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So Buddhism has the concept of no-self, Hinduism has the concept of atman, Christianity has the notion of soul. What is the Taoist idea in regards to the "self" or the lack there of? 

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Taoism views true self as the process of harmonious interactions, on all levels of being, between the body, mind, spirit, and nature.  Authentic harmonious self of the human being is thought of as our lost primal, original state -- lost to legal, social, political, ideological  artifices and restrictions.  In other words, it is thought of as lost to harmony and freedom on all levels of its existence and beset by artificial abnormalities that go against its true nature, thwarting it in a myriad ways.  So original authentic taoism seeks to rectify this situation on the individual level via a conscious choice of methods and processes known as self-cultivation.  Cultivation of the true self or original human nature is, primarily, a healing process, aimed at mending the wounds which the wrongful appropriation of self by artificial forces (resulting in a "false self") has inflicted and restoring the original harmony.  

 

Personally, I find this understanding of self and of "what to do about it" true, beautiful, noble, and scientifically accurate (from the point of view of true science of being of course, not of its false disharmonious manifestations born of false disharmonious selves.)  

Edited by Taomeow
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36 minutes ago, Taomeow said:

Taoism views true self as the process of harmonious interactions, on all levels of being, between the body, mind, spirit, and nature.  Authentic harmonious self of the human being is thought of as our lost primal, original state -- lost to legal, social, political, ideological  artifices and restrictions.  In other words, it is thought of as lost to harmony and freedom on all levels of its existence and beset by artificial abnormalities that go against its true nature, thwarting it in a myriad ways.  So original authentic taoism seeks to rectify this situation on the individual level via a conscious choice of methods and processes known as self-cultivation.  Cultivation of the true self or original human nature is, primarily, a healing process, aimed at mending the wounds which the wrongful appropriation of self by artificial forces (resulting in a "false self") has inflicted and restoring the original harmony.  

 

Personally, I find this understanding of self and of "what to do about it" true, beautiful, noble, and scientifically accurate (from the point of view of true science of being of course, not of its false disharmonious manifestations born of false disharmonious selves.)  

 

Thank you that's a really good answer. Do you know what this original true self is? or is considered?

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4 hours ago, dmattwads said:

 

Thank you that's a really good answer. Do you know what this original true self is? or is considered?

 

There's many things taoists believe about the true self, a lot of theory too (which may differ from school to school), and a lot of special terms.  But ultimately there's an agreement that it is experiential, and the experience is of a kind of interplay between the changing and the unchanged, the created and the uncreated, opening-closing, movement-stillness, wuji-taiji, Xiantian and Houtian, form/substance and no form/no substance, being/nonbeing, manifesting/the unmanifest, individual/universal, and so on.  Also, it is an interplay of the  energies of the world -- an all-encompassing power equal to the power of creation, of nature, of tao itself.  Definitely worth the supreme effort of cultivating, in other words.  But even those who cultivate for millions of years (like the Jade Emperor) might "only" take the status of their self as far as that of the supreme deity in charge of the universe -- there's always room for growth.  :)

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28 minutes ago, Taomeow said:

 

There's many things taoists believe about the true self, a lot of theory too (which may differ from school to school), and a lot of special terms.  But ultimately there's an agreement that it is experiential, and the experience is of a kind of interplay between the changing and the unchanged, the created and the uncreated, opening-closing, movement-stillness, wuji-taiji, Xiantian and Houtian, form/substance and no form/no substance, being/nonbeing, manifesting/the unmanifest, individual/universal, and so on.  Also, it is an interplay of the  energies of the world -- an all-encompassing power equal to the power of creation, of nature, of tao itself.  Definitely worth the supreme effort of cultivating, in other words.  But even those who cultivate for millions of years (like the Jade Emperor) might "only" take the status of their self as far as that of the supreme deity in charge of the universe -- there's always room for growth.  :)

 

What exactly is meant by "status of their self"?

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11 hours ago, skyblue said:

 

What exactly is meant by "status of their self"?

 

What it can be identified with, what it is equal to at a given moment.  

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12 hours ago, Taomeow said:

 

There's many things taoists believe about the true self, a lot of theory too (which may differ from school to school), and a lot of special terms.  But ultimately there's an agreement that it is experiential, and the experience is of a kind of interplay between the changing and the unchanged, the created and the uncreated, opening-closing, movement-stillness, wuji-taiji, Xiantian and Houtian, form/substance and no form/no substance, being/nonbeing, manifesting/the unmanifest, individual/universal, and so on.  

 

I love the idea of interplay between the different levels of reality.¬† To me, it¬īs reminiscent of the Kabbalistic idea of "running and returning," that there¬īs a necessary back-and-forth between God and the world, or, to put it another way, absolute and relative levels of existence.¬† This idea of a return ticket -- fluidly traveling between realms -- strikes me as emblematic of Taoism and kinda special.¬† So many spiritual paths fixate on a one-way journey to nondualism.¬† Much better, I think, to bring a little bit of heaven back to earth.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Taomeow said:

Taoism views true self as the process of harmonious interactions, on all levels of being, between the body, mind, spirit, and nature.  Authentic harmonious self of the human being is thought of as our lost primal, original state -- lost to legal, social, political, ideological  artifices and restrictions.  In other words, it is thought of as lost to harmony and freedom on all levels of its existence and beset by artificial abnormalities that go against its true nature, thwarting it in a myriad ways.  So original authentic taoism seeks to rectify this situation on the individual level via a conscious choice of methods and processes known as self-cultivation.  Cultivation of the true self or original human nature is, primarily, a healing process, aimed at mending the wounds which the wrongful appropriation of self by artificial forces (resulting in a "false self") has inflicted and restoring the original harmony.  

 

Personally, I find this understanding of self and of "what to do about it" true, beautiful, noble, and scientifically accurate (from the point of view of true science of being of course, not of its false disharmonious manifestations born of false disharmonious selves.)  

In your understanding, do you think of this self-cultivation as a process of building up to something hitherto un(der)developed, or is it more an uncovering of the core of our being?

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1 hour ago, dwai said:

In your understanding, do you think of this self-cultivation as a process of building up to something hitherto un(der)developed, or is it more an uncovering of the core of our being?

 

I think it's both.  The notion I like is co-creation. 

 

The analogy I like is learning to speak and understand speech.  The language already exists, it is what it is -- English or French or Hindi.  Your human brain also exists, it is what it is, a field of potentials you are born with.  Your physical tongue, likewise, exists, you didn't have to invent it from scratch.  What you do have to accomplish though is put them together, co-creating meaningful expression understood by your universe.  In a couple years you can tell the universe, in the language your brain, your tongue and your circumstances have co-created, "I want some ice cream."   

 

A benevolent universe will understand, and might deliver.  Or it may decide not to give you any ice cream, for whatever reason.  So then you might want to start reshaping either yourself (toward not wanting any ice cream anymore, or toward expressing your desire for ice cream more eloquently and convincingly, or toward being able to procure it for yourself without anyone's permission), or the universe (toward withdrawing its objections -- you can plead or throw a tantrum or appeal to its kindness or point out that its resources are being unfairly distributed...  whatever works), or both (you decide to not want any ice cream anymore, the universe decides to offer, you decide to reject), or neither (you still want it, the universe still won't give it, you both remain stuck in this state indefinitely). 

 

Analogies are limited of course, but I think it's somewhat similar with "the core of our being."  It exists -- if we discover it exists and establish rapport and do something meaningful together.  Or it doesn't -- if we haven't invented ice cream yet, or speech, or a brain.  :D  Not even that it "doesn't exist," but it exists on some other species' terms.  Who knows what the core being of the flower called Paris Japonica is like?  All we know is the size of its genome, the largest discovered to date -- 147 billion pairs.  Our human genome is 3 billion pairs.  Does it mean something?  I'm pretty sure it does, but no one knows what exactly because we aren't smart enough to co-create a common language with that little flower whose complexity exceeds our own by orders of magnitude, all the while looking as ultimate simplicity. :) 

 

Paris japonica - Wikipedia

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2 hours ago, Taomeow said:

The analogy I like is learning to speak and understand speech.  The language already exists, it is what it is -- English or French or Hindi.  Your human brain also exists, it is what it is, a field of potentials you are born with.  Your physical tongue, likewise, exists, you didn't have to invent it from scratch.  What you do have to accomplish though is put them together, co-creating meaningful expression understood by your universe.  In a couple years you can tell the universe, in the language your brain, your tongue and your circumstances have co-created, "I want some ice cream."   

This is very succinct and most insightful. 
But there are provisions for different levels of knowledge, action (non-action) - one in the mundane state and another in a transcendental state (Dao as mystery, ineffable, etc).  

 

What is your sense about how the two inter-operate towards the co-creation? 
 

I look at Dao being like¬†space (emptiness). So is the co-creation then more about learning how to ‚Äúoperate‚ÄĚ in this space? Or is it something more substantive/substantial than that?¬†
 

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