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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Daoism, discussion and translation

Here is a basic definition of Daoism:

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.)"

You will notice in this definition the huge reference to Dao's almost cliche symbol, the Yin-Yang.

Anyway, as it says about, the Dao is almost indefinable...so that leaves much translation from believer to believer. As I explained in that other thread, my translation of such order would be physical law, relativity, circumstance, etc... Again, a very Westernized view of it all.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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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.

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

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.

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."

I found this summary online, and it seems to be fairly accurate. Of course, again, there is much room for translation.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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And here is a more full explanation of the Yin-Yang:

This is a well known Taoist symbol. "It represents the balance of opposites in the universe. When they are equally present, all is calm. When one is outweighed by the other, there is confusion and disarray." One source explains that it was derived from astronomical observations which recorded the shadow of the sun throughout a full year. The two swirling shapes inside the symbol give the impression of change -- the only constant factor in the universe. One tradition states that Yin (or Ying; the dark side) represents the breath that formed the earth. Yang (the light side) symbolizes the breath that formed the heavens. "The most traditional view is that 'yin' represents aspects of the feminine: being soft, cool, calm, introspective, and healing... and "yang" the masculine: being hard, hot, energetic, moving, and sometimes aggressive. Another view has the 'yin' representing night and 'yang' day. However, since nothing in nature is purely black or purely white, the symbol includes a small black spot in the white swirl, and a corresponding white spot in the black swirl.

Ultimately, the 'yin' and 'yang' can symbolize any two opposing forces in nature. Taosts believe that humans intervene in nature and upset the balance of Yin and Yang.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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If you observe some of the ancient Chinese Daoist art, you will recognize a recuring "Yin-Yang" theme. Often on the scrolled landscapes you can see an aparent force/color of nature and the trees and then it's counterpart force/color of the land and the mountains.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 04:18 PM
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Explain this "Circle of Life" thing you were talking about. Correct me if I am wrong but is it something like if you were to come across a dead animal and watched it over the next several weeks that first you may see large scavengers that crush and digest bones. Then you may see smaller insects to help finish the job. The excrement from these animals and insects would then inturn fertilize the soil which will cause plants to grow in and around the animal. Then the ground will begin to and finally cover the animal. Sortof like through your death you allow other animals and plants to live on. Or is there more to it than this?
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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You pretty much hit it. I believe when you die...that's it, your dead.

But your death is not purely a morose and taking experience. Through your death you fuel and give to other life.

In this you see the balance of Yin and Yang. You must have death to have life.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by exlude
You pretty much hit it. I believe when you die...that's it, your dead.

But your death is not purely a morose and taking experience. Through your death you fuel and give to other life.

In this you see the balance of Yin and Yang. You must have death to have life.
If this is all there is to life and then you die, what drives you to do good. Would it not be more fun to just do as you please without regard to the consequences (as long as no one else was hurt), after all there is nothing to look forward to as far as an ofterlife goes.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Notice the bottom two bullets at the bottom of "Taoist Beliefs and Practices".

It makes me feel good, knowing that I did good for someone/something else. I also believe that if we could all do more good, the world would be more fun/good for all of us. (Simple enough) I believe that humans are good and nuturing creatures by nature, but also through society-mindset we have bastardized ourselves. Nature is inherently productive, we humans in our more natural state were productive, but now humans are corroding the productivity of nature.

Now many Christians would say that I want to do good because of God's influence, because of his grace. But I disagree. In today's science we have learned certain creatures act certain ways based on how their brain developed. Human brain developed in such a way to be compassionate and good. Now, I don't have all the answers (I am human after all) so I cannot name which part of the brain does what (most of that is theory anyway) but from this example you see my general answers are behind science.

I once had someone on this board critize myself and other atheists screaming, "If you don't believe in an afterlife, what good do you have to live for? Why don't you go fuck your sister, and kill your neighbor [yadda yadda yadda]?"

Anyway, I simply told him: If the only reason you are motivated toward doing good is to pass some final judgement, you will fail it miserably.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 05:25 PM
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That is honorable that you do good because you feel good about helping others. I also feel good about helping others, I do it bacause I want to and I feel it is the right thing to do and I also do it to please God, but I believe that man is evil by nature. Just wanted to point out a couple areas we differ.

If everything is in equal balance then does it really matter how much good you do since there will always be an equal amount of evil to balance it out? The world will never get any better, right?
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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First, notice that Dao exists universally, not just in our world. So, I will be greedy and be happier here and let destruction go on elsewhere (although that does not seem to be the real case, lol).

But anyway, truth is that the true balance no longer exists. And who knows if it will again. It's the more cognitive (and greedy) beings that tend to throw off the balance. I do not believe we are balanced, but I believe the universe is most calm when we are closer to this balance.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 05:40 PM
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You said that since you are human you are capable of making mistakes and being wrong. What if you are wrong about this, what then, what will happen?
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Whose to say? If I am wrong...so be it, that's a risk I take even being cognitive.

I could ask myself the same questions if I were Christian, and be stuck in the same rut.

I believe myself to be a good person, so by some people's account I could still get into heaven. (If that were to be the true case.)

Or maybe all of us will be eternally damned, while those who worship Allah live the high (after)life.

It's a CRAPPY circumstance, and trust me, I HATE not knowing, but...that's life for ya'. lol

Last edited by Monsoon X; 04-19-2004 at 06:13 AM.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 06:29 PM
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Well, I think that if you look at things from a logical standpoint, please dont take this the wrong way, that a person who is a christian is better prepared for the afterlife (assuming there is one) then someone who just believes what goes around comes around. I have a very analytical mind and I look at things for a long time before I come to a conclusion. Christianity isn't something that I just woke up one day and said I was going to believe, I thought and prayed about it for a long time.

Lets say your right in your beliefs, you die, I die, and that is it. But if I am right then you and I both still die, the only difference is I will spend eternity with God and you wont.

Bottom line, we both believe that we are correct in our beliefs but both of us cant be. I am truely glad that you have found something to make yourself a better person but I also have ask for you to take another serious look at christianity. Yes, there are hypocrites in the church but I have never been one to allow someone elses hypocrisy sway what I believe. I truly believe there is an afterlife and regardless of whether I disagree with someone or dislike them altogether it is not my wish that anyone perish because of their beliefs, or lack thereof.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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I totally agree. If there is infact an afterlife, and a Christian God commands it...then you are much more prepared than I am.

But call me foolish, I can't change what I believe to be true, what I believe is fact...just to be accepted into a comfortable afterlife. And no matter how grave the penalties, I can't change how my mind works...I would never be honest with myself as a Christian.

I share your analytical mindset, and I am damn sure not to be mindlessly pissing in the wind...but I do know I share one of the most important parts of being a Christian. I believe myself to be a good being, and if your God is truly forgiving and truly understand...then he will understand me. The thing is, I'm willing to accept the existence of a god. But not until something more concrete falls before my senses.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 07:35 PM
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God is indeed forgiving and merciful but He also said that there is only one way to get into His presence, there is no changing that. Gandhi was a good man too but according to christianity he is in the same place as Hitler, as sad as that sounds, but I didn't make the rules. And whether you believe in God or not, He believes in you and only wants what is best for you.

I know we have had some differences in the past but I think your a good person and you really want to do what is right. Just keep and open mind, there may come a day when this world gets turned upside down and you will be faced with a life or death choice.

I am trying not to come off as preachy, sometimes it is hard as a christian because we believe so fervently and want nothing more then to see those who we believe to be lost to be saved.

I need to go spend some time with my family so we can either end it here or pick up at a later time.

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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I admit in the past I had some immature arguing tactics. I'm just as learned now, but present my self differently

But I get off work in 15, so we can pick it up later if you wish. I'm always open to discussing/explaining differences.
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2004, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by exlude
Well, I admit in the past I had some immature arguing tactics. I'm just as learned now, but present my self differently

But I get off work in 15, so we can pick it up later if you wish. I'm always open to discussing/explaining differences.
Exlude, I give you props for being one of the few athiest on this board that can handle a mature conversation with out insulting the others beliefs in a higher power.

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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-18-2004, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by 281R
Exlude, I give you props for being one of the few athiest on this board that can handle a mature conversation with out insulting the others beliefs in a higher power.
I appreciate that I have been trying to veer away from the arrrrgghhh! (watch the language) approach that is so easy to take....

Last edited by Monsoon X; 04-19-2004 at 06:13 AM.
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-20-2004, 04:00 AM
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Hmmm. Jesus must be the Tao. After all He did say, "I am the way." Kinda like the "path" right?

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