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terry

taoism and sufism

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10 hours ago, damdao said:

Do you include Shah's writtings under others pennames like Arkon Daraul, Rafael Lefort, Omar Burke, Laura (I don't remeber the last name, it was about secret societies).... and the anonymous study material of his groups? 

I like the classics the way of the sufi, tales from the dervishes, knowing how to learn, knowing how to know, etc.

I found, though, a little distubing his earlier books and translations on magick and wicca.

 

   I read his novel about afghanistan. The sufis books and some of the study material. No I am not a devotee. I didn't find his actual lectures all that inspiring. He was a collector of study materials and a promoter. And he had a sense of humor.

 

   

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10 hours ago, Zhongyongdaoist said:

 

I am in complete disagreement with the notion that "Daoism is a religion"

 

what elements would qualify a religion in your opinion?

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9 hours ago, Zhongyongdaoist said:

I need to preface this post by saying that I am a very busy person and can't see spending the time needed to make long contributions to this topic at this time.  I have spent sometime since its appearance thinking about it, reviewing some aspects of previous research and wondering how I might be able to contribute to it.  Here is the first thing that I wanted to add:

 

 

Since this is the "classic" in the field, then this link to a downloadable PdF would seem to be in order:


Toshihiko Izutsu Sufism And Taoism

 

I have not had time to read all of this, though i do have some ideas about its proper use and potential abuse, but i will have to do more reading to see if my first impressions are accurate.

 

As for this:

 

 

I am in complete disagreement with the notion that "Daoism is a religion".  As far as I am concerned as a practitioner of what is usually referred to as "Relitigous Daoism", that it is a complete misnomer to call it such foisted on it by Western scholars of "religions", that it would be more properly referred ti as "Ritual Daoism" and its structure would be better modeled by something like Freemasonry.  Basically Ritual Daosim was developed by Fangshi for Fangshi, as a combination of professional guild and teaching hall and has nothing to do with the "worship" of gods in the sense of a grovelling submission to such beings motivated by threats of punishment and promises of rewards for such behavior.  It's all about learning and practicing magic, which involves a great deal of time and study as anyone who has read and studied the works of Professor Jerry Alan Johnson can amply justify.

 

This is all I have time for today, and all that I can say is that I will try to respond to any comments in a timely fashion, but I cannot guarantee that what I consider to be a timely fashion will be the same as yours.

 

As for what I might like to see here, these would be of interest to me:

 

 

Zhonyongdaoist

usually ZYD for short

 

 

   I'm looking forward to when you have the time to peruse izutsu's book. It took me a long time to read and contains many delights. The discussion of sufism explores ibn arabi's views in depth. The section on taoism is heavily deistic and points up the centrality of divinity to taoism (in contradistinction to those chinese speaking taoists who believe their culture never taught them about god).

 

   Not sure how far into filosofeh you want to go but a few broad strokes might be in order.

 

   The arabs preserved the greek classics of plato, aristotle and plotinus through the middle ages,  Al-farabi translated and wrote extensive commentaries, conforming greek ideas with muslim theology. Avicenna, ibn arabi and averroes developed philosophies based on these works. Al-ghazali criticized the aristotelians for unbelief and averroes responded to the criticism. Since the works themselves predated islam, one may say that sufism has its roots in greek philosophy and in particular the neo-platonism of plotinus, whose theory of emanations featured largely in al-farabi's work and deeply influenced sufis like ibn arabi.

 

   Avicenna extended al-farabi's work on aristotelianism (platonism was often conflated). Aristotle was concerned with being qua being in ways that were understood by the early muslim philosophers but then buried and forgotten by the western scholastics who superseded them. The west only rediscovered the depth of aristotle's vision with brentano-husserl-heidegger and phenomenology.

 

   There was a high water mark in arabic philsophy around the time of averroes. Averroism believed that there was a universal intellect that all humans participated in, a very neo-platonist idea and reminiscent of plotinus. This was rejected by thomas aquinas and the west went a very different way, affirming the reality of the individual ego and subject object perception.

 

   In averroism the indvidual mind is a node of the one mind, like the internet is composed of individual computers. The computers share a language and basic operating system. The individual is created as such by the network, the collectivity. Without a comprehensive language essentially understood by all there would be no communication, no network, and no individuals as such. Each individual mind only exists as a feature of the network. We are all one.

 

   This hardly scratches the surface. If you have a particular interest we could open a thread about that. Ismailism? Where would we put the thread?

 

terry

 

   

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, terry said:

 

I don't agree with either of these statements. The contraries are closer to true.

 

Why?

Daoism is a traditional chinese religion, while sufism is a particularly fervent approach to spirituality in Islam.

 

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1 hour ago, Cheshire Cat said:

 

Why?

Daoism is a traditional chinese religion, while sufism is a particularly fervent approach to spirituality in Islam.

 

 

 

   Daoists don't worship god and sufis do.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Zhongyongdaoist said:

 

 

 

Since this is the "classic" in the field, then this link to a downloadable PdF would seem to be in order:


Toshihiko Izutsu Sufism And Taoism

 

 

Thanks for posting this.

 

   Not just a classic,  bra, a landmark that stands alone.

 

I'd love to find another like it. Perhaps something new? With 8 billion humans someone should know something. A thesis perhaps.

 

 

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47 minutes ago, terry said:

 

 

   Daoists don't worship god and sufis do.

 

 

 

from the tao te ching:

 

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.

 

 

from the quran

 

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

 

 

   The declaration of faith, "there is no god but god" is senseless to a taoist. The tao, the void, nirvana are all negative theology, which is also important to filosofeh. Also to sufism in the abstract but sufism is a religion of the heart, a religion of love and sufis are happy to worship god and abnegate self. Enthusiastically, ecstatically, actively.

 

   Taoism is a correction to the masculinity and activity of confucianism, itself also not a religion of divine worship (nor is buddhism). Taoism is a yin response to the overactivity of the well meaning souls who pave the road to hell with their intentions. Worshipping the masculine god (aka "emperor of heaven") and of course his representatives on earth is subverted by taoism, though they share with confucians a touching belief in the goodness of humanity.

 

   Religion west and east has been distorted by being deliberately created and deployed by empires. Empires love the divine right of rule. Both sufism and taoism were subversive influences, preserving truth from coerced convention. The leaven in the bread of their respective cultures.

 

   Power is itself a lie. God alone is great, or greatness has no meaning. Those who seek and attempt to use power depend on lies, and lies depend on truth, or there would be nothing to lie about. Truth, on the other hand, does not depend on lies. Truth does not depend on the world of generation and corruption, the world of birth and death. Creating a martyr only underscores truth. 

 

   Sufis love martyrdom. Islam creates martyrs.Taoists avoid praise and blame equally. Confucians want to be free of blame. These are mutual dependencies.

 

   Taoists and sufis raise a glass to their sober brethren and invite them to lighten up.

 

   

 

 

 

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this quote about a sufi poet might resonate with daoists

 

 


Excerpt From: Haleh Pourafzal. “Haféz.”

 


Were we to paraphrase Haféz in English, the condensed wisdom of the poet’s writings would read something like this:

 

   If you yearn for inner peace and want to know love, if you wish to be a spiritual seeker like me, you can search for your personal treasure through ecstatic intoxication.

 

   I give you my thoughts at the entrance to this tavern of intoxication. Taste them as a first sip of spiritual wine.

 

   This pathway to inner peace is at odds with two deadly enemies: hypocrisy and profanity. Hypocrisy is the way of established order as it seeks to protect and prolong itself at all costs. Profanity is the mindless waste of those who react destructively to established order.

 

   At the same time, ecstasy demands that you seek ultimate pleasure. But be aware. If the pleasure embodies either hypocrisy or profanity, you will be at war with yourself.

 

   The weapons for this war and the openings to this pleasure are all within you. You must find them in your intoxication and then use them in the material world. Such application requires constant attunement with your inner core, acting on direct instinct, and deep laughter that unties the knots of emotion.

 

   If you are truly journeying to love, your final goal must be only one thing: perceiving and expressing truth.

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4 hours ago, Cheshire Cat said:

what elements would qualify a religion in your opinion?

 

2 hours ago, terry said:
14 hours ago, Zhongyongdaoist said:

 

 

Since this is the "classic" in the field, then this link to a downloadable PdF would seem to be in order:


Toshihiko Izutsu Sufism And Taoism

 

 

Thanks for posting this.

 

You're Welcome.

 

Thank you both for you posts.  This weekend and through midweek will be very busy for me  and i will not be able to give much serious thought to the issues raised much less organize a response until later in the week or next weekend.  I have managed to squeeze in Izutxu's preface, which clarified the background of the book in a very useful way.

 

ZYD

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11 hours ago, terry said:

 

 

   Daoists don't worship god and sufis do.

 

 

 

A religion doesn't need to be monotheistic to qualify as a religion.

... and sufis worship God because they're muslim and not because they're dervishes. Although they are rare, there are sufi orders in which it's not mandatory to be muslim (for example,  Azeemia).

 

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the following poem and commentary from: Haleh Pourafzal. “Haféz.”

 


IN NEITHER OCEAN

 

Go away preacher—What’s all this commotion?
It’s my heart hurting and you have no notion.

 

My human balance God crafted from air is
a point so fine it’s erased by emotion.

 

‘Til beloved’s lips satisfy my desire,
the whole world’s advice is babble in motion.

 

Your servant cannot travel two paths at once;
the prey in your net swims in neither ocean.

 

Though intoxication has shattered my life,
the seeds of truth arise from that implosion.

 

O heart, don’t groan from beloved’s cruelty,
for now you know the sad song of devotion.

 

Haféz, don’t weave tales, don’t entice seduction;
I know all the spins and spells of your potion.

 

 

In these seven verses, Haféz tells a story set in his unique worldview: a noisy preacher who has no clue, a fragile peace of mind blown away by emotion, obsession with the beloved at the expense of blocking out common sense, the inability to choose between the paths leading to the sacred and profane worlds, a new truth emerging from a shattered dream, a lesson learned from direct experience, and, finally, the biluminous teasing of the poet himself for all his “spins and spells” of levels and meanings. The shattered nature of life from the implosion of intoxication is an oft-repeated theme. This shattering is the disintegration that occurs when we embody the brightness of the divine. Because it is overwhelming compared with our limited experiences, the shattering in turn magnifies the desire for more sustained direct experiences of divine unity. That desire becomes the mystic’s lifelong quest.

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On 8/6/2022 at 6:24 AM, Cheshire Cat said:

 

A religion doesn't need to be monotheistic to qualify as a religion.

... and sufis worship God because they're muslim and not because they're dervishes. Although they are rare, there are sufi orders in which it's not mandatory to be muslim (for example,  Azeemia).

 

 

 

A religion is theistic, not to split hairs.

 

Sufis worship god because they love god.

 

 

 

from TRAVELLING THE PATH OF LOVE
SAYINGS OF SUFI M AS TERS
EDITED BY LLEWELLYN VAUGHAN-LEE

 

Sufism is a mystical path of love. It emerged in the Muslim world in the eighth century in small groups of seekers who were known as “Wayfarers on the Mystical Path.” In their deep passion and longing for God they realized Truth as “The Beloved,” and therefore also became known as “The Lovers of God.” Later they were called Sufis, possibly referring to their white woolen garments (Sûf ), or as an indication of their purity of heart (Safâ’ ). These small groups gathered around spiritual teachers and, in time, matured into fraternities and orders, with each order bearing the name of its initiator.
 

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7 hours ago, terry said:

A religion is theistic, not to split hairs.

 

... and sufism is not a religion. Just like the dominican order in the catholic church isn't a religion. 

Daoism is a religion. 

 

<_<

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   You know, cat, I'm a leo (huge toothy feline yawn).

 

 

   People occasionally ask me if I am religious, and I respond, no but I'm spiritual. There is a vertical dimension, do you see? Whether taoists sufis jesuits or freemasons are religions or not all are spiritual and that is the focus here.

 

  So what does "spiritual" even mean? In the vertical dimension there are body, soul and spirit. The conventional path is to climb, to become free of blame. The mystic - in this case, heraclitus - says "the way up and the way down are one and the same." 

 

 

   Continuing with broad strokes:

 

  The conventional, western notion of so-called arab philosophy (written in arabic as a philosophic lingua franca, like latin, and originally primarily in syriac and persian) is that its golden age ended with averroes. There was a turn in western thought from subtlety and mysticism to materialism and rationalism. Alchemy became more about making gold than about making spiritual gold.

 

   The scholastics in the popular mind were obsessed with such ideas as how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. The notion of circle after circle of choruses of angels was ridiculed and that echoes down to this day. But the angels were their higher aspirations.

 

   Up through avicenna the greek tendency to personify spiritual principles and to seek higher states of being was harmonized with religion. The aim of the aristotelian "arab" philosophers was to prove the truth of revelation, to equate the angel of intellect with angel of spiritual insight. They thought plotinus' enneads were written by plato, and like plotinus they saw a path lit by realms of "angels" that led stepwise from incarnation to spiritual freedom dissolved in god, a god beyond conception. Averroes, aquinas, bacon led the way to philosophies supporting the modern humanist view that man is primary and god his copilot. Avicennism remained a powerful influence in islam and underpinned sufi ideas of spiritual advancement.

 

   God, the hadith tells us, speaks to us only from behind a veil (hijab). Or by an angel, known as the pen, for the angel writes directly on one's heart. The mystic, bowed and bloody from trying to penetrate the veil, seeks the help of angels to thin it, so as to let in more and more light.

 

   In arab philosophy there is the alchemy of jabir ibn hayyan and in the west boehme etc. Newton was heavily involved in these vertical spiritual concerns as was leibniz. Their calcuii remained as cornerstones and their mysticism is forgotten. The whole turn of the west was to practical concerns, extractive self-aggrandizement that has characterized mainstream world culture every since. Philosophies that didn't support the "truth" of science, to support technology, to support maximum exploitation of resources, were marginalized. Thus the technical abilities of humanity expanded at the expense of spiritual and moral development. And while islam is still a vibrant religion, the religions of the west have dried up spiritually. This is setting aside the influence of capitalism, not to mention communism, on the religions of china.

 

   Negative theology survived the demise of angelology, and thus we have the christian mystics, notably john of the cross. A remnant of angelology remains in the eastern church with its icons.  Meister eckhart is a towering figure among mystics.

 

   What I'm trying to get at is this realm of the soul betwixt heaven and earth, the light which makes it through the veil. Where reason cannot go, a realm where the objects of every day life are symbols and reference points in a higher reality, one of mind soul spirit beyond generation corruption, beyond life and death. A realm in which there are many persons, principalities and powers, many heavens, many angels, hells and demons too. This imaginal world has been explored and described in poetry song story and sermon. It has no practical value whatever! and so you can't get it from amazon or search for it on google, talk about it on facebook or connect to it with your phone.

 

   One only needs a prayer carpet or cushion and some stored water.

 

terry

 

 

   

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Our journey had advanced;
Our feet were almost come
To that odd fork in Being's road,
Eternity by term. Our pace took sudden awe,
Our feet reluctant led.


Before were cities, but between,
The forest of the dead. Retreat was out of hope,—
Behind, a sealed route,
Eternity's white flag before,
And God at every gate.

 

Emily Dickinson

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Excerpt From: Coleman Barks. “The Essential Rumi.” 

 


WEAN YOURSELF

 

Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.
From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

 

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheatfields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

 

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.”

 

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.
       Listen to the answer.

 

There is no “other world.”
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating.

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rumi, op cit

 

 

Think of how PHENOMENA come trooping
out of the desert of non-existence
into this materiality.
       Morning and night,
they arrive in a long line and take over
from each other, “It’s my turn now. Get out!”
A son comes of age, and the father packs up.
This place of phenomena is a wide exchange
of highways, with everything going all sorts
of different ways.
       We seem to be sitting still,
but we’re actually moving, and the fantasies
of phenomena are sliding through us
like ideas through curtains.
       They go to the well
of deep love inside each of us.
They fill their jars there, and they leave.

 

There is a source they come from,
and a fountain inside here.
          Be generous.
Be grateful. Confess when you’re not.

We can’t know
what the divine intelligence
has in mind!

 

Who am I,
standing in the midst of this
thought-traffic?

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Excerpt From: Tom Cheetham. “All the World an Icon.” 


Opposing all reductionisms that attempt to explain texts, or persons or things by accounting for their material, social, and historical causes, Corbin places the person at the center of his ontology. Events in the world are the attributes, and express the modes of being, of the persons who enact them. Our understanding of purportedly “objective facts” expresses a mode of our being. His claim is uncompromising: the individual is the first and final reality. And persons are “linguistic beings” through and through—we are our Voices. This is why hermeneutics provides the primary metaphor for Understanding. 

 

Events, or acts of understanding, are the actions of a subject expressed as a verb, the reality of which derives from the person who conjugates it.

 

For Corbin the person “can neither be deduced nor explained.” He writes,

 

For us, the first and last fact, the initial and final event, are precisely these persons, without whom there could never be anything that we call “event.” Hence we must reverse the perspectives of the usual optics, substitute the hermeneutics of the human individual for the pseudodialectic of facts, which today is accepted, everywhere and by every one, as objective evidence.… Hermeneutics as science of the individual stands in opposition to historical dialectics as alienation of the person.

 

This reversal of perspective has its exact analogue in the difference between a picture and an icon. In the space of a Renaissance painting the lines of perspective disappear into infinity. This is the infinite public space in which external, objective reality “takes place.” A drama with a meaning common to all can appear. An icon is an object of a different order altogether. It is not a “picture,” and the “space” is not behind the plane of the panel. It is a dialogical reality, and the lines of perspective converge on the person engaged in dialogue with the reality of the symbol displayed.

 

By granting “all reality to facts” we have “let ourselves be trapped in the system of unrealities that we have ourselves constructed and whose weight in turn falls on us in the form of history.” If we can reclaim the idea of the “real subject,” then we cannot be seduced by the nihilism of a determinism that reduces us to nothing but the effect of causes that have “passed away.” Such a nihilism makes of us the transient, ephemeral “results of events that are gone forever, and were themselves just as transient and ephemeral. But Corbin’s hermeneutics of personal language reminds us that past and future are always expressed by verbs conjugated by a subject for whom the only time is the present. They are therefore dimensions of that person: “for it depends upon him, on the scope of his intelligence and the largeness of his heart, to embrace the whole of life … [and] totalize in himself all worlds” in the dimension of his present.


 


 

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“Idolatry consists in immobilizing oneself before an idol because one sees it as opaque, because one is incapable of discerning in it the hidden invitation that it offers to go beyond it. Hence, the opposite of idolatry would not consist in breaking idols, in practicing a fierce iconoclasm aimed against every inner or external Image; it would rather consist in rendering the idol transparent to the light invested in it. In short, it means transmuting the idol into an icon.”

 

henry corbin

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