What is Taoism (Daoism)?

Nasruddin

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Here is Laozi’s (LaoTzu’s) first line in the Tao Te Ching (道德经)

道可道, 非常道。 (Dào kě dào, fēi cháng dào, )

I have my interpretation of this line. I am curious what your interpretation is. Also, this is only the first line, so you may be referring to the first three or five lines or so.
My Mandarin is even worse than my Spanish, but I think we may view it the same. One day I realized that the me I thought was me was just a construct in the same way I can construct a fictional character when writing. It then occurred to me that if there isn't really a me then there is only this constant relativity going on. Therefore, the ideas in my head about, well everything, could be suspect. So I think now, there is something happening all around, but my ideas about it and what it really is are two different things. There is a gap between my understanding and what is really there.
 

Cino

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Getting lost in the illusion of things is wonderful good fun, but coming back to the awareness of no thing brings me peace. I think maybe it's because that in that moment I don't have to be a me or have a story or anything.
Is awareness a thing, in the context you are speaking about here? Is the identification with a "me" or "a story" a thing in this context?

Are the thought models about reality part of reality?
 

RJM

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I believe the I Ching (rather than the Tao Te Ching) is the true sourcebook for Taoism:
https://www.labirintoermetico.com/09IChing/Wilhelm_R_The_I_Ching_or_Book_of_Changes_(abriged).pdf
But I strongly believe that to study I Ching it is necessary to own an unabridged copy of the actual (paper) book.

2062



More Tao stuff here:
https://www.hermetica.info/OriginalDao.html
The Other Original Dao
The Path, before Kongzi and Laozi Paved It
© Bradford Hatcher 2012, Version 12.8

Valuable I Ching links to different versions and translations:
https://www.hermetica.info/K-YiLink.htm

Check out this brilliant website for lots more:
http://www.hermetica.info/

And a lot of valuable Tao information and discussion here:
https://www.interfaith.org/community/threads/11355/

Tao Te Ching comparative versions by Boston University pdf
https://www.bu.edu/religion/files/pdf/Tao_Teh_Ching_Translations.pdf
 
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Nick the Pilot

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My Mandarin is even worse than my Spanish, but I think we may view it the same.

The following is an analysis and translation by a Theosophist named Jon Fergus.

Here is the first line of the Tao Te Ching by the great Chinese philosopher Laozi (Lao-Tzu) from the fourth century BC.

道可道,非常道。

The first term is 道可道. These three Chinese characters are 道 (dào) 可 (kě) 道 (dào).

The first character is tao (道 dào), which is described as the uncreate, unborn, and eternal energy of nature, which manifests periodically.

The second character is 可 (kě). This means can or be able to. This refers to that part of the Tao which is only a potential; the unmanifested, immutable Tao.

The third character is the same as the first character, tao (道 dào).

The second and third characters (可道 kě dào) combine to mean “the potential to become Tao”.

The term 道可道 (dào kě dào) can therefore be translated as “the unmanifested, immutable Tao”.

-----

The second group of three Chinese characters is 非常道 (fēi cháng dào). The two characters 非常 (fēi cháng) translate in everyday conversational Chinese as “very”. But in this context they mean “change” or “non-eternal”. The idea is that this aspect of the Tao is manifesting and mutable.

The three characters combine to mean The Tao which is manifesting and mutable.

-----

Here, then, are the six characters in the first line.

道可道, 非常道。 (Dào kě dào, fēi cháng dào, )

The eternal, unmanifested, immutable Tao, the manifesting and mutable Tao.


source: https://universaltheosophy.com/articles/tao-te-ching-new-translation/
 

Nasruddin

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Is awareness a thing, in the context you are speaking about here? Is the identification with a "me" or "a story" a thing in this context?

Are the thought models about reality part of reality?
Awareness, pure awareness is the only thing. When we talk about relative and absolute it's easy to get confused and create misunderstandings. What I'm saying in so many words is that there is a raw open experience of life that can only happen right now. Taoism is a map of reality in a way, the same way as most systems of philosophy. It is an interesting model, but it is still just a model. Human beings have always come up with ideas about how the universe works. Taoism is a particularly handy model because it takes into account the continuing phenomenon of duality. But in the end it is still just an idea, a raft, a boat. When a person seeks to understand the universe and life it is vital to come face to face with it. If all we do is discuss our cleverly designed models that is all we have. The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao. If you want to understand it involves surrendering all the ideas and constructs and face life with bare awareness.
 

Nasruddin

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The following is an analysis and translation by a Theosophist named Jon Fergus.

Here is the first line of the Tao Te Ching by the great Chinese philosopher Laozi (Lao-Tzu) from the fourth century BC.

道可道,非常道。

The first term is 道可道. These three Chinese characters are 道 (dào) 可 (kě) 道 (dào).

The first character is tao (道 dào), which is described as the uncreate, unborn, and eternal energy of nature, which manifests periodically.

The second character is 可 (kě). This means can or be able to. This refers to that part of the Tao which is only a potential; the unmanifested, immutable Tao.

The third character is the same as the first character, tao (道 dào).

The second and third characters (可道 kě dào) combine to mean “the potential to become Tao”.

The term 道可道 (dào kě dào) can therefore be translated as “the unmanifested, immutable Tao”.

-----

The second group of three Chinese characters is 非常道 (fēi cháng dào). The two characters 非常 (fēi cháng) translate in everyday conversational Chinese as “very”. But in this context they mean “change” or “non-eternal”. The idea is that this aspect of the Tao is manifesting and mutable.

The three characters combine to mean The Tao which is manifesting and mutable.

-----

Here, then, are the six characters in the first line.

道可道, 非常道。 (Dào kě dào, fēi cháng dào, )

The eternal, unmanifested, immutable Tao, the manifesting and mutable Tao.


source: https://universaltheosophy.com/articles/tao-te-ching-new-translation/
Thank you. Most comprehensive!

Nick, how has the understanding of the Tao influenced your life? Have you found ways to implement your learning?
For me, simply watching the flow of things around me can be very enjoyable. Studying Taoism in literature and in practice has given me a better way of viewing life. I'm grateful to all the ancestors for passing it down. And thank you for continuing to do so for others.
 

Nasruddin

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I think it's pretty cool this thread was started by someone named Sun Wukong, since the monkey king was such a trickster. I understand he caused quite an uproar in Heaven. :)
 

Cino

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I think it's pretty cool this thread was started by someone named Sun Wukong, since the monkey king was such a trickster. I understand he caused quite an uproar in Heaven. :)
He managed to get the monkeys' names erased from Death's bureaucratic paperwork or something to that effect. Quite the life hack.

The Buddha had to pile a mountain on him to slow him down.
 

Nick the Pilot

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Nick, how has the understanding of the Tao influenced your life?

Nasruddin, I am a Theosophist. I find that Taoism and Theosophy agree perfectly. This means that Taoism works for me! I have found that original Buddhism, original Hinduism, original Judiasm, etc., all agree. I can now add Taoism to that list.

He managed to get the monkeys' names erased from....

It might help the people here to know that the Monkey King is a very well-known figure in Chinese Buddhist literature, just as well-known as someone like Batman or Spiderman.

The Monkey King TV series was a very popular TV series in China many years ago. Just for fun, here is the first Monkey King episode. (Many more episodes are available on YouTube.) By the way, the star of the series, the fellow who played the Monkey King, now runs a noodle shop in Shanghai!


Unfortunately, this version does not include English subtitles. An English-subtitle version does exist.
 
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Cino

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Recommendation for fans of Kung-Fu movies: "Forbidden Kingdom", starring Jackie Chan as an alcoholic itinerant Dao Bum, and Jet Lee in a double role, as Monkey King. Has slightly different angles on the material, but is quite recognizable.
 

neophyte2021

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what about buddhism or christianity where suffering is seen as a part of life?
 

neophyte2021

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i know yin and yang, stuff like that, i Know this principle from martial arts. but why should I believe in daoism? explain it to me.
 

Cino

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but why should I believe in daoism? explain it to me.
This forum is for interfaith dialogue, not seeking converts (or seeking to be converted), or looking down on others' beliefs.
 

RJM

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i know yin and yang, stuff like that, i Know this principle from martial arts. but why should I believe in daoism? explain it to me.
There is a lot of information already in this and other threads here in the Dao forum.
https://www.interfaith.org/community/threads/11355/page-3
You could start by reading the Tao the Ching. Here is a link:
https://www.bu.edu/religion/files/pdf/Tao_Teh_Ching_Translations.pdf

The pdf contains several different versions, but it's only necessary to choose one
 
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Nick the Pilot

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why should I believe in daoism?

Taoism is very metaphysical, so it is not for everyone. I don’t know if you are interested in the metaphysical aspects of the creation of the universe. For example, as I posted in a previous post in this thread, the very first line of the Tao Te Ching talks about the manifest vs. unmanifest aspects of our universe (and other aspects of unmanifest reality which are not part of this universe). As a matter of fact, the parts of Tao Te Ching that talk about the manifest vs. unmanifest actually refer to events that happened before our universe appeared.

where you behave good and then you believe you get to heaven

Taoism does not emphasize the best way to get to heaven, it emphasizes the metaphysical nature of the universe, the beginning of the universe, the state of things before our universe appeared, etc. Taoism does contain teachings about how to get to heaven, but Taoism first emphasizes the teaching of how you and I came to be here, then it teaches what we should do next in our search for enlightenment and then nirvana. Taoism teaches the amazing steps of the unfolding of the universe (of which the human condition is just one small part). If you want to go straight to the part about ‘how do I get to heaven?’ then perhaps another religious tradition would work for you better.
 
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Firedragon

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Taoism is very metaphysical, so it is not for everyone. I don’t know if you are interested in the metaphysical aspects of the creation of the universe. For example, as I posted in a previous post in this thread, the very first line of the Tao Te Ching talks about the manifest vs. unmanifest aspects of our universe (and other aspects of unmanifest reality which are not part of this universe). As a matter of fact, the parts of Tao Te Ching that talk about the manifest vs. unmanifest actually refer to events that happened before our universe appeared.



Taoism does not emphasize the best way to get to heaven, it emphasizes the metaphysical nature of the universe, the beginning of the universe, the state of things before our universe appeared, etc. Taoism does contain teachings about how to get to heaven, but Taoism first emphasizes the teaching of how you and I came to be here, then it teaches what we should do next in our search for enlightenment and then nirvana. Taoism teaches the amazing steps of the unfolding of the universe (of which the human condition is just one small part). If you want to go straight to the part about ‘how do I get to heaven?’ then perhaps another religious tradition would work for you better.

I am very interested in learning about Taoism. I have never studied it.
 
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