treebuffalo

What Would a Taoist World Look Like?

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Assume for a minute people are inherently natural animals, with a tendency to stampede each other occasionally. Does it really matter if we understand why it happens? It happens. We live. We die. The Earth remains. Isn't that a Taoist world? Why do we have to define it correctly? Isn't that specifically UN-taoist?

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The general argument is correct, in that the dao is something that cannot be defined in words.  It would be a pointless exercise.  I see it every day around me, however, in the way that the leaves grow on the trees, in the way that the river snakes its way into the sea, in the way that mountain peaks gently erode away overtime into terrifying spires.  Someone called it the dao, so that's what I call it.  While defining the dao may be pointless, it is wrong to conclude that cultivating oneself in the context of the dao is equally pointless.

The definitions are there to help beings live in harmony with the Dao, not as dogma.   They are usually written in words because that's all we understand.  One can follow them or not,  it really does not matter.  To answer the question, the daoist world looks just like the one we live in. 

 

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Well, reading the header, I first thought the OP wishes to discuss what a world in which people generally accept and live according to Daoist principles would look like.

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Strange question indeed! I also thought the question was meant as Michael Sternbach above described. But is that what the OP meant?

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I think we're looking at an attempt in the people on Annares in Ursula LeGuin's "the Disposessed".

 

But it is indeed built into the dao de jing that most will laugh at the path, not follow it, and that a follower of the way is apart from the general run of people.

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The most realistic case to consider would be a commune or small village of Taoists. See chapter 80.

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Posted (edited)

Taoism became the state religion under the reign of the emperor Xuanzong … still considered one of the most prosperous and stable in the history of China and the high point of the Tang Dynasty. 

https://www.worldhistory.org/Taoism/ 

 

In the early half of his reign he was a diligent and astute ruler. … his late reign ending in the An Lushan Rebellion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Xuanzong_of_Tang 

 

 

Edited by Cobie
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Xuanzong, one of numerous emperors who died as a result of daoist " elixir poisoning ".

 

Not Laozi 's best endorsement. 

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10 hours ago, Cobie said:

In the early half of his reign he was a diligent and astute ruler. … his late reign ending in the An Lushan Rebellion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Xuanzong_of_Tang

 

Tried to read it, but I didn't succeed to finish the article as it read like a royal story from a tabloid magazine. Nothing illustrious or Taoist about it. Anyway - Taoism cannot (and should not) be forced on the people in the form of a state religion.

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12 hours ago, Sketch said:

Xuanzong, one of numerous emperors who died as a result of daoist " elixir poisoning ".

 

Not Laozi 's best endorsement. 

What is elixir poisoning?

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What Would a Taoist World Look Like?

On 5/6/2022 at 2:25 PM, treebuffalo said:

Assume for a minute people are inherently natural animals, with a tendency to stampede each other occasionally. Does it really matter if we understand why it happens? It happens. We live. We die. The Earth remains. Isn't that a Taoist world? Why do we have to define it correctly? Isn't that specifically UN-taoist?

 

 

The juxtaposition of the title and OP point to a valuable area of contemplation and personal exploration in Daoism, for me.

It gets to the question of what exactly is in accord with the Way and it is not?

Has anything or anyone ever been a hair's breadth separated from the Way?

Do the classics describe the Way things are or the Way things should be?

What separates those two concepts?

We seem to think there is a particular Way to be that is more Daoist and others that are less so.

There is an inner judgement that suggests we need to be different than what we already always are...

I've heard some imply that the activity of animals and nature in general follow the Way but not that of people, what would that be?

I'm no expert and no scholar, and I have no definitive answers, but I find these sort of questions interesting and stimulating. 

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Sketch said:

… daoist " elixir poisoning ".

Not Laozi 's best endorsement. 
 

 

Did Laozi endorse it ?
 

Is it promoted anywhere in the DDJ ?

 

I read somewhere it was TCM that started the poisoning of people, with putting cinnabar and lead in medicine.

Edited by Cobie

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In the Chuang tzu it's not very clear what a Taoist way of life would be, but in the Tao Te Ching many rules of thumb are given. However most people clearly ignore Lao tzu's rules or just laugh about it. Then there are also the different religious and esoteric forms of Taoism that have their own Taoist paths. So it depends on the kind of Taoism your talking about whether we do or do not follow that particular Tao.

 

As absolute Tao is the foundation of all, one cannot not follow absolute Tao. But that's kind of an empty tautology that doesn't bring one any further. Following Tao in the relative (human) sense can only mean not being stubborn and taking the way the world works (absolute Tao) in account with everything one does. Different forms of Taoism attempt to do the latter in different ways.

 

At least that's my current understanding.

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Posted (edited)

Religious persecution by ‚Äúzealous Taoist‚ÄĚ emperor¬†Wuzong:

 

‚ÄúThe religious persecution reached its height in the year 845 CE, ultimately confiscating the Buddhist temple properties, destroying 4,600 Buddhist temples and 40,000 shrines, and removing 260,500 monks and nuns from the monasteries.[9]¬†Emperor Wuzong's reasons for doing so were not purely economic. A zealous Taoist, Wuzong considered Buddhism a foreign religion that was harmful to Chinese society.‚ÄĚ

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Wuzong_of_Tang 

 

 

Edited by Cobie

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1 hour ago, Cobie said:

 

Did Laozi endorse it ?
 

 

Thought I was clearer.  The external Alchemy that led to both numerous poisonings and ultimately to TCM was not at a point that reflected well on Daoist  thought  during the Tang dynasty, by modern lights.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Sketch said:

…  The external Alchemy that led to … numerous poisonings … was not at a point that reflected well on Daoist  thought  during the Tang dynasty, by modern lights.


Agreed. Thanks for elucidating. : )

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4 minutes ago, Sketch said:

… The external Alchemy that led to … ultimately to TCM …


Oh, I had thought¬†TCM preceded Laozi. Do you mean¬†TCM started with the developing of the ‚Äėinternal‚Äô alchemy?

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Cobie said:


Oh, I had thought¬†TCM preceded Laozi. Do you mean¬†TCM started with the developing of the ‚Äėinternal‚Äô alchemy?

Once more, I'll let Wikipedia explain;

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_alchemy

 

But basically the history 

of medicine in China and of Daoism would be difficult to disentangle. 

Edited by Sketch

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2 hours ago, Cobie said:

Did Laozi endorse it ?

Is it promoted anywhere in the DDJ ?

 

‚Äú‚Ķ Laozi, and¬†Zhang Daoling¬†as well as¬†Zhuangzi. ¬†‚Ķ Although these three are credited with the creation of alchemy, there is no definitive proof to suggest ‚Ķ that they were responsible for its creation.‚ÄĚ
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_alchemy

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Posted (edited)

This also depends on how you define TCM. If you take any form of medicine practiced in ancient China as an early form of TCM then obviously it's extremely old...

 

Edited by wandelaar

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My initial thought / visceral response would be it would be the opposite of Manifest Destiany.

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Personally, I think that alchemy, TCM, and Daoism in general all have their roots in a far older body of wisdom and knowledge; the 'ancient sages' that are mentioned with reverence in some Daoist texts!

 

In a much later time, observations and experiments were conducted in these and related fields, trying to regain the old knowledge based on extant fragments. This didn't always end well, however, as evidenced by those "elixir poisonings" mentioned above... :unsure:

 

A parallel development can be observed in the occident too, where bits and pieces of most ancient alchemical and other knowledge were being expanded on with varying degrees of success. There too, lack of context and general scientific knowledge sometimes resulted in certain... accidents.

 

 

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