Dalai Lama lost his Tao?

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by samabudhi, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. samabudhi

    samabudhi New Member

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    Don't you all think the Dalai Lama and those still clinging to the idea of Tibet are 'going against the Tao.'
    One of the things Buddhism is supposed to be all about is renunciation.
    Sure, there are still problems with the way Tibetans are treated, but surely it would be in the Tibetans best interests if they simply flowed with the change, but just kept their religious ideas underground?

    With all due respect I find the way the Dalai Lama has gone about this whole issue as contrary to Taoist thought and that he could learn a lot from it.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Namaskar,

    I have to admit I know little about the so-called Tao except that the word 'Tao' is derived from the sanskrit word 'Tantra'. In Tantra life is seen as a continuous struggle for (spiritual) freedom (perhaps this is the equivalent of the Islamic Jihad).

    This struggle is both an internal struggle against negative tendencies as well as an outward struggle against those who in whatever way try to thwart peoples' spiritual progress.

    Communism is a materialist ideology which takes no interest in a person's spiritual progress. So I guess the struggle against the imposition of such a materialist ideology is part of Tantra. If anything, the struggle of the Tibetans against the Chinese hasn't been vigorous enough, perhaps because Buddhism has rather an introvertive ideology and has hardly any tradition of fighting actively against negative forces.

    If the opponent is very strong however and the chance of winning the battle is remote, it is wisest not to waste energy until a better opportunity presents itself.
     
  3. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Samabudhi,


    thank you for the post.

    i seem to recall that you are from South Africa, is that correct? let me ask you... when Gandhi and Mandella were working for the end of apartheid through non-violent means, was this considered to be a positive thing? in my view, it was.

    the situation in Tibet is similiar to the situation in many countries today.. occupied by a foreign power. now, it's all well and good to say that as a Buddhist, one should not hold to a nationalistic idea, however, not all Tibetans are Buddhists :) His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the political leader of all Tibetans, regardless of religious affiliation. though, of course, he has constituted a new government in exile that is based on democratic principles... unfortunately, it is only in effect for the Tibetan Diaspora. as such, His Holiness becomes the face of the rest of the Tibetan people to the world community and represents their interests on the world stage.

    and... to point out the obvious... he's not a Taoist :) besides which... there is no shortage of nationalistic teachings in the Taoist literature... heck, whole chapters of the Tao Te Ching and Chang Tzu are devoted to effective running of the country and how to be an effective minister.

    things change... this is a central teaching in Buddhism recognized by all three Vehicles.... they are impermenant. knowing this... one should be flexible and flow with the change. sentient beings trapped in the realm of samsara suffer, this the Transcendent Lord declared. when a sentient being is trapped in samsara the bodhichitta arises in the Bodhisattva who uses all manner of skillful means to relieve the suffering of beings.

    what really galls me in this scenario is the lack of world attention to the problem and the lack of political will to do anything about it. sure, America sent several CIA teams to Tibet to foment rebellion, and they did revolt... only to be crushed by the Red Chinese Army. so far, of the 6 million Tibetans that lived in Tibetan in 1950, 2 million have been killed and nearly 1 million have fled in exile. that's half the population... this is genocide.

    and the west stands by and does nothing. heck... they even seek to increase their contacts and investments with the Red Chinese.... it's a sorry state of affairs to be sure.

    tangentially, one wonders how quickly the west will respond to the genocide in Dafur.... and when they do... the question will remain... why ignore Tibet? are the Red Chinese really that powerful that the combined world cannot get them to compromise on the human rights issues that plague thier country?

    what's often overlooked is that Tibet has/had a thriving Muslim and Christian community... not to mention the tradition Bon religion. all these folks are equally subjugated by the Red Chinese and yet... no Muslim is decrying the Red Chinese... or swearing Jihad to purge the godless communists from China. little if any Christian protests are made to help those being persectuted there.

    unfortunately for me, i've become quite cynical regarding politics and i'm half convinced that the reason that Tibet is ignored like it is is due to the fact that they are primarily Buddhist. which, for most folks, means heathen, pagan idol worshippers and since they aren't "god fearing" no help is forthcoming.

    :mad:
     
  4. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Avinash,

    thank you for the post.

    actually, this is not correct. the Indo-European language tree, of which Sanskrit is a part, is completely different from the Sino-Tibetan language tree, from which the Chinese word T'ao comes.

    the interested reader is directed to this site to see the original Chinese character http://www.yellowbridge.com/language/chineseloan.html

    the interested reader is directed to this site for more information on the Sino-Tibetan language family:
    http://stedt.berkeley.edu/html/STfamily.html

    for those interested readers with a real interest in etymology, you can read the Chinese Tao Te Ching here: http://zhongwen.com/dao.htm
     
  5. samabudhi

    samabudhi New Member

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    Yes.

    Indeed. But we must remember that the oppresors were only a selection of the miniscule 10% minority of the population and that the entire world was against what was going on enough to sanction South Africa quite effectively.
    Tibet is a different story. China is far bigger, and will probably be the next superpower. It would be unwise for a country to taint it relations over a seemingly unimportant wasteland. South Africa clearly had and still has little hope of being a major player economically in the future. Our country's just to damn beautiful. Noone does any work. :D
    The end of apartheid was inevitable. Tao was on our side.

    Hence the problem.

    I found them to be more of a criticism of government than a guide. Even the nineth chapter of the Chuang Tzu is entitled 'A protest against civilisation.'

    This is a story from the eleventh chapter, 'Autumn floods':
    And I think in this case, supplicating to the higher power would be a good idea. Make the Chinese feel like they're in control, so they don't think they need to be show it anymore.

    Well you must admit, when someone offers the solution to all problems, what use is there left for capitalist materialism?

    Don't be mad, be smart. Suck up. Do what must be done. Make them think they've won. If there is no fight to fight, they won't.
     
  6. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Samabudhi,

    thank you for the post.

    doesn't it make you the least bit curious that the "entire world" isn't against what's going on in Tibet?

    you do realize that the Tibtean Platuea is the source the Mekong, Yellow and Yang-tze rivers and that these rivers are the life blood of SE Asia, do you not? moreover, Tibet is fortunate, or unfortunate, depending on how you view these things.. to have an abundance of natural resources like lumber, uranium, boxite and so forth. it is very inaccurate to say that it's a "seemingly unimportant wasteland."

    South Africa has the largest and most robust economy on the African continent, iirc. i recently saw a PBS program that visit some small town on the Cape during spring.. apparantly the flowers just carpet the ground there.. it was quite beautiful.

    these are communists we're talking about.. i'm sure the Chinese felt in control during Tieneman Square.. yet... they still feel the need to exert state control over nearly every aspect of life. just look at how the central government has breeched the contract they made with Hong Kong when Britian left.

    i'm not following your line of thought here... can you elaborate a bit?

    you don't "be" smart.. you either or you are not :) smart isn't an emotion, like anger... and it's not so much that i'm angry, per se, rather, i'm very frustrated and... this is one of my own psychological problems... i react very strongly in a physical way when i see someone being abused. i feel the need to act to stop and prevent it from happening. my inability to directly relieve the suffering of those sentient beings causes my frustration.
     
  7. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Namaskar Vajradhara,

    I was told the word t'ao, as well as the Japanese to in Shin-to are both derived from the Sanskrit word tantra and are not originally Sino-Tibetan and Japanese words. This need not be surprising since tantric teachers have travelled from India to China for thousands of years. It is also said that the science behind acupuncture was introduced into China by such immigrant tantrics.

    Likewise the Japanese word zen is derived from Sanskrit dhyana (probably also via a Chinese intermediate word). The meanings of these words have shifted over time. The scriptural definition of tantra is Tam jadyat tarayet yastu sah tantrah parikirttitah ["Tantra is that which liberates a person from the bondages of staticity"].
     
  8. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Avinash,

    thank you for the post.

    by whom were you told?

    i suppose we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. the word t'ao was used in China by the Fu Hsi in roughly 5000 BCE.. though legend has it that he existed prior to modern history. it is a thoroughly unique language tree from which this word derives.

    the Chinese travelled to India as well... it's difficult to say at this point in history how the memes moved from people to people, i.e. the mechanism and the transfer order.

    interestingly enough.. there's some evidence that accupuncture was known on the European continent in roughly 3500 BCE. they found a man that was frozen in a glacier some years ago and his body had tattoo markings that corrolate to 80% of the valid modern accupuncture points.


    the Chinese word is Ch'an which the Japanese pronounded as zazen (well... i can't make the diacritical marks.. so you'll just have to pretend with me ;)) and Ch'an is the abbreviation of the transliterated Sanskrit term dhyana.

    when you say "the scriptural definition" which scritpure are you referring to?
     
  9. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Namaskar Vajradhara,

    Most of the information on Tantra (and this too) I get from the books on this subject by the philosopher and preceptor P.R.Sarkar (Shrii Shrii Anandamurti).

    Yes, we don't agree on this one. Tantra has been practised in India for more than 10.000 years and was systematized by Shiva around 7000 years ago. So the adoption of the word tantra into Chinese could very well have taken place before 5000BCE. The change from tantra to tao is not so surprising since to begin with, Chinese does not have the sound r.

    As you may have noticed :rolleyes:, I have a very Tantra-centered spiritual worldview and think most of the science of Tantra was exported from India which for thousands of years was the most spiritually developed as well as the most densely populated sub-continent in the world (when the rest of the world was still largely covered with primeval forests). In more recent times the Bengali Tantra was exported to Tibet by Bengali Buddhist tantrics.

    It is said that Shiva paid more than one visit to the Alpes in his lifetime. I am convinced that Jesus and even Muhammed practised some form of Tantra. Thinking about how far and wide these teachings spread over the world in ancient times, I wonder how and why the present religions have diverged so much. I saw two different very interesting documentaries on this stone-age ice-man. The Italians and the Austrians had a fight about on which side of the border he was found. I think the Italians won and took him to Italy.

    Thanks, I couldn't remember the Chinese intermediate word :)

    I was quoting P.R.Sarkar from Volume Two of 'Discourses on Tantra' (1994). I suppose he got this definition from another scripture on Tantra (unknown to me). The definition does not appear in Ananda Sutram, the main scripture of Ananda Marga.
     
  10. samabudhi

    samabudhi New Member

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    Not at all! A landlocked country on the largest continent without any history of development other than the spiritual kind where the entire world is overly concerned with money. Not at all. Too many people live by the motto, 'Ignorance is bliss.'

    Not to mention the Brahmaputra, the Ganges and the Indus.

    'Seemingly'.
    Whether it is important or not is irrevelant. The point is people don't think it is. It's all about perceptions.

    That doesn't really say much! :D

    Communism has died out in all but the most ardent supporting countries. When students revolt against the policies of a country that is quite clearly unpopular with the rest of the world in both it's political ideology and it's history, it's not going to have happy consequences. The truth is they DON'T feel in control. Clearly they don't, if they have to crush any disagreement with lethal force.

    Buddhism offers an end to all suffering and advocates renunciation, amoung other things. This is not in line with materialism or capitalism.

    What can I say except practise practise practise.
     
  11. Vapour

    Vapour New Member

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    The word Tao (or dou/michi in Japanese) is a common coroquial word, which simply means a "way". So some one who want direction could ask "michi oshiete kudasai" = "Can you show me the direction?" To add further, tantric tradition of india arrive in China about 500 AD as a part of Buddhist school known as esotric buddhsim.

    It is easy to make a claim. Anyone claim that Jesus was master of tantric tradition simply on the basis that "no one can disprove my claim?" So tantric tradition is 10.000 years old and was systematized by Shiva around 7000 years ago. Well, Chinese claim that dao was inheritent since the begining of humanity. That means that given the evolutionary history of humand from ape, that makes Daoism few times older than tantric tradition. :D

    You have to come up with bit more of "evidence" before claiming Indian origin of Daoism. Personally, this attempt to appropriate other spiritual tradition to increase the credibility(superiority) of your own practice, I find it to be bit silly.

    For example, from what you are saying, I'm guessing that you haven't probably met one single Daoist who practictice it as spirtual pursut. And when I say Daoist practioner, I'm not talking about those taichi master or qi gong practioner who only practice an aspet of daoism.
     
  12. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Namaskar,
    It's not a "claim" but the way how it is seen in my tradition. Perhaps some evidence will be found in the future, perhaps not. His behaviour and teachings however match very well with this idea. This is a forum for comparing and sharing religious & spiritual philosophies and outlooks and that's all I'm doing.:)
    If we can only write here about things which need "evidence" then this place would soon become very quiet.
    The meaning of the word may have shifted and the teachings may have greatly changed over thousands of years but I was talking mainly about the Sanskrit origins of the word tao. Just because Buddhism happens to have strong roots in "Hinduism" doesn't also mean that any Hindu can "claim" that Buddhism is part of Hinduism.
     
  13. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Avinash,

    thank you for the post.

    i'm going to beg to differ with you on this point, quite strongly in fact. Padmasambhava brought the tantric teachings, the Vajrayana, to Tibet. He did this in 817 C.E. in what is known as the Initial Spreading. This lineage is known as the Nyingma and it is the lineage that i practice.

    for more information about the Initial Spreading, the interested reader is directed here:

    http://www.tibet.com/Buddhism/nyingma.html

    i do have a Bengali tantric text at home, however, i've fogotten it's name off hand :) so i'll have to post it later.
     
  14. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Namaskar Vajradhara,

    thank you for the post.
    Yes, I know that Padmasambhava did so. Padmasambhava was a Buddhist tantric (or tantric Buddhist). I figured that Buddhist Tantra was mainly influenced by the Bengali branch of Indian Tantra because the great Buddhist universities were in the east of India. So, also in Buddhist times Tantra was being exported to places outside India.
     
  15. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Avinash,

    thank you for the post.
    Nalanda, the Seat of Mahayana Buddhism in the university setting in North Eastern India... somewhere near Tibet or Bhutan...before being destroyed in the Muslim invasions. DUH!!! hold on one second...

    here's where it is:

    62 kms from Bodhgaya and 90 kms south of Patna
    http://www.indiatouristoffice.org/East/nalanda.htm

    Padmasambhava came from a region of modern day Pakistan or Afghanistan (Oddiyana).. i'm not quite clear where the kingdom would now reside... i'm under the impression that is would exist in both nations today.

    the Buddhist trantric tradition as found in Tibet, at least, is from the lineage of the 84 Mahasiddhas of India.

    the Eastern Indian Buddhist trantic tradition was preserved by the Buddhist Pala Dynasty that was emerging during the Muslim invasions of northern and western India. during this time, the 84 Mahasiddhas were living as yogins, amongst the people and used matra, mudra and trantra as the teaching methodologies. some of the more famous names are Tilopa, Naropa, Saraha and Dombipa, to name a few.

    here's a link to a pic of the ruins of Nalanda:

    http://www.kalavinka.org/pilgmage/nalapics/nal002a.jpg

    http://www.kalavinka.org/pilgmage/nalapics/nal001a.jpg

    indeed.. hence the transmission into Tibet :)
     
  16. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Namaskar Vajradhara,

    and thank you for that very informative post,
    So very near West-Bengal (perhaps even in a Bengali speaking area?).
     
  17. Vapour

    Vapour New Member

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    Just to get some historically verified part of the topic. Chan is a chinese translation of sanskrit word "dhyana" meaning meditation. It is related to the word "dhyana" to the extent that the word "meditation" in english has the same meaning as "dhyana". However, the chinese word Chan doesn't trace linguistic root to dhyana just as the english word "meditation" doesn't trace it's word to chinese word "chan".

    As of words "tantric" and "tao", only common linguistic element is that in english, both start with t. But tao could be written as dao or dou or other pronounciation depending on what dialect or conversion form one use. Pronounciation means very little in chinese writing. In japanese, chinese chan is pronounced as Zen instead of Chan, for example. Moreover, the word "dao/tao" does not originage from meditation practice. The word simply mean "way/path" and commonly used in chinese conversation for that purpose. So to claim the linguistic origin of tao to a sanskrit word "tantric" is rather absurd.

    Obviously, claiming the origin of *practice* is something else. It may be the case that Indian scriptures might state the origin of tantric practice to 10000 years ago, though I tend to think that writing indicate yogic practice rather than tantric practice. But as far as I know there are no menion of daoism in ancient sanskrit writing. So the idea that daoism trace it's origin to tantric practice doesn't even have justification in indian literature. Of course, if you can show me any sanskrit writing to contradict this, I will be very interested.

    And lastly, is it important that tantric practicing have seniority over daoism? As far as I know of daoism writing, they don't seem to bother with a such matter. And I have a suspicion that that is the case in sanskrit writing.

    As of Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence, as far as I know, 17 point agreement which Dalai Lama's delegate signed with Chinese (under duress some might say) is not so much different from what Tibet temples/government signed with previous Chinese or Mongolian dyansties, that is making Tibet part of China or Mongolia in exchange of autonomy. I do believe that official position of Dalai Lama is to seek autonomy not independence. So it is sort of "I don't really care about what my country/region/realm is called as long as you leave me alone". That sounds very Daoism to me. The fact that Chinese side violated autonomy part of agreement is obviously something even Daoist would be bothered about.
     
  18. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Vapour,

    thank you for the post.

    you are correct. Tibet does not desire independence, they desire autonomy to practice their religion without persecution. they have no problem letting China handle the foreign affairs and defense of the land.

    there is a lot of commonality between Taoism and Vajaryana Buddhism..
     
  19. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Namaskar Vapour,
    The Sanskrit roots of tao, chan and zen were discussed earlier in this thread.

    For me personally it is important that the major spiritual practices in this world have common roots. I enjoy to see how cultures have been connected through the ages just as I enjoy to see how species are connected through evolutionary kinship.
     
  20. Vapour

    Vapour New Member

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    I just google "Shrii Shrii Anandamurti". Hey, Ananda Marga. We have a AM society in our university. I usually hang around with Buddhist society though. LoL. Few girls are quite pretty. Pitty about no-sex thingy though.:D
     

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