How connected is Tao with Buddhism and Confucianism?

Discussion in 'Tao' started by iBrian, May 9, 2004.

  1. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    I take the time to comment only upon the above aspect of your post, Dharmaatmaa.

    One essential of maintaining separate origins of thought and its "purity" is to create a wall or barrier to intrusion from outside ideas. In the course of history the natural barriers of mountains, seas, and deserts have provided such isolation.

    While trade routes may allow for a limited exchange of ideas between isolated groups, the overall effect of those ideas upon a different society that is in isolation will be somewhat limited short of establishing a colony, a school, a major transport route or an outright invasion.

    One may examine the customs of peoples within the borders of ones own nation and see that differences of ideals and language usage exist. These differences, however subtle, becomes especially noticeable where there exists limited travel and/or contact involved for whatever reason(s).

    One may look to the differences in Buddhism as practiced in various countries and see both similarities and stark contrast, the same can be said for the various "flavors" of Christianity as well. There is an inherent resistance, or inertia, to change and the introduction and adoption of new ideas that can be seen around and about us in our daily lives today.

    How much more so would this inertia and isolation have effected the world in as little as 100 years ago let alone 1000 or more years in the past?
     
  2. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Ha ha! My brother wrote that on a birthday card to me once, and I think it may have been after he'd heard my very profane sounds whilst seated at my drum kit. :p

    Like you, that was also a long time ago though...

    s.
     
  3. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    This is an interesing article, referring to the OP.

    Laozi (Lao-tzu) [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

    Here's a taste of the propoganda wars! -


    "Most later writings about Laozi continued to base their appeals to Laozi's authority on his ongoing transmigrations, but they give evidence of the growing tension between Daoism and Buddhism. The first mythological account of Laozi's birth is in the Scripture of the Inner Explanation of the Three Heavens, a Celestial Master work dated about 420 CE. In this text, Laozi has three births: as the manifestation of the dao from pure energy to become a deity in heaven; in human form as the ancient philosopher of the Daodejing; and as the Buddha after his journey to the West. In the first birth, his mother is known as The Jade Maiden of Mystery and Wonder. In his second, he is born to a human woman known as Mother Li. This was an eighty-one year pregnancy, after which he was born from her left armpit (there is a tradition that Buddha had been born from his mother's right arm pit). At birth he had white hair and so he was called laozi (Old Child). This birth is set in the time of the Shang dynasty, several centuries before the date Sima Qian reports. But the purpose of such a move is to allow him time to travel to the West and then become the Buddha. The third birth takes place in India as the Buddha. For details of this birth we turn to Esoteric Record of Mystery and Wonder, another fifth century document of the Celestial Masters. According to this text, Laozi entered into the body of the wife of the king of India through her mouth. Later he was born through her left arm pit. He walked immediately after his birth, and "from then on Buddhist teaching came to flourish." (quoted in Kohn) "

    s.
     
  4. Dharmaatmaa

    Dharmaatmaa New Member

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    Yes, it's a deep and valuable notice. It shows how much "dirty" become teachings in time. And "1000 or more years" may leave its imprint on them. Flavours of christianity and ones of Buddhism are seen today and strictly obvious. I agree. The "trade routes" influence even on people's mentality. And today we see this so-called "globalization", when cultural and religious differences become faint on and on. It's another question that the glibalization works like a "faulty telephone"...

    I just can't understand: what does it prove? If we see everything's mixing in time, so what does it tell us about the past? We can't see the past of taoism and buddhism, right? Their today condition says nothing. Their past's dark. And why people say they have namely different origins? If I correctly see, you wanted to prove this (their possible different roots).

    I can't agree. The cause is that I explored the Egyptian Thau on summer. And many authors agree that this symbol is found in pyramids of Egypt itself, in Dr. Schlimann's Troja, or Illion, in moais of Rapanuee (the famous Easter Island), and so forth. These objects and places are on top of antiquity, especially moai; they're situated in different parts of the world... These cultures cannot just "mix" through trade routes or whatever else, could they?

    For me it's a proof that many, if not all, of teachings do have the same and only origin, and taoism and buddhism aren't exceptions. And even Snoopy's quote a bit proves it, telling about several births (let's remind Indian dvijas) of Lao Tzu.
     
  5. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Don't know how your limited compares with my limited, Tao, but OK, I'll bite :) :

    Coincidentally, like two people independently discovering that 2+2=4 or are you suggesting something else?


    How so?


    In the manner of sheep-like religionists I imagine?! ;)

    s.
     
  6. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Thanks! :p


    “Another curiosity in the traditional Lao Tzu story has to do with Ear – Erh. Almost all depictions of the Buddha, whether in India, Thailand, or China, show him with large or long-lobed ears. That Lao Tzu should also be long-lobed is more than a coincidence, a clear effort to connect Taoism and Buddhism. Did Taoism affect the image of the Buddha or did later Buddhists influence the story of Lao Tzu? The likely answer is that the influence of Buddhism in China from the first century onward retroactively altered the story of Lao Tzu, making the details of his life even more elusive.”

    - The Tao of Zen
    by Ray Grigg.

    s.
     
  7. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    These are my ramblings on the matter...

    The Way and its Virtue contains much concerning inter-relational philosophy.
    Man to nature, man to himself, and man to other men (society). Unfortunately the Tao Teh Ching is not a "HOWTO" or "Idiots Manual" for it presumes that one has mastered the basic prerequisites of the time. The Tao is for all strata of society and/or lack thereof.

    Much of the prerequisites, alluded to above, to the study of the Tao have been lost/destroyed in the mists of time and history yet both the I Ching and the Art of War have survived and are, to me, most important to the study of the Tao.

    Confucius dotes on the concept of the "Superior/Virtuous Man" thereby creating an artificial hierarchal layer contributing to the stratification of a society by providing support for a class-based society. The superior man concept is but one of the points that Lau Tzu and Confucius are strongly in disagreement.

    Buddhism reads more like a introductory user's manual and portions of the dialogs may be seen as a sort of a "Taoism for Idiots" with much blather and "self-serving advertisement" inserted.

    The Indian Buddhism was "cleaned up" by putting it through the "Chinese Laundry" which then removed much of the fluff and non-essentials, re-packaged it for re-distribution and re-labeled as Ch'an. Ch'an was then shipped southward into Korea where it underwent some minor, but important changes, and thence exported to Japan where again the Customs Agents (cultural censors) cut and pasted to their delight and called it Zen.:)

    A note on Vegetarianism and Buddhism; Kipling remarks on the fact, detrimentally, that Buddhist were meat-eaters during his tenure in India!

    Q. Is Confucianism little more than an ethical code for the non-peasant?
    A.
    To my mind, Confucianism is little more than a Civil Servant or employee's "don't make waves" manual. It has its place and the early British Society just fell in love with Confucius for it fit within the context their social pattern so well. This is not to say that the philosophy of Confucius has no value, more that it misses the point quite often in large part because of its fundamentally flawed premise of Superiority. Consider for a moment the contradiction of "being humble in the knowledge of one's superiority over others."

    I find it interesting to note that Confucius undertook a study of the I Ching in his 50's and remarked most enthusiastically in favor concerning it.

    Q. Does Buddhism actually lend itself deeply to any principles of Taoism?
    A.
    I believe that Buddhism has its place for the Westerner engaged in the study of the Tao due to its verbosity concerning many aspects of the Eastern Philosophies. I find that the "Twin Verses" section of the Dhammapada especially useful. Ch'an and Zen, being influenced by Taoism, also have their utility. I personally refer to Buddhism as the "Westerner's Tool-Kit" to assist in the understanding of the Tao. Buddhism may contribute somewhat to fill the void of those "lost prerequisites" mentioned earlier.
     
  8. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    I like ramblings :)


    Have you read The Tao of Zen by Ray Grigg? If not, this is a very brisk summary of it!


    Detrimentally because he was a vegetarian? The Buddha wasn't a vegetarian, so what was the basis for Kipling's remarks? Apparently the Buddha's favourite food was pork and it was food poisoning from it that caused or hastened his demise.


    OOh harsh! (but quite funny :D)

    s.
     
  9. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    I ramble as it is difficult to move in a straight line in a curved universe

    No, Snoopy, I have not read the Tao of Zen. I had come to this conclusion sometime in the mid-to late 1980's.

    Kipling was speaking concerning the desirability of servants in India at the time and considered the Muslims as preferable over Buddhists in this capacity. Typical slurs concerning their relative honesty were mentioned as well.:(

    Thank you for the "big grin" Snoopy. I had a difficult time when I had posted that message in keeping things light. I know it did not "come off" as well as I had hoped. Too much dessicant perhaps??

    Contrary to what my previous post must "sound" like, I really like the works of Confucius and Mencius. Confucius was my first exposure to the Eastern Philosophies as a youth and therefore holds a certain special place.
     
  10. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    No, just right. :)


    I also thought Confucius was mostly just a Civil Service etiquette manual till I read some more of his stuff recently (and Mencius et al). But I can't say I'm a convert!

    s.
     
  11. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    Quite so, Dharmaatmaa. There are other archeological studies that have pointed to this possibility, in particular a series of French expeditions to South America. Unfortunately I can not recall much about them at this time other than the remarkable, and almost identical, verbatim transcriptions of a tribe's oral traditions over the course of 100 years or so.

    That there was trade between Ancient Egypt and other nations of the Medeteranian Sea culture is quite well documented. Yet your mention of the Easter Islands reminds me of the Explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, and his work concerning the Kon-Tiki expeditions, in 1947, and more importantly the Ra expedition 1969-70 in which he and his crew sailed in a papyrus boat from Africa to the Easter Islands to establish his theory of the, then tenuous, connection between certain similarities that he had observed in both. Both are excellent reading.
     
  12. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    From what I have been given to understand, Tao_Equus, the Buddha had given warning to his Disciples not to allow the people to make of him a god-like creature. I cannot provide the reference though, pity.


    P.S Nice looking Arab Tao_Equus, But I prefer the Quarter Horse.:)
     
  13. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    I sit here admiring the original of my icon and note that it too is empty. Pity. And yet my thoughts turn to the important symbologies that the empty and full tea cup have in Buddhism, specificaly in the schools of Chan and Zen, 'twas the other, often overlooked, similarity that has recently caught my mind.

    As I make the pilgrmage from the computer keyboard to the far distant cupboard I retrive a brick of partially consumed Tibetan Flame tea, break off some 10 grams for to brew in a manner whose name, Gung Fu Cha, would imply to some a martial art. It was during such an exercize of this Chinese Tea Ceremony that the logical jump from Tea to the Tao and Buddhism, cultural purity, international trade and thence to the old Tea Horse Road from China to Tibet, Mongolia and beyond.

    Tea came to India from China and that commerce is thousands of years old. Some of the teas I have in my larder have been picked from 800 year old plants. Ahh, the water is at the boil and ready for the first cuppa.

    The first infusion is just the ticket and yet I look forward with great anticipation for the next infusions to come. Nonetheless there is a computer screen that also needs attending and so, with a not so empty tea cup, I continue.

    The tea plant is thought to be more than ancient and is categorized by some as pre-historic. This may lead one to then wonder: what tales could be told by this humble and un-assuming life form? Were the philosophies of Buddhism introduced to China first or was it that through the avenue of the Old Tea Horse Road that the elements of the philosophies of the Tao introduced to India? The complexity of this tea is one of its notable qualities from this first infusion, I wonder what the next infusion will bring?

    As I wait for the water to again come to the full boil I muse at the closeness of the aglicized spelling of "Chan" and "Cha," the latter being the the word "tea" in Chinese. Is Chinese Buddhism based on the mere act of breathing or is it in reality the inhalation of the vapors and liquid of tea? I leave this question to be answered by the Mystics for now the water is ready for the second infusion with the leaves.

    The leaves have un-curled somewhat more, the liquor no longer a pale yellow having assumed a darker hue. The mouth feel is moist, and more elements are being revealed thus expanding the breadth of the taste profile. Good for meditation this tea is. Did the Buddha have an opportunity to try this brew, was one of his many un-named teachers a simple taoist selling tea from the caravan, or was it the aroma of a fine tea that broke the spell of meditation which in turn lead to what the Japanese call Satori??? We may never know the answer to these questions but this cup is empty and I shall not refuse the offer of a Third Infusion of this tea.

    The Universe may never be the same!
    If the second infusion merely expanded the taste profile of this tea it is the third infusion that has somewhat of the inexplicable, the vastness, the, dare I say it, the Tao? So what did come first: Tea or Buddhism, turtles or the I Ching?? Another conundrum for the Mystics and Philosophers to ponder. Yet should they attempt to take on such introspective searching of the otherwise unfathomable; may I provide the tea?
     
  14. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    It figures. Many speculate that this interaction occurred due to the silk trade. So many overlook the less glamourous tea trade.
    What do the Tea Leaves in the bottom of your cup say? ;)

    Reminds me of a quote Snoopy posted:
    I’m reminded of the first story in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Cup of Tea.
    Nan-in, a Japanese master, received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.
    The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself.
    “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
    “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”


     
  15. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    <escaping from the never-ending-haiku thread>
    The leaves speakest not
    For leaves there are none to place
    In cup nor bottom
    <return to the never-ending-haiku-thread ;););)>

    The student of Gung Fu Cha, should they have washed and rinsed properly, have no leaves to transfer to the cups.:p

    Precisely!
    This is the lesson that was alluded to in the opening.
     
  16. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    I wonder if the early tea drinkers prepared and drank their tea from turtle shells.
     
  17. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    Only in the beginning,seattlegal.
    They had to stop due to an outbreak of the ItChing :eek: that soon followed.:D
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2009
  18. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Divination as a means of scratching an itch! :p Gotta love it.
     
  19. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    According to Tea Classified (by Pettigrew and Richardson)…

    The form of the name in any particular country depends upon how the product got there. When it was first traded (to the Arab countries and Russia) it went with the Mandarin word “cha.” When it was traded to Europe (by the Dutch) it went with the Amoy word “te”. From these two, all the other derivations followed (shai, ja, chay, chai, ch’a, thee, tea, tee, tey, thay etc)…

    Another interesting note: the Chinese only starting oxidising their tea (to make black tea) for the export markets because the unoxidised teas did not travel well. OK, that was interesting to me…:eek:

    s.
     
  20. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    Returning to the thread of
    "How connected is tea with Buddhism and Confucianism?" ... ;)

    Thank you for the favor of a reply, Snoopy.
    This may be correct for most of the loose teas that were shipped to Europe but does not necessarily pertain to the teas in brick and cake form from Yunnan that were exported to Tibet, Mongolia, etc. Perhaps a search concerning the origin and history of Lapsang Suchong might also reveal some interesting information concerning this.
     

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