Jesus the Taoist?

Discussion in 'Tao' started by theocritus, May 27, 2006.

  1. theocritus

    theocritus New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2005
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've started a book by Stephen T. Chang called The Great Tao. When I first glanced through it it appears to be a comprehensive look at Tao in our reality. My question to you all is if you have heard the reference to Jesus being a Taoist. He is making reference that many Taoist believe Jesus to be a Taoist and actually achieve a certain level of immortality that the book claims Taoist believe.

    Looking for opinions and other text as reference that I can check in to.
     
  2. jiii

    jiii ...

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    3
    Well, what would be the qualification for him to be termed a Taoist?

    He certainly was not a shaman of the early days of Chinese Taoism. After all, he had a new spiritual message, one that was particularly non-pantheistic. In fact, the tradition erected in his worship has been talking all about 'pagans' (pantheists) in a very negative perspective for hundreds of years now.

    Perhaps he was a contemplative Taoist? But, we never read of him quoting anything from Lao-Tzu, Chuang-Tzu, Lieh-Tzu, or any other works that had been the essential gems of Taoist literature and oral tradition for years.

    As far as we know, he never received instruction in Tai-Chi-Chuan. He never met any Chinese Taoists priests, or philosophers, or healers. He doesn't mention breathing excercises or formal meditation or contemplation subjects as we might expect of orthodox Taoist teachers.

    The Taoist of immortality and longevity has many peculiar habits and traditions, as well. None of these are seen in Jesus's teachings or commentary.

    Of course, one can be Taoist in some sense of the term, I suppose, without having any distinct indicators. I am open to that possibility. But I do think that it is unlikely, as we would expect to see at least some aspect of Taoism revealed without much Western re-interpretation if Jesus had been learned in Taoist disciplines or thought in his lifetime. This, especially, considering that he was a man that dedicated his life to spirituality and would likely have mentioned at least something of his affinity for Taoism in his time if he had, in fact, familiarized himself happily with such a distinctly Chinese thought or practice.
     
  3. inhumility

    inhumility New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is no doubt that Jesus had a journey to India, after the incident of crucifixion from which he survived, and he visited many part of India, he lived in India and he died in this part of the world, went as far as Lhasa in Tibet bordering China, he definitely had a contact with the Buddhists so might be he contacted the Taoists also. I suggest a thought provoking book Jesus in India ”.
    There is another interesting website: http://www.tombofjesus.com/home.htm
    Thanks
     
  4. jiii

    jiii ...

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    3
    Well, to say 'no doubt' is a bit of an exaggeration. Jesus' time in the East is still in its theoretical stages as far as I could determine.

    After all, if Jesus did take a tour of the East, then why is it that he didn't:

    -Express sentiments to a shamanic Taoist pantheism, instead expressing beliefs that were notably monotheistic?

    -He speak of a single meeting between himself and ordained Taoist priests?

    -Practice any rituals of Hsien Taoism?

    -Note in any time in his life anything from the canon of Taoist literature that was circulating at the time?

    If Jesus is to be called a Taoist in ANY sense of the term, then conjecture concerning a trip he might have made to the East doesn't guarantee a single thing, really. I imagine that this theory about the easterly travels of Jesus is still a theory because Jesus, in all his modern day fanfare, doesn't reflect a single ounce of Taoism or other Eastern traditions in his teachings, habits, rituals, commentaries, and sermons.

    Even if Jesus DID travel East, which is still theoretical, that doesn't mean that he did anything but show up and preach for a while. He clearly is not spoken of as participating with people of other religions in their worship or learn of their philosophies. In that respect, Jesus certainly would not be a Taoist himself. If I travel East, myself, then it'll be a vacation. I'm not likely going to come back a Hindu, right? If the Pope vacationed to the East, would anything concerning his religion change at all? I don't think so. So, the aspect of Jesus being a Taoist is really unaffected by theories about Jesus' travels, because these theories don't actually give us any information as to Jesus' being a Taoist or not. They simply propose that he may have been around some Taoists at some point...maybe. This would help back up any claims of Jesus' being a Taoist, but because there is no reason to believe he was a Taoist in the first place (that is, based on what we know of him as an individual), it is merely a coincidental piece of unrelated, theoretical information, really. Jesus' being in the East is still theory, and furthermore wouldn't necessarily mean he adapted ANY religion of the East at all during his travels.
     
  5. theocritus

    theocritus New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2005
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    To me being a Taoist has nothing to do with reading the Tao Te Ching or practicing any shamanic qualities of Taoism. Taoism existed before Lao Tsu and will always exist if text and ritual are here or not. In the bit I have read I feel Taoism is not a collection of text or rituals. It is explained through many writings of those that follow Tao and Lao Tsu happens to be the most well known. No ritual other than living and experiencing the now is necessary in my mind. Since I believe Tao has always existed there is no need to be instructed in any of the above to be a Taoist.


    If Jesus were a Taoist he would be the truest in my opinion as Taoism was first named before the schools of though split. My knowledge of the bible is very limited but I do recall it being said that there is a large gap in the life of Jesus. Where did he go and what did he do? What if the term “Tao” was not known to him and he was trying to explain things in a way of his home would understand. To know the word or term “Tao” or its teachers is not necessary to being a Taoist.


    Please educate me in pantheism Taoism. I thought Taoist believed in the eternal Tao. No where have I read that Taoism is pantheism. Pantheism is defined as:
    1. A doctrine identifying the Deity with the universe and its phenomena.
    2. Belief in and worship of all gods.


    Monotheism is defined as:
    1. the doctrine or belief that there is but one God


    Do Taoist believe in more than one Tao (God) [I see Tao as a God of no ego]. Also the definition of pantheism suggest the “worship of all gods”. From what I've read I've found no mention of Taoism supporting the worship of any thing. Maybe humility could be shown as a sort of worship. Humility seen Taoism is a worship of all things in life not to a deity of any kind.
     
  6. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    8
    I'm curious - which areas of Taoism do you think have a direct synergy with Christianity?

    Simply because a figure teaching about how to relate to a Jewish perception of God, seems somewhat at odds with teachings of an impersonal Tao.
     
  7. jiii

    jiii ...

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    3
    Well, the four points I mentioned were simply covering the entire gamut of what is usually called Taoism. I did not intend to convey that Jesus, were he a Taoist, would have necessarily exhibited all four traits. My point was in showing that Jesus did not leave us any evidence that he exhibited a single variety of Taoist thought, practice, or influence. Three of the points I mentioned referred to: contemplative Taoism (Lao-Tzu), orthodox Taoism (the tradition of Taoist religion that persists even today), Hsien Taoism (a rather eccentric form that strove for immortality).

    My addition of 'shamanic Taoist pantheism' to this list (there are a total of four points mentioned) was simply for the purpose of covering all bases. Taoism is believed by some to have developed from a prehistoric pantheistic/shamanic tradition (as most world ancient/prehistoric traditions did). Now, this is certainly not proven to be true, and I wouldn't necessarily argue that it is true. However, if it is true, then the monotheistic vision expressed by Christ couldn't be much further from the ancient roots of Taoism. I was reaching back as far as we can go with theory to determine if Jesus exhibited anything that could be characteristically called 'taoist'. This particular point is the least important of the four, as it is, indeed, theoretical. The other three are the most important, in this case.

    Now, if you are asking if Jesus was certifiably a Taoist...the answer is most certainly NO. At least, that is, in so far as there is no reason to believe he was a Taoist anymore than there is reason to believe he was a Buddhist or a Sufi or what have you. I repeat...there is no reason in particular to believe that he was a Taoist. What about the missing portion of his life? Many spiritual icons of history have portions of their life unaccounted for...it happens...he lived over two-thousand years ago, after all. It is amazing that we know what we do about him...then again, the vast body of theory, conjecture, and debate as to the specifics of his life leads me to wonder how much of what is normally held to be fact about his life was merely hearsay that falls apart under closer scrutiny.

    Now, I myself am often skeptical of conclusions based upon a lack of evidence rather than a plentiful array of historical verifications. So, is it POSSIBLE that Jesus could have been a Taoist? I guess...after all, we don't know either way. However, he did not exhibit anything that would lead us to believe that he had experience with any of the major varieties of Taoism that developed in the East. If you believe that Jesus exhibited Taoist traits based on your personal interpretation of Taoism, then I guess nobody can argue with that. After all, it's your viewpoint. There would have to be a whole discussion on 'What is Taoism?' to go any further (and that's not likely to conclude with much coherence). Although Taoism can be talked about in many ways, AND although Tao is certainly something considered ungraspable in many respects, there are USUALLY some symptoms of the Taoist attitude that ARE critically recognizable. Whether it be throwbacks from prehistoric shamanic Taoism, a taste for Lao-Tzu, some of the eccentricities of Hsien, or some orthodox practices from a priesthood of Taoists...Jesus exhibited none of these things.
     
  8. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    8
    No problem, and thank you for the reply - I was actually aiming that at theocritus as he raised the argument that Jesus was Taoist.

    Hm...Jesus as a Buddhist - now there's a new thread. ;)
     
  9. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,612
    Likes Received:
    0
    http://members.aol.com/didymus5/thomas.html

    This link will take you to the text of a very informative text that was written by Herbert Christian Merillat, an emeritus professor at Yale University. The book details the travels and legends surrounding Judas Thomas, the reputed brother of Jesus, and who was known as "didymus" (twin-twin). The text was published under the title, The Gnostic Apostle Thomas, "Twin" of Jesus, in 1997. By clicking on the link at the bottom of each section one can read the entire book online. IMO, it is well researched and written, and very worth the time.

    Now, since the concept of suffering forms part of the conceptual core of both Christian and Bhuddist beliefs, this text might give insights into the reason(s) for such crossover forms of belief. There have also been books written concerning travel to the Asian subcontinent by Jesus during his life or shortly after he died. IMO, these writings and speculations likely stem from this set of stories and legends regarding the Apostle Thomas' travels in the thirty or so years after Jesus' death.

    flow....:)
     
  10. theocritus

    theocritus New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2005
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    In my original post I was just posting the question to you all. I really am not well versed on the life or teachings of Jesus but that an interesting idea and was just curious if any one else had heard the agrument.

    A good friend of mine believes Jesus was a Taoist. He doesn't see Jesus tied to any thing specifically Taoist as most would label. I only claim Taoism because it is the closest I believe. Honestly I don't really believe or like labels of any kind. Other than a descriptions most names are just labels. Taoism is a label for some thing indescribable but it is there.
     
  11. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    8
    No problem at all, theocritus. :)

    It's a topic I've heard raised before, and is certainly worth discussing. :)
     
  12. inhumility

    inhumility New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    I did't meant that Jesus became a Taoist.I only meant that Jesus went to India after the incident of crucifixion.In India at that point in time there were residing many lost tribes of Israel ,to whom Jesus was sent by God.Those tribes had become Buddhists meanwhile,they and also other Buddhists were waiting for Bugwa Maiterya,which prophecy of Buddha had been fullfilled in Jesus so they all accepted Jesus as their religious leader.Jesus married in India and had children,his mother Mary,Mary Magdalene and saint Thomas also went to India.Jesus died in India and his tomb is in Sirinagar.
    Thanks
     
  13. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    8
    I'm confused - how can a monotheist radical be both a Taoist teacher AND the fulfillment of Buddhism? :)
     
  14. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,612
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hmmmmmmm... the more I learn about Jesus and his works and sayings, the more I believe that he probably was sent here to confuse humanity. All is babel.

    flow....;)
     
  15. AletheiaRivers

    AletheiaRivers New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    1
    Jesus's parables were certainly koan-like in nature. One author I've been reading says that his parables are meant to short circuit your brain, to upset your applecart, to push you out of ego/dual based/brain mode and into metanoia/non-dual based/heart mode.

    Whew!
     
  16. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,612
    Likes Received:
    0
    Would a fair translation of what you said be that Jesus intended to steer human thinking from the I/you based theater of rationality and logical discourse, into the realm of emotional rhetoric and subjective reactions ?
    Put simply Socratic discussion vs. Italian opera ?

    Taking a break ?

    flow....;)
     
  17. inhumility

    inhumility New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    There would be no confusion if one ponders over following points:
    • There was a Prophecy (and is still there in Judaism) in the Bible regarding coming of Moshiach.
    • That Prophecy was symbolic, like the most prophecies always are, but the Jewish priesthood took it literal and material which is their fault. God is not bound by what the clergy thinks. He sent Moshiach in the shape of Jesus s/o Mary of Nazareth, and the prophecy of Moshiach was fulfilled in him. True that he was a Monotheist, like all Jews are, and he was sent by God for all the twelve tribes of Israel.
    • At that time only two tribes were in Judea, and the rest had been exiled and they were settled in far off lands, in now Afghanistan, Kashmir, and NWFP province of Pakistan, Gilgit, Chitral, Tibet and northern India. This is a fact and confirmed by history. While living in this part of the world they became followers of Buddha (of black skin) who had prophesized coming of a Bugwa Maitya (white skinned Buddha) also known as Maitreya.
    • When Jesus escaped death on Cross, he went to these far off lands to deliver message of God to these Israelis. So all these Israelis follower of Buddha, also a monotheists, accepted him as a true prophet of God.
    This is in short the truth about Jesus and his going to India and Tibet and other parts of India. If there is still confusion then that point will be further explained.
    Thanks
     
  18. AletheiaRivers

    AletheiaRivers New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ummm, no. :p

    The intent (imo) is to steer human thinking from subject/object duality into non-duality (theosis).

    The father and I are one.

    You are the branches and I am the vine.

    Etc ... etc...

    (Hey, I couldn't take a break forever.):D
     
  19. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,612
    Likes Received:
    0
    AR

    I agree with your interpretation of Jesus' intent in his utterances. I guess I was being influenced too much by current events because it seems Christians are performing ONE HUGE Italian Opera these day. And it's off key and tempo too much of the time.

    Of all the terms I've heard to describe what we as Christians should strive to be in our situation is "Created Co-Creators". I heard that from a group of noted theologians at the University of Chicago in the 80's and it still rings true to me.

    We all live in a highly adversarial group of societies, so the oneness that Jesus envisioned, advocated, and talked about seems to be retracting further from our collective vision and reach each day/week/month/year as we enter into conflict with one another, most of the time unwillingly and unwittingly.

    I knew you couldn't stay away. But, enjoy your time away !

    flow....:)
     
  20. soma

    soma New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Taoism takes its name from the word "Tao" ("the Way") that makes harmony possible. Not an ultimate, the Tao is found in the world (in nature) and can be encountered directly through mystical experience. It is the reality and natural way for humans to follow.

    Now, if we think of Jesus not at a person, but as Christ consicousness, an inner path to unity through deep and mindful living, we can start to see similarities.

    "Tao" is not a person, it is a force, a principle and most Christians think "Jesus" is a person and they want him to live in their heart, and they want to live in him, in his Mystical Body. They want to do this in his Church by just having faith in him and they will be saved so this interpretation can't mean the Tao, but if we go deeper as Christ consciousness we can start to see similarities.

    The "Tao" is indefinable. It has to be experienced. It is a power which envelopes, surrounds and flows through all things, living and non-living, which would incorporate Christ and Christians.

    The true spiritual aspirants learn about Christ, the power of the soul and the ocean of pure consciousness referred to as the Father. This brings them to the source of their being so they can experience the primordial waters themselves and not just hear descriptions about it. It is in their realization and intensity where they gain the power to see the second coming of Christ in consciousness. Therefore, The Christ way is to lay aside our fears, doubts and worries so we can enter into a silent, peaceful contemplation of Christ consciousness in everything,which includes the "Tao".

    Taoism and Christianity are paths for the ego to surrender to the "Tao" or Christ consciousness within our being. Instead of running after endless objects, our minds are able to enjoy all the things that are surrounding them in the here and now.
     

Share This Page