Do Taoist believe in a personal Self?

bodhi_mindisfree

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This comes from chapter 16 of the Tao Te Ching (Translated by Gia-Feng and Jane English):


Empty yourself of everything
Let the mind become still
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return
They grow and flourish and then return to the source
Returning to the source is stillness;which is the way of nature
The way of nature is unchanging
Knowing constancy is insight
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster
Knowing constancy, the mind is open
With an open mind, you will be openhearted
Being openhearted,you will act royally
Being royal, you will attain the devine
Being at one with the Tao is eternal
And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away.

Do Taoist believe in a personal self?
 

Blizzardry

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Ooooooh :)

I heard a similar thing about Buddha recently. There's a passage where Buddha says there is no permanence and self, and another where he implies the buddha mind is pemanence and the true self, and still another passage where he clears up the misunderstanding (he was talking to different people from different schools of thought and attempting to explain his thing using their own mythologies.

There's also that unchanging nature, being confused with the nature of nature being always changing. Really there's no confusion.

In my buddhist context, the self can refer to the person your name belongs to (in which case is an illusion) or the true consciousness behind everything (which isn't), depending on who Buddha was talking to and about what...

In taoism, too (which isn't just one single philosophy) there are many ideas about the self. The self in this passage is the centre of the mind which observes the thoughts and events rising and falling like waves around your feet at the edge of the seashore, which leads to the understanding that allows you to still the mind and be constant through the tumult of reality. Of course, reality is constantly changing, so remains constant in that regard.

There is no self, there is a self. Both with slightly different meanings of the word "self".
 
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