and such fervor that I suspected she may have been driven emotionally unstable by the very practice she preached.

 

I've met some pretty mad Daoist monastics myself. I know a few Catholic ex-nuns and I know a lot of Buddhists, too. From what I've seen and the stories I've been told, my armchair expert opinion is that monasticism can be a place to make great spiritual progress and become more sane; it can also drive people crazy as well as attract crazies who only get worse now that they've got dogma, a social identity that puffs them up, and a belly full of free food. In between the extremes, there are a lot of people just treading water. Longmen monasticism has a bit of all of that!

 

Quote

¬† But I thought we were talking about taoist priests, ťĀďťē∑ ,¬†not monks and nuns?¬† ¬†Is it the same word? -- my Chinese is, alas, very limited.¬†¬†

 

In Complete Reality Daoism, ťĀďťē∑ is only ever used to describe those who have formally entered the monastic life. In Orthodox Unity and other schools, it is used differently, and may have nothing to do with asceticism.¬†

 

Quote

I don't think I have any links saved specifically, I'm not a scholar of taoism, just a practitioner of a number of taoist arts, monkey see monkey do.  Monkey choose at that.  I read things "around" and "about" it of course but usually forget whatever is not found practically useful, theoretically compatible with my "bigger picture," or smacks of trivia which I try to avoid because my poor memory is overloaded with too much of everything as it is and I "seek daily decrease" as a good little taoist.

 

I think that is a good way. I see nothing wrong with people figuring out what works for them. My own main teacher instructed me to do so, and said that that's what all who have had success do, while the oral teachings and writings they leave behind are merely their own expressions based on their own experience. I remember well a very low-key nun on Wudang I visited a few times who would occasionally get asked by curious seekers (often those kind of surprised that the actual monks and nuns who were not affiliated with kung-fu schools on the mountain didn't, in fact, seem to ever do any kung-fu), "what exactly do you all practice here?" She would always reply very quietly and succinctly, "ŚźĄśúČšłÄŚ•ó," or "each of us has our own¬†set of practices," with a polite but firm tone of voice that clearly ended the conversation. But relevant to this discussion is also that she was very adamant about the fact that certain things, although they don't mean you can't cultivate,¬†do¬†mean that you're not really a ťĀďťē∑; and that certain other things mean you simply do not have Śĺ∑, and are therefore walking in a¬†direction that will not take you where your robes and funny hat imply you wish to go. Nobody seems to get excommunicated and even getting banned from a temple is rare¬†(that I know of), so she quietly pointed out to me the people who I would be wise to avoid. Two of them were and are quite famous. Time gradually tends to reveal that which is not obvious at first glance, especially to a young, exuberant seeker with stars in his or her eyes. What I gradually learned about one of those men over the course of the years that followed¬†made me grateful for the nun's simple warning early on.¬†

 

Quote

The Encyclopedia of Taoism edited by Fabrizio Pregagio, with whom I occasionally talked online, may have been one source, but my memory of it is far from encyclopedic.  Other than that, I have Taiwanese friends (living in the US now) and rely on what they tell me.  The picture that emerges from their stories is very colorful, but, again, no links. 

 

Well, Daoist religion is certainly not short on color!

 

Quote

I've a hunch  the real reason for your questions is that you suspect Nathan's organization is not legit -- well, I've no idea one way or the other.  But from what I heard about how taoism was resurrected and "restored" in China...  I wouldn't take anyone's word for anything legitimacy-wise.  (Which is one reason I am 90% empirical in my pursuits and use theory as a crutch when there's not enough monkey see for to do, and research around it as the crutch of the crutch.)    

 

Yes, it is a complex situation, and I think there is a graduated scale between legitimate and illegitimate, but of course with some absolutes.

 

The serious monks and nuns I know have never expressed a need for some sort of reform of the monastic code, and are in fact so firm in their support of it that I have had it said to me by more than one monastic that the Longmen rituals won't work if the Daoists performing them do not uphold their vows. They say this is¬†because the spirits associated with the lineage will not respond (śĄüśáČ) when the strictures of the lineage have been violated. Thus, Śĺ∑ is a key¬†link between human and heaven, and it is necessary¬†for a ritual to be ťĚą; one role of a true¬†ritual master who can see is to actually get the immortals being petitioned to enter the temple. Lying and living a double life will, I am told, sever¬†this connection. While humans are fairly easy to deceive, immortals cannot be deceived.

 

I am indeed curious if whoever is minting Longmen ťĀďťē∑ that do not need to keep the monastic code has expressed the reasons for electing to make such a gigantic break with centuries of tradition.¬†

Edited by Walker
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fascinating conversation.  Thanks Bums!

 

Master Wang at his retreat, spoke of Mountain Daoists (full time), Temple Daoists (full time) and Household Daoists (cultivate when able).

 

As for Celibacy... my own take is similar to Socrates in that "As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent." :P

 

Thanks again for a stimulating topic.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Walker and Taomeow for the fascinating talk.

 

I've seen bits of Monica Esposito's book Creative Daoism and am pretty curious to read the whole thing.

 

My impression, based on sketchy reading about early Quanzhen, is that it had a paradoxical quality of both opening Daoist teachings to a wide range of laypeople while also insisting on much stricter ascetic standards than before. I had also read (this might have been in Esposito) that there are lay associations in Taiwan who claim affiliation with Quanzhen but who have not had a formal lineage connection, at least until recently. Their affiliation is rather grounded on spirit writing revelations received from Lu Dongbin or other Quanzhen patriarchs.

 

I've been surprised learning how much stuff now considered pretty standard or common in Daoism would have been frowned upon at at some point, including acupuncture, worshiping local spirits, and much of the Jiao rite. But I really shouldn't be surprised- every ancient religion undergoes such changes.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/20/2020 at 11:37 PM, silent thunder said:

As for Celibacy... my own take is similar to Socrates in that "As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent." :P

 

Thanks again for a stimulating topic.

 

It's cool you guys have enjoyed the conversation, but since this is an issue that has at stake thousands of dollars for people who get involved; however much time and social as well as emotional investment they make; and the reception of an ancient, living lineage with extremely strong and clear characteristics in non-Chinese-speaking countries, I hope that in addition to being stimulating I can shed light on perspectives that were expressed to me by Chinese Daoists over the years who believe that the monastic vows are extremely important. There are some serious issues at stake here and this conversation is going to get a lot more complex when the time arrives to write about them. 

 

As for celibacy, I think Socrates' advice is excellent... Unless one is talking about people who have joined a tradition and adopt an identity that not only implies but downright requires--stringently, repeatedly, and publicly--that its adherents forgo the opportunity to have sexual relationships. At that point (especially when speaking about purported monks and nuns who live off of donations and money collected for the performance of religious rituals and offering spiritual/religious teachings), we are no longer speaking about an individual choice, but a communal choice, in the sense that the ramifications of one's choice extend beyond one's own and one's sexual partners' bodies and sexual activities, and outward to the rest of the spiritual/religious community that supports the existence of monastic life. So again, given that Quanzhen Daoism has always made room for there to be non-celibate lay disciples (the sujiadizi I mentioned above), why are Zhang Mingxin, Four Dragons, et al now rewriting the script, and under what authority do they do so?

 

At any rate, I will write more on this later, as the nun Zhang Mingxin has left quite a lot of eyebrow-raising footprints around the internet that are very germane to this topic.

 

On 1/20/2020 at 4:08 AM, Nathan said:
On 1/20/2020 at 4:03 AM, Taomeow said:

 

I don't know the details of course, but in general, Longmen daozhang are often (especially in Taiwan) syncretic beyond the officially accepted doctrine.  The Daozhang Xubian (Sequel to the Daozhang), a collection of two dozen texts written by the 11th Longmen patriarch, some of which are unique in their "healing the world" goals, offers a variety of practices that are "more inclusive."  In Taiwan, many daozhang have been ordained without the requirements to follow the procedural customs since at least the mid-20th century.  So the West may just be catching up.     


That is spot on.

 

Hi Nathan,

 

For whatever reason you have ignored my questions repeatedly. I am going to write about your grand-teacher and the issues I've raised here whether you reply or not, but I would like to remind you yet again that you are welcome to offer your thoughts before I write more. 

 

Also, Nathan, you replied "spot on" to Taomeow's post that covered a number of topics. What, exactly, did you think was spot on about it? Specifically, do you mean that you are familiar with the Daozang Xubian? If so, which of its texts, and by which author, do you feel are relevant to you, your teacher/grand-teacher, and Four Dragons? (I mean this specifically with relation to there being Longmen daozhang who are non-celibate and may not have to follow other aspects of the monastic code). Have you read them in Chinese or in translation? If the latter, where did you find them?

 

Thank you. 

Edited by Walker
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: watermelon fucking, on a general note, I think it must be concluded that internet access is one of the worst things a monastery can have. Not that crazy things didn’t happen before- humans are humans. I remember an episode in the novel Seven Taoist Masters where the disciples are made to sleep next to wooden boards. They dream about beautiful women and in the morning the boards are covered in... uh, jing. Further afield I was a bit shocked when I first read this quote in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers: 

 

Quote

Isaac from the Thebaid said to his brothers, 'Do not bring boys here. Boys were the reason why four monasteries in Scetis were deserted.’


and this from an age where Christian monasticism was supposed to be at its most pristine. 
 

So stuff happens, but man does the internet not help. In my years in the Orthodox Church I saw more than a few cases of monastics from respectable places who got internet connections and *poof* goes that old aura of sanctity and wisdom. Maybe some guy on Mount Athos launching into a tirade about how the EU is trying to turn everyone into slaves of the one world government with biometric passports; or a monk in Romania singing fascist songs with a chorus of nuns on his birthday; or a Russian elder going on some anti-Semitic conspiracy rant. And of course all kinds of sexual abuse and predatory behavior.
 

Keep the monks away from the internet, folks. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SirPalomides said:

Re: watermelon fucking, on a general note, I think it must be concluded that internet access is one of the worst things a monastery can have. Not that crazy things didn’t happen before- humans are humans. I remember an episode in the novel Seven Taoist Masters where the disciples are made to sleep next to wooden boards. They dream about beautiful women and in the morning the boards are covered in... uh, jing. Further afield I was a bit shocked when I first read this quote in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers: 

 


and this from an age where Christian monasticism was supposed to be at its most pristine. 
 

So stuff happens, but man does the internet not help. In my years in the Orthodox Church I saw more than a few cases of monastics from respectable places who got internet connections and *poof* goes that old aura of sanctity and wisdom. Maybe some guy on Mount Athos launching into a tirade about how the EU is trying to turn everyone into slaves of the one world government with biometric passports; or a monk in Romania singing fascist songs with a chorus of nuns on his birthday; or a Russian elder going on some anti-Semitic conspiracy rant. And of course all kinds of sexual abuse and predatory behavior.
 

Keep the monks away from the internet, folks. 

 

Sounds like a bunch of wankers.

Edited by moment
  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure, people have their individual weaknesses, and some enter monasteries with less than lofty motivations, but the idea of monastic enclosure is to minimize worldly temptations and regular internet access brings them all flooding back in.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, SirPalomides said:

Sure, people have their individual weaknesses, and some enter monasteries with less than lofty motivations, but the idea of monastic enclosure is to minimize worldly temptations and regular internet access brings them all flooding back in.

 

Your reply came seconds after my re-edit.  I am being bad, I am going to put myself in the corner for a moment ot two.:rolleyes:

Edited by moment

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this