Do Taoist believe in a personal Self?

Discussion in 'Tao' started by bodhi_mindisfree, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. bodhi_mindisfree

    bodhi_mindisfree Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2006
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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?
  2. Blizzardry

    Blizzardry Atheist Messiah

    Nov 29, 2006
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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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