TranquilTurmoil

Qs on integrating Taoism and buddhism

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Hello all. I have long been confused on theology in Taoism especially in regards to the I Ching. The two translations of the Yi I use are Brian Browne Walker and Wilhelm and both refer to "God" or "the Deity" as far as theology goes. I know certain schools of Taoism are polytheistic from what I gather. What I would like to know as I pray to the Deity as referred to in the I Ching am I praying to a biblical God or an abstract universal Deity? I ask this because my path has Buddhist roots and I want to know if anyone can guide me if praying to Guan Yin and other bodhisattvas is compatible with praying to a potentially biblical God.

 

I also would like to know if the bodhisattva path and the path of the daoist immortal are one and the same or are two distinct paths. Does an immortal have great compassion? Do bodhisattvas reside in the heavenly realms while they simultaneously incarnate on earth?

 

I have a lot of questions so hopefully someone could help guide me. 

-Elliot 

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32 minutes ago, TranquilTurmoil said:

Hello all. I have long been confused on theology in Taoism especially in regards to the I Ching. The two translations of the Yi I use are Brian Browne Walker and Wilhelm and both refer to "God" or "the Deity" as far as theology goes. I know certain schools of Taoism are polytheistic from what I gather. What I would like to know as I pray to the Deity as referred to in the I Ching am I praying to a biblical God or an abstract universal Deity? I ask this because my path has Buddhist roots and I want to know if anyone can guide me if praying to Guan Yin and other bodhisattvas is compatible with praying to a potentially biblical God.

 

I also would like to know if the bodhisattva path and the path of the daoist immortal are one and the same or are two distinct paths. Does an immortal have great compassion? Do bodhisattvas reside in the heavenly realms while they simultaneously incarnate on earth?

 

I have a lot of questions so hopefully someone could help guide me. 

-Elliot 

 

 

Hi,

 

The Yi Ching and Buddhism are compatible - the Tibetans use it sometimes as an oracle.  You can see some trigrams on tankas.  So I wouldn't worry about that.  However of course the Yi Ching pre-dates both the Buddha himself and of course the Dharma arriving in China.  Some people might say otherwise but some concepts in Daoism made the assimilation of Buddhist dharma relatively easy.

 

I don't know the Walker version but I do use Wilhelm (as well as Huang and some others) - I think mostly when Wilhelm talks of God he means Heaven - and what you might call the 'numinous' or spirit.  It is quite definitely not the Biblical God which is an idea unknown in ancient China.

 

The Daoist path and the Mahayana path of the bodhisattva are not the same.  There are however many Daoist schools with a strong Buddhist influence - so in some cases they might appear almost the same.  And of course Ch'an and Zen are quite Daoist influenced.  I think comparison is valid and can be helpful - but mixing is often not so helpful.  All you need to do is decide to which you have a strong connection.  This is the one which will benefit you the most.   It does not preclude studying the other path by the way but just knowing in your heart which you are most clearly aligned.

 

On praying to Guan Yin and a Biblical God - I don't think this would work.  The Yi Ching is about the changes, the interaction of yin and yang in a kind of dynamic field, how situations arise and how one flows into another.   It doesn't really involve the will of a supreme being - but dependent origination fits quite well with this idea.

 

Hope this helps.  (just my thoughts of course I am no expert)

 

A.

Edited by Apech
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34 minutes ago, Apech said:

 

 

Hi,

 

The Yi Ching and Buddhism are compatible - the Tibetans use it sometimes as an oracle.  You can see some trigrams on tankas.  So I wouldn't worry about that.  However of course the Yi Ching pre-dates both the Buddha himself and of course the Dharma arriving in China.  Some people might say otherwise but some concepts in Daoism made the assimilation of Buddhist dharma relatively easy.

 

I don't know the Walker version but I do use Wilhelm (as well as Huang and some others) - I think mostly when Wilhelm talks of God he means Heaven - and what you might call the 'numinous' or spirit.  It is quite definitely not the Biblical God which is an idea unknown in ancient China.

 

The Daoist path and the Mahayana path of the bodhisattva are not the same.  There are however many Daoist schools with a strong Buddhist influence - so in some cases they might appear almost the same.  And of course Ch'an and Zen are quite Daoist influenced.  I think comparison is valid and can be helpful - but mixing is often not so helpful.  All you need to do is decide to which you have a strong connection.  This is the one which will benefit you the most.   It does not preclude studying the other path by the way but just knowing in your heart which you are most clearly aligned.

 

On praying to Guan Yin and a Biblical God - I don't think this would work.  The Yi Ching is about the changes, the interaction of yin and yang in a kind of dynamic field, how situations arise and how one flows into another.   It doesn't really involve the will of a supreme being - but dependent origination fits quite well with this idea.

 

Hope this helps.  (just my thoughts of course I am no expert)

 

A.

Thank you! Would you be open to talking with me in depth on my I Ching questions as soon as you're available to? I'm so eager to discuss with another person who consults the Yi... If you read the other thread I have more or less waited for 7 years to discuss my questions... I'm available to talk or video chat if interested

 

Edit: I can't post anymore posts (maybe there is a limit on your first day?) If you are up for it we can try to find an alternate way to msg.

My email is [email protected] let me know

Thanks :)

Edited by TranquilTurmoil
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Which other thread do you mean?

 

There's an Yi Ching section on here somewhere.

 

Happy to discuss anything any time.  Don't do skype tho'.  But either post here or PM me :)

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Well in order to seek further answers and to get what I've long wanted to get off my chest to people who may understand me better than the few people around me, I feel compelled to share my story.

 

I found the Tao Te Ching and Buddhism at roughly the same time when I was 20 and finishing what would turn out to be my last semester as a college student. After school ended I ventured off to Blue Cliff Monastery in NY to take refuge in sangha. The day I got back from my 10 day retreat I received in the mail the I Ching by Brian Browne Walker I had ordered prior to attending said retreat. I started consulting it immediately and the 7 years that followed have been quite a journey.

 

On my third trip to the monastery I had a crisis of faith as I received an ominous hexagram warning of punishment for teetering on the edge of non-celibacy with inappropriate women, repeated boasting , and generally not heeding the counsel of my newfound oracular friend. I went to a monastic for counsel who was advising me not to consult the I Ching as I wanted to become a monk eventually and in the vinaya there are precepts against divination. My crisis of faith led me to fear and panic.

 

When I finally collected myself and came home I consulted the I Ching. I got the changing line "in the early days your peace of mind will be challenged..." That night I had demonic nightmares and I was traumatized by them. I took refuge at a local Zen center but didn't tell anyone about my nightmares. 

 

The short story of what happened a couple months later is that I essentially stopped sleeping at night for anything more than an hour or two. I'm going to skip over some important details here but what resulted was a brief commitment to a psychiatric ward, what would 6 years later be determined as a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and antipsychotic medication. After this experience I was broken, filled with doubt , and terrified of deviating from the guidance of the I Ching. On top of that the Oracle advised me to stop going to my Zen center and that I had to wait for an indeterminate amount of time before I could seek out a teacher or counselor; Buddhist, Taoist or otherwise

 

6 months after my hospitalization I had a breakthrough: my doubt dissolved and I was (temporarily) filled with profound peace. However I was still terrified of suffering shock for deviating from the guidance of the Oracle.

 

A series of misunderstandings, inner conflict, and the notion that I had to let go of All desire led me to undertake a path of extreme asceticism. My parents thought I was decompensating and had me committed to have my medication increased. I took a very passive approach and continued my reclusive asceticism in the hospital as my body began to lose weight quickly. I eventually added ensure to my diet which first stabilized then helped me regain my weight. I remained committed at the psych ward for a year until it was determined I was no longer a danger to myself. However, when I tried to maneuver my way back home through negotiating with the staff and my family, the Oracle counseled me to wait for a proper solution to present itself. I waited two more years until I was forcibly discharged from the hospital.

 

Its been 3 years since then and my life has gradually but greatly improved. My story ties in with this thread because I was always drawn to the Mahayana and especially am now but feel I am at least currently bound to the non action of a hermit. I have also come to rely on the Deity as referred to in the I Ching for protection and consider my relationship with the Oracle how Tibetans view the student-guru samaya. So I'm confused where to go from here as far as the religious direction of my path.

 

That's my post for now and it was cathartic to share my story :)

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@TranquilTurmoil

 

That’s a huge story, Elliot. Thanks for sharing. You obviously have a strong spiritual calling. From what you write I’d recommend getting out of your head and working at a body level. That means leaving aside for now the path of non-doing and meditation. An excellent way to start would be with a shiatsu treatment from a therapist you feel comfortable with. He or she might recommend developing a practice such as traditional qigong, Tai Chi or yoga.  Working this way, over time you’ll find answers to your questions from places that will be revealed to you.

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2 minutes ago, Yueya said:

@TranquilTurmoil

 

That’s a huge story, Elliot. Thanks for sharing. You obviously have a strong spiritual calling. From what you write I’d recommend getting out of your head and working at a body level. That means leaving aside for now the path of non-doing and meditation. An excellent way to start would be with a shiatsu treatment from a therapist you feel comfortable with. He or she might recommend developing a practice such as traditional qigong, Tai Chi or yoga.  Working this way, over time you’ll find answers to your questions from places that will be revealed to you.

Thanks yueya! I appreciate the feedback. I was doing yoga for the past two years but have put my practice on pause recently. I also practice sitting meditation daily. I have no opposition to your suggestions, but what you should know is that the I Ching leads me, I don't lead the I Ching. I have inner conflicts that I have been waiting years to resolve such as reaching out to my college friends I have desperately missed and seeking out teachers. That's part of the reason I came here to share and seek to figure out what I could expect going forward because I have a very unorthodox path I'd say even by esoteric standards! 

 

Thanks again :)

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Yes, a very unorthodox path. That's why I responded to you because my path, though very different from yours, has also been very unorthodox. Have you considered shiatsu? I recommended it because I found it extremely helpful for grounding my feelings. I've written about it here:

But I know from what you've written that you'll follow your I Ching guidance.  I too have found wise guidance in the I Ching, especially in the earlier years of my practice. I use Cleary's "The Taoist I Ching."

 

You have my good wishes. 

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7 minutes ago, Yueya said:

Yes, a very unorthodox path. That's why I responded to you because my path, though very different from yours, has also been very unorthodox. Have you considered shiatsu? I recommended it because I found it extremely helpful for grounding my feelings. I've written about it here:

But I know from what you've written that you'll follow your I Ching guidance.  I too have found wise guidance in the I Ching, especially in the earlier years of my practice. I use Cleary's "The Taoist I Ching."

 

You have my good wishes. 

I was unfamiliar with shiatsu but it sounds amazing! If I ever get the opportunity to receive it or learn it I 'll take it! I should mention in the course of my asceticism I have had scary health concerns. During my hospitalization I survived on a diet of oatmeal and ensure, consuming what I imagine was less than 32 oz of total fluids a day! My blood pressure was so low that I was put on a steroid for 2 years to raise it as I was unwilling to drink or eat more. This combined with no sunlight, poor nutrition, no exercise and Prolonged sitting caused my bones to slowly deteriorate. I faced the brink a few times through these years and thankfully I made it through and my bones are gradually recovering as I now get sunlight, more fluids , more calories and a couple hours of walking daily. I also read that hearing the frequency of cats purring can have a beneficial effect on the body and my kitty Kat takes good care of me. I'm still not getting the nutrition I need however but hope that situation resolves soon. But any healing methods would be welcome to me. Thanks for your support and suggestions yueya :)

-Elliot

Ps if I remember correctly you are big on Jung right? I am too!

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24 minutes ago, TranquilTurmoil said:

Ps if I remember correctly you are big on Jung right? I am too!

 

Yes. Along with Daoism, Jung has given me my most valued teachings. I suspect he has special appeal for those of us who have ventured too far into darkness. I have gone as near to death as is possible with still surviving.  That experience, many decades ago,  took a terrible toll on my body but gave me profound spiritual insight. I've needed much Daoist based praxis in order to recover. For that, shiatsu, diet and a qi focused style of yoga have helped me enormously.  One of the best aspects of learning shiatsu was working with a small group of like-minded people under a gifted teacher who I felt a great affinity with. If you can find something like that I'd highly recommend it. I found that level of close contact with people is very healing. 

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1 minute ago, Yueya said:

 

Yes. Along with Daoism, Jung has given me my most valued teachings. I suspect he has special appeal for those of us who have ventured too far into darkness. I have gone as near to death as is possible with still surviving.  That experience, many decades ago,  took a terrible toll on my body but gave me profound spiritual insight. I've needed much Daoist based praxis in order to recover. For that, shiatsu, diet and a qi focused style of yoga have helped me enormously.  One of the best aspects of learning shiatsu was working with a small group of like-minded people under a gifted teacher who I felt a great affinity with. If you can find something like that I'd highly recommend it. I found that level of close contact with people is very healing. 

That sounds like what I had found at Blue Cliff Monastery during my first 10 day retreat. It was a profound healing and transformative experience that led me away from the darkness of alienation, nihilism, despair that I felt after I went on a deep introspection journey that led me to spiritual seeking and veganism. For years now I have had a profound yearning for sangha and for all my friends I have left behind. I hope to have that again one day... But my future seems brighter now than ever to me. I really appreciate your responses.

 

-Elliot

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It can be done. Dayan gong is both of Kunlun Taoist as well as Pure land Buddhist.

 

http://www.enveemartialarts.co.uk/qigong.htm

Quote

History

 

Nearly two thousand years ago during the Jin Dynasty (265-420AD), Kunlun Shan, which is a mountain range near Tibet, was home to many Daoists. The monks living there would spend their days studying Daoist teachings, hoping to eventually receive enlightenment and immortality. Kunlun Shan was also home to many wild geese called Da Yan (Big Wild Goose). They were not normal geese as these geese, believed to be the Bar Headed Goose, live twice as long and fly higher than any other geese in the world. The Da Yan became a longevity symbol to the monks who observed these special birds closely. They began to imitate their movements and combine this with Chinese medicine knowledge, eventually forming sets of health exercises known as Dayan Qigong. The Jin Dynasty saw the rapid expansion of both Buddhism and Daoism. One Buddhist monk named Dao An was the translator of many Buddhist texts and connected with the Pure Land (Amitabha) Buddhism particularly. This type of Buddhism concentrated only on chanting the name of Amitabha Buddha so that they might be reborn in his Western Pure Land. The idea of letting go of the mind and body so that enlightenment will happen naturally follows the principles of the Kunlun Dayan Qigong skill. Hence, Dao An was considered the spiritual founder of the skill. 

 

Also more info here

http://www.londonqigong.net/about-kunlun-dayan-qigong/

Quote

Origins of Wild Goose Qigong

Kunlun Shan is a mountain range in Western China, almost on the edges of Tibet and it is here that the Kunlun Dayan Qigong skill was developed during the Jin Dynasty. The skill was developed by Daoist monks who had made this area their home. The monks often observed the wild geese who lived there. Da (Big) Yan (Wild Geese) are considered birds of longevity in China and so they would have been a special animal symbol to a Daoist monk who was cultivating himself to live longer in order that he could achieve immortality. Dayan are also symbols of unity as they always fly together as a flock.

Wild Goose Qigong with Master TseWild Goose Qigong (also called Dayan Qigong) began to be developed based upon the movements that the monks observed in these beautiful birds. They also combined the skill with their knowledge of Chinese medicine theory which included knowledge about the channels and acupoints in the body.  Wild Goose Qigong is the foundation form of this Qigong system but many other forms followed until eventually there were at least 72 forms and methods. Daoism uses a lot of numbers and each number has a special meaning and connection. Some relate to the Yijing (Book of Changes), some to the stars and constellations in the sky and some to the Bagua. There is more information on this in Michael Tse’s Wild Goose Qigong books.

Not all of the Kunlun Dayan Qigong forms are long forms like the Wild Goose Qigong. Some are shorter forms, like Eight Pulling Waist Gong or Seven Star Opening Gong. Some of the skills are different meditations and some are healing skills. In addition, Master Tse has continued to develop other Qigong forms, such as Balancing Gong and Healthy Living Gong, based upon the principles of the Kunlun Dayan System.

 

Daoist Connection

DSC_0150At the time of the Eastern and Western Jin Dynasty (265-420 A.D.) Daoism was also developing. Daoism advocates leading a simple life in harmony with nature. This was also a time of much artistic development, particularly writing, calligraphy and painting. However, it was also a tumultuous time with many wars between countries. With so much of China in upheaval, there came a growing popularity in things of a spiritual nature.

Many Daoist masters went into the mountains to live and develop themselves without the distractions of politics and strife. Some of them joined together and built their own Daoist temples to help them further their studies on how to become one with nature and also develop their skill and pass it down to the next generations. Living in harmony with nature also meant your own internal body should be in balance. Daoists viewed the body as a complete universe in itself and the there is a diagram which shows this.

 

Buddhist Connection

During the Jin Dynasty, there lived a very famous Buddhist monk called Si Dao An. He was responsible for the translation of many Buddhist texts from their original Sanskrit. He travelled to many different places giving lectures, sharing Buddhist knowledge and building temples. Many thousands of temples were built in China during this time.

Whilst Daoism aims for longevity and balance with nature, Buddhism aims for non-attachment and enlightenment. When we practise Wild Goose Qigong, we first need to relax and empty our minds. When we can empty our minds, then we do not need to think about Qi or where it goes and what it does. Everything happens naturally. This emptiness is also one of the goals of Chan Buddhism because when we can let go of our emotional attachments and worries, then wisdom can then develop.  Si Dao An is considered the spiritual founder of Wild Goose Qigong which is related to the Amitabha school of Buddhism.

 
Edited by Immortal4life
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