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posted on Jan, 18 2003 @ 02:59 PM
"Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river." Lao Tse

"We believe in the formless and eternal Tao, and we recognize all personified deities as being mere human constructs. We reject hatred, intolerance, and unnecessary violence, and embrace harmony, love and learning, as we are taught by Nature. We place our trust and our lives in the Tao, that we may live in peace and balance with the Universe, both in this mortal life and beyond." Creed of the Western Reform Taoist Congregation 1

History of Taoism:
Tao (pronounced "Dow") can be roughly translated into English as path, or the way. It is basically indefinable. It has to be experienced. It "refers to a power which envelops, surrounds and flows through all things, living and non-living. The Tao regulates natural processes and nourishes balance in the Universe. It embodies the harmony of opposites (i.e. there would be no love without hate, no light without dark, no male without female.)" 2

The founder of Taoism is believed by many to be Lao-Tse (604-531 BCE), a contemporary of Confucius. (Alternate spellings: Lao Tze, Lao Tsu, Lao Tzu, Laozi, Laotze, etc.). He was searching for a way that would avoid the constant feudal warfare and other conflicts that disrupted society during his lifetime. The result was his book: Tao-te-Ching (a.k.a. Daodejing). Others believe that he is a mythical character.

Taoism started as a combination of psychology and philosophy but evolved into a religious faith in 440 CE when it was adopted as a state religion. At that time Lao-Tse became popularly venerated as a deity. Taoism, along with Buddhism and Confucianism, became one of the three great religions of China. With the end of the Ch'ing Dynasty in 1911, state support for Taoism ended. Much of the Taoist heritage was destroyed during the next period of warlordism. After the Communist victory in 1949, religious freedom was severely restricted. "The new government put monks to manual labor, confiscated temples, and plundered treasures. Several million monks were reduced to fewer than 50,000" by 1960. 3 During the cultural revolution in China from 1966 to 1976, much of the remaining Taoist heritage was destroyed. Some religious tolerance has been restored under Deng Xiao-ping from 1982 to the present time.

Taoism currently has about 20 million followers, and is primarily centered in Taiwan. About 30,000 Taoists live in North America; 1,720 in Canada (1991 census). Taoism has had a significant impact on North American culture in areas of "acupuncture, herbalism, holistic medicine, meditation and martial arts..." 3

Taoist Beliefs and Practices:
Taoism has provided an alternative to the Confucian tradition in China. The two traditions have coexisted in the country, region and generally within the same individual.

Tao is the first-cause of the universe. It is a force that flows through all life.

Each believer's goal is to become one with the Tao.
The priesthood views the many gods as manifestations of the one Dao, "which could not be represented as an image or a particular thing." The concept of a personified deity is foreign to them, as is the concept of the creation of the universe. Thus, they do not pray as Christians do; there is no God to hear the prayers or to act upon them. They seek answers to life's problems through inner meditation and outer observation.
In contrast with the beliefs and practices of the priesthood, most of the laity have "believed that spirits pervaded nature...The gods in heaven acted like and were treated like the officials in the world of men; worshipping the gods was a kind of rehearsal of attitudes toward secular authorities. On the other hand, the demons and ghosts of hell acted like and were treated like the bullies, outlaws, and threatening strangers in the real world; they were bribed by the people and were ritually arrested by the martial forces of the spirit officials." 3

Time is cyclical, not linear as in Western thinking.
Yin (dark side) is the breath that formed the earth. Yang (light side) is the breath that formed the heavens. They symbolize pairs of opposites which are seen throughout the universe, such as good and evil, light and dark, male and female. Intervention by human civilization upsets the balances of Yin and Yang. The symbol of Taoism, seen at the top of this page, represents Yin and Yang in balance.

"The Tao surrounds everyone and therefore everyone must listen to find enlightenment." 4

Taoists generally have an interest in promoting health and vitality.

Five main organs and orifices of the body correspond to the five parts of the sky: water, fire, wood, metal and earth.
Each person must nurture the Ch'i (air, breath) that has been given to them.

Development of virtue is one's chief task. The Three Jewels to be sought are compassion, moderation and humility.

Taoists follow the art of "wu wei," which is to let nature take its course. For example, one should allow a river to flow towards the sea unimpeded; do not erect a dam which would interfere with its natural flow.

One should plan in advance and consider carefully each action before making it.

A Taoists is kind to other individuals, largely because such an action tends to be reciprocated.

Taoists believe that "people are compassionate by
nature...left to their own devices [they] will show this compassion without expecting a reward." 5

Tai Chi:
There is a long history of involvement by Taoists in various exercise and movement techniques. 5,6 Tai chi in particular works on all parts of the body. It "stimulates the central nervous system, lowers blood pressure, relieves stress and gently tones muscles without strain. It also enhances digestion, elimination of wastes and the circulation of blood. Moreover, tai chi's rhythmic movements massage the internal organs and improve their functionality." Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that illness is caused by blockages or lack of balance in the body's "chi" (intrinsic energy). Tai Chi is believed to balance this energy flow.

Taoist Texts:
These include:

Tao-te-Ching ("The Way of Power," or "The Book of the Way") is believed to have been written by Lao-Tse. It describes the nature of life, the way to peace and how a ruler should lead his life.

Chuang-tzu (named after its author) contains additional teachings.

posted on Jan, 19 2003 @ 04:51 PM
Be still like a river and move like a mountain.

Chew on that one for a while.

posted on Jan, 19 2003 @ 05:34 PM
I'm about 70% Taoist, myself.

I vary in major areas, but incorperate my beliefs into the basic ideals of Taoism. I think that there is more to the universe than saying the Tao "just exists." I incorperate the Tao and God into a single unit of unimaginable greatness. I think of God as a friend and his connection with the universe and myself, and all things for that matter, is explained by visualizing what the Tao is.

I've studied Taoism for the last 4-5 years, or more. I fear that the ideas of Taoism have turned somewhat religious, in most texts. In a non-religious form, I think one's mind is expanded beyond what years of school can provide. My imagination expanded for the first time in many years when I read about Taoism. I technically fit into a category of New Age Christian or something of that sort. Regardless, much of my belief actually comes from the ideas of Lau Tsu.

It was because of his teachings that I came up with statements like the post before this one
. I have no reason to believe that he didn't exist, although, technically he could be a woman and sexist people just made him out to be a man. I keep an open mind
. However, I do not share the views that "one should not dam a river." I believe in technology and progress... growth if you will... as a fundamental aspect of life and creation. Technically, I believe the river may be redirected, or used in other forms. Stopping the river, however, can imbalance nature and nature often fights back.

"Tao is the first-cause of the universe. It is a force that flows through all life. "

This is my view of God.

I'm not sure if I fully, or even partially, grasp the idea of chi. It has never seemed to work for me. There have been moments in my martial arts studies where I did things that were hard to explain... such as leaping like 6 feet at an attacker and kicking him 3 times while still in the air, then landing as if I was on pillows. Because of my belief that God flows through all things, and IS all things, I find that my mind is in a more advanced state than most attackers. I often find myself injuring my attacker because I flow more than they do and their attack becomes fumbled from their lack of fluidity.

Anyhow, I am a Taoist to some extent. I still pronounce it "Touw'ist," for some odd reason.

I'd like to leave you with a concept that perhaps you've never thought of...

Many Christians believe that God created man "ex nihilo," or from "nothing." I believe the exact opposite...

I believe that "in the beginning" there was "Everything," and we were created from that "Everything." There never was a "nothing," because "nothing" doesn't exist (kinda funny how that works
). There is no true "vacuum of space," just like the space between you and your computer is filled with a nearly countless number of particles and molecules and energies. Life isn't the same once you realize that the glass is never half-full or half-empty... it is always completely full, inside and out, as well as its "being" the glass.

This somewhat relates to the teachings of Plato and his concepts of the "forms" and "matter/stuff/material."

Just think on it for a bit... you won't be disappointed with how your brain starts piecing things together.

Now go out and dream and create and live your truly "full" life

--(edited for typos)

[Edited on 19-1-2003 by Protector]

[Edited on 19-1-2003 by Protector]

posted on Jan, 19 2003 @ 07:56 PM
It is said that every oragami is designed to sit upon a lotus flower and not result in its sinking, otherwise it is not oragami.

Back to the Tao

Lao Tse and the Tao
The words of Lao Tse -- literally, the "Old Philosopher", a contemporary of Confucius some 2500 years ago -- as found in the Tao Te Ching, reveal a man of extraordinary awareness. Where Confucius embraced the apparent and developed recommended action for encountered events, that is, a very rational engagement of reality, Lao Tse's approach was quite the opposite.

Lao Tse saw in life a concept he termed the "Tao", often translated as the "Way", and, according to legend, in this short series of poetic pieces, tried to picture this Tao. Effectively he was saying that life had a flow to it, a concerted flow in which events were the currents. The Tao carries you along in a fashion, such that the more you try to logically manipulate events, the more you operate in opposition to the flow, and the more problems you encounter.

His pieces illustrate in many glimpses from various angles, how life works. Few have ever been as perceptive -- the Tao illustrations stand with the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, and recorded remnants from Jesus of Nazareth as the most profoundly clear explanations of life of ancient times. Common concepts emerge from the teaching of all three, with similarities of view that easily pierce the differing modes of expression in the vernacular of each of their times.


But Lao Tse's teaching suffers from one major problem. In the intervening two and a half millennia, his words have been interpreted and distorted by generations of adherents until his message is riddled with meaningless ritual and dogma. Taoism became a religion. Where he spoke of not "doing" things in opposition to the flow, millions of his supposed followers sit in abject meditation, unwilling to "do" anything. They follow, not the crystal point of meaning that Lao Tse wished to communicate, but a literal distortion that a far less wise priesthood through centuries of interpretation, attached to his ancient words.

Life is indeed a Singularity of effect, in which each individual finds a pure reflection of his/her own nature in the events and relationships encountered in everyday life. Planning and manipulating these events, that is, rationally planning and carrying out an action, is the embodiment of struggle and conflict -- values which lead to the continued creation of a personal reality which needs to be manipulated. That Lao Tse was intimately aware of this fundamental essence is certain. That his message is lost on generations of followers who can hear only dogmatized distortions of a profound expression is equally certain.

Unfortunately, pretty much the same fate has met the teachings of the Buddha and Mohammed -- and the words of Jesus as well. It seems that regardless of the profundity of the original words, the message is lost when interpreted and reinterpreted, generation after generation by lesser minds. It becomes buried in ritualized distortions that seem to make sense to those far less wise.

Similar to the Tao illustration, Jesus pictured a "Kingdom of Heaven", a new image of the fundament of things to try to illustrate the beneficent nature of Reality, with a "Heavenly Father" as key figure, to a people used to imagining a vindictive god. But that essence of profound human values is lost in the religions that subsequently sprung up, ostensibly to follow Jesus' teaching. Of far more emphasis are such mythical attributes as virgin birth, resurrection of the physical body, and the tenuous promise of eternal life in return for dedicated following.

Just as Taoists, Christians blatantly miss the point. They look into the cold and ancient words, often translated several times, and devote blind obedience to phrases they don't understand. They should rather look within themselves, for a clear understanding of life is only found in clear perception of the mind and its relation to reality. But, primed from childhood with rote expressions and timeworn stories, coaxed on by an unenlightened priesthood, most people simply follow -- like the sheep they are told they should be.

Taoists fail to realize that when you recognize the flow and come to perceive that you are part of it, you already begin to fit in. Any action taken is a natural part of that flow, and to avoid action is like trying to negate existence. Christians fail to realize that Jesus was a human, just like all of us, and he had a vital message about life. Both groups go awry in following phrases without understanding, in following priests instead of their own hearts.


While the Tao Te Ching is of great value in its life perspectives, you will see Lao Tse's wisdom stated therein at its clearest when you yourself come to see life clearly.

Tao te Ching

posted on Jan, 22 2003 @ 11:35 PM
I like quite a bit of this, but I'm not in the mood to give a real answer... too hyped for typing

go, go, go, go!!!!!
... I'll write more tomorrow when I can collect my thoughts on all of it.

posted on Jan, 22 2003 @ 11:58 PM
That was just a beautiful post. I have always believed that Jesus was one of many prophets whose words were lost in subsequent translations. There are kernels of truth to be found in the teachings of all the great ones. If people would drop the blind faith their religions shove down their throats and simply look within. There they would find the answers. Not that I've found them but I'm definately on the path. thanks so much for your reaffirmation.

[Edited on 1-23-2003 by Aministorial]

posted on Jan, 23 2003 @ 01:29 AM
The world is one GREAT Potatoe, and you are all spuds...and I am the peeler.

*hums and rocks back and forth in a trance*

no signature

posted on Jan, 29 2003 @ 10:09 PM

Without going outside you may know the whole world.
Without looking through the window, you may know
the Heavens.

Tau Te Ching
Lao Tzu, sixth century B.C.

I don't know FM not really sure your cutting
the mustard

posted on Jan, 30 2003 @ 10:54 AM
Wasn't very a-peeling to me, either.

posted on Feb, 12 2004 @ 10:04 PM
I find Taoism to be an excellent piece of spirituality. I have been interested in this Tao for a while now and I find truths in it that do reflect my reality.

It truly helps myself to be more peaceful.

posted on Feb, 12 2004 @ 11:14 PM
Its the closest thing I have to a belief system

I don't follow anything, but if I did.. this would be it.

posted on Feb, 19 2004 @ 03:22 PM
Wow, i'd never even heard of Taoism before I read this post. I actually already believed in alot of the things in it but there is more. How cool!

posted on Feb, 23 2004 @ 09:31 AM
Taoism affects a lot of my views and beliefs, along with many others. It's quite a wonderful philosophy, in my opinion.

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