Taoism cosmology

Discussion in 'Tao' started by Lamson, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. Lamson

    Lamson New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2014
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello. I am new to the forum. Being new, I have not had time to view all the previous posts. If any questions I pose have been previously addressed, thank you in advance for pointing me to the appropriate threads here on the forum.

    One of the first threads I perused on the forum was the one on whether Taoism is a philosophy or a religion. In a nutshell, what I got is the consensus that it is both. What I have not found (thus far) is much discussion of the cosmology of Taoism.

    My understanding of the Taoist view of cosmology in a nutshell is:
    The Tao (the original Mind?)
    From the Wu Chi (nothingness)
    Created the Tai Chi (the Yin and Yang............duality)
    From the Tai Chi created the "10,000 things" (the infinite diversity of the universe)

    My personal take is that no other religion presents so simply and so eloquently a description of creation and the notion of a Creator.

    For the "show me" folks requiring scientific acceptability, the Taoist view IS the Big Bang. Though not all scientists might accept the premise that Mind deliberately precipitated the Big Bang, academia accepts the Big Bang as the most probable cosmological reality. Wu Chi to Tai Chi to Diversity does not conflict in any way with the Big Bang theory that is widely accepted in the scientific community. Nothing in the Taoist view of cosmology conflicts with nature or with the scientific explanation of nature. This is important considering that the objections posed by atheists and agnostic scientists most often revolve around the reconciliation of scientific fact and religious premises that must be taken as a matter of faith. Nothing in Taoist cosmology conflicts with science except perhaps the idea of an Original Mind.... and current physics is perhaps hinting at the necessity of that.

    I welcome anyone's thoughts. I spend a great deal of time trying to understand Reality and my place in it. Your thoughts are welcome.
     
  2. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    61
  3. Lamson

    Lamson New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2014
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nick,
    Thanks for the references. It will take some time, but I plan to apply your translations to my several translations of the Tao Te Ching. Hopefully, a more complete understanding of the ancient text will open up. I also found the Theosophical reference to "The Secret Doctrine 1:328" interesting. I will explore the Theosophical view in more depth.

    While any improvement to the translations of an ancient text is certainly valuable, the basic idea of an Original Being (or Divine Thought or Primal Cause) creating all that is from nothingness is already clear in the many translations of the Tao Te Ching.

    I am a 67 year old man who is nearing the end of life having rejected most of the religious notions I have encountered. That said, I have not rejected the notion of God. I am a Theist. Having rejected all religions which are based on the Abrahamic myth, I sought out alternatives and found Tao to be not contrary to science and not requiring leaps of faith for its premises. Unfortunately, Taoism is a teaching dusty with age and written in ancient chinese which is problematic even for contemporary chinese scholars. Taoism also has the problem of ideas being taken out of context and mass marketed for profit (you can find a book on the Tao of just about anything).

    The serious student of Taoism must wade through the piles of commercial drivel, weed out the Temple Taoist teachings which suffered the same fate through time as the Abrahimic religions, and try to arrive at the kernel of truth which many religions hold..... the existence of a Creator.

    My recent readings of two books by Robert Augros: The New Science ... and... The New Biology reinforced my Theist belief. His books, in my opinion, should be required reading for any philosophy student studying The Divine Watchmaker analogy. Mr. Augros presents an excellent case for the abandonment of the materialist view brought on by the adoption of Darwin's theory.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,551
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    Welcome.

    I think this crops up with many of the Asiatic Traditions – the same is said of Buddhism — I do rather think the distinction is a Western one, and artificial. I don't know of any traditional religion that does not possess a philosophical component, nor of any traditional philosophy that is closed to the idea of the Transcendent.

    Makes sense to me.

    I remember a scientist saying that you can tell a viable thesis when you see one, because it's simple and eloquent! E=mc2 – five characters that unlock so much!

    I tend to think the Great Traditions 'speak' to those who have the ears to hear. I think exactly the same way about the Christian Tradition.

    That's just scientific fundamentalism, or 'scientism', as some call it. I think such people assume that anyone who professes a religion is therefore an idiot.

    They also rather naively assume that a profession of science precludes any kind of faith. Again, narrow-mindedness and prejudice.

    The 'Big Bang' was first proposed by Georges Lemaître, physicist, astronomer, and Jesuit priest.

    Same applies to all the Great Traditions. It's modern secularism that likes to think so.

    I think the 'real' scientists, at least the one's I've heard, would declare 'nothing can be said for certain'. As soon as someone assumes 'scientific fact' somehow trumps everything else, you know you're talking to someone with a 'blind faith' in science!

    Sorry I can't think of any notables from your tradition, but I am in no doubt that there are.

    Welcome to IO
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    It ain't actually the scientist or secularists that don't allow religion and science to coincide....that is the dang literal fundies (in the US at least) Be they Christians or Muslims, it is this quite vocal anti evolution, anti scientific theory scripture thumpers.

    As for simplicity....it only goes so far....like E=... it was the impetus, it got us further, it opened our eyes, despite how far short it fell from being correct once we developed a deeper understanding.

    But I think that in itself speaks volumes, it is boiling essence down to a simple notion, that allows us a doorway to the expanse.

    Namaste and Welcome Lamson, I enjoyed your post.
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,551
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    Yes, the US has rather a unique problem. From what my studies tell me, 'Creationism' and 'Intelligent Design' are the products of right wing political think-tanks.

    In Europe it's the other way round. Quite recently Richard Dawkins, the erstwhile champion of the secular argument, has blotted his copybook by accusing a woman of an 'immoral act' when she chose not to abort the baby she was carrying because tests showed the child would suffer Downs Syndrome.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,551
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    Hmm ... I'm not so sure.

    Someone pointed out that some of Stephen Hawking's equations were quite complex, and were in themselves problematic. He said a sure sign of a viable equation was its simplicity, and its tendency not only to solve the problem, but to clear up problems that hadn't even been considered!

    I think the discovery of DNA was another moment of 'simplicity' – the double helix model was discovered by Watson and Crick after they abandoned a more complex structure. They were using cut-out cardboard shapes to make molecular models, and according to them, the simplified version virtually 'fell into place'.

    (I mean, the ancient Greeks had the basic principle of atomic theory, we're just using technology to look further, push back the boundaries and fill in the details!)

    To bring it back on topic, Taoist cosmology is a viable metaphysic (based on what little I know of it) – it's not that the simple only goes so far, it's rather that the simple goes further than anyone expected.
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    61
    "It ain't actually the scientist or secularists that don't allow religion and science to coincide..."

    --> For me, there is no conflict between true religion and true science.
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    yup, Exactly
     
  10. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    61
    "Location: a figment of your imagination"

    --> What happened? Did Maryland disappear into the Rapture, maybe nirvana, or something like that...?
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    if you think you know wil, that is not the real wil...
     
  12. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    61
    First two lines of the Wil Te Ching:

    已入可已入, 非常已入。(Yǐrù kě yǐrù, fēicháng yǐrù.)
    From the eternal Wil came the manifest Wil.

    無已入天地之始。(Wú yǐrù tiāndì zhī shǐ.)
    From the Unmanifest Wil and the manifest Wil came the heaven and earth.

    (I rendered Wil into Chinese as Yǐ​rù​ (已入), which means, "to already be there." Nice going, Wil!)
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    Oh, my, we are ruining a perfectly good thread... But I've been wondering what my chinese name would be...and now I just got one!!!

    Is that Mandarin? and how would it be pronounced? and what are the other three definitions of the pronunciations with differing inflections?

    I love it, I'm excited! (and my apologies to Lamson when s/he returns)
     
  14. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    61
    Yes, it is Mandarin. I have included the pronunciations as later-editing.

    Yǐ​rù​ (已入, "Wil") is always pronounced as, well, Yǐ​rù​. I'm not sure what you mean by "the other three". The Yǐ​rù​ pronunciation does not change. In order to understand how to pronounce it from a westerner's point of view, just accent the second syllable, and that will give you a pretty good approximation to how to pronounce it in Chinese.

    無已入 (wú yǐrù) translates as "the eternal and non-existing Wil." What a concept!
     
  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    I thought there were four inflections... flat, up, down, down n up?? which made each "word" four different words?
     
  16. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    61
    Oh, now I see what you are saying. There are four tones. For example, the syllable yi can be pronounced as yī, yí, yǐ, and yì. But these four ways of putting tones on a syllable do not guarantee that they are real words. As another example, we can mathematically combine p with a and come up with pā, pá, pă, and pà, but I would not call them four different words. There may be a word yí​rù, but that does not guarantee that there is a word yì​rú.

    (These doggone tones drive me crazy, and make learning Chinese extremely difficult. Thank goodness there are no tones in Japanese!)
     
  17. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    Yeah, I once heard a tongue twister with ma...something about a mother beating a cow... and I know they aren't all there...but I am concerned with mispronunciation and the meaning getting goofed up... Are there other words? and if so what are their meanings? It looks like the tone you are showing is down right?
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    I recall a tongue twister teaching the tones with four variations of ma, something about a mother beating a cow? So are there other yirus? I'd like to know if I mispronounce (it is a down tone yes?) what the other definitions are...
     
  19. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    61
    Yǐ​rù​: Yǐ is down-up , and ​rù​ is down ​. Does that make sense?
     
  20. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    61

Share This Page