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Total posts: [16]
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Looking for a Taoist:

 1 The Earth Sheep, Sat, 5th Nov '11 5:28:03 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
I recently picked up copies of the I Ching and the Tao Te Ching (or Yijing and Daodejing, I've heard it both ways and honestly don't know the difference. But the books themselves say 'T' and 'Chi', so that's my story and I'm sticking with it.), and had several questions about them, but I can't find anyone anywhere who knows anything about them (I live in a small town in the Midwest, everyone in a hundred-mile radius is a Protestant or a Mormon, and I'm only kind of exaggerating). So is anyone here a Taoist? I realize the odds are small that there is one here, so if anyone isn't a Taoist, but still knows a significant amount about the religion, I'd appreciate that as well.

Oh, and just to be clear, if there was someone who knew about Taoism, I'd ask them my questions via PM.
Still Sheepin'
You could ask Radical Taoist. I'm pretty sure they are Taoist. tongue

 3 The Earth Sheep, Sat, 5th Nov '11 5:30:19 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
[up] Actually, s/he isn't. I asked already.
Still Sheepin'
Well that's sure totally misleading...

Having read the Way of the Tao myself, here's what I came up with: it is okay to not understand. Knowledge of anything innately alters and corrupts that thing's ideal form because humans are flawed. In order to attain sagehood, one must become blank. Sagehood is void, and a return to the nothingness that created the universe frees you from the boundaries of mortal flesh and desire.

Basically its like buddhism, but more hardcore. Instead of just giving up on your desires, taoism encourages you to give up on existence entirely. That doesn't imply suicide, however - committing suicide to attain sagehood is impossible, as your last act would be out of the desire to attain something. Basically, Buddha wants you to master your desires to the point that they are no longer a part of your psyche, Lao Tzu wants you to master your own existence to the point that you surpass the notion of existence.

Its a confusing, but profound, faith, and purposefully so.
 
 6 De Marquis, Sat, 5th Nov '11 6:26:06 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
I actually know a bit about Taoism, even though I'm not a Taoist. I could try to address any questions you have. What do you want to know?
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 7 The Earth Sheep, Sat, 5th Nov '11 7:05:43 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
[up] Well, for one, my copy of the I is the James Legge translation. I know that he was around a really long time ago, does his translation still hold up?
Still Sheepin'
 8 Carciofus, Sun, 6th Nov '11 1:11:01 PM from Alpha Tucanae I
Is that cake frosting?
Basically its like buddhism, but more hardcore. Instead of just giving up on your desires, taoism encourages you to give up on existence entirely.
I may be wrong, but that's not the impression that I got from the little I have read about Taoism. It's not about rejecting your desires, not any more than it is about fulfilling them; it's about, well, being — not attempting to go "beyond", as in Buddhism, but rather about making peace with one's nature and with the nature of the universe.

So your actions should be effortless, because effort implies strife; absolute sexual abstinence is considered as improper as sexual excesses; and there is much focus on Taoism about fortune-telling, sacrifices to spirits and especially on trying to achieve immortality (something that would make no sense whatsoever in the Buddhist framework).

If anything, it seems to me (but I am no expert at all) that Taoism is somewhat similar to some varieties of European Paganism...

edited 6th Nov '11 1:15:14 PM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 9 The Earth Sheep, Sun, 6th Nov '11 5:46:07 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
[up] This. Taoism is about trying to achieve immortality, at its core. But, there are different philosophies about it.
Still Sheepin'
 10 Justice 4243, Sun, 6th Nov '11 8:00:01 PM from Portland, OR, USA
WHAT IS GOING ON?!
Sacred Texts uses that translations of BOTH books, so that's a pretty decent sign that they're close enough.

I read just a little of the Tao Te Ching off the site and it looked pretty consistent with the other versions I've read.

edited 6th Nov '11 8:01:12 PM by Justice4243

Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers.Proverbs21:15

SO JUSTICE I HEARD YOU WERE TUBESPHERING ON THE BLAGOBLAG-Blixty
 11 secretist, Mon, 7th Nov '11 1:35:19 PM from Ame no Kisaki
There are over 1440 Taoist texts, mostly not translated out of Chinese with the exception of the dozen or two that are so mostly subject to Taoism as being under a No Export for You status for religious Taoism. There are enough translated texts for philosophical Taoism though.
 12 Radical Taoist, Tue, 8th Nov '11 1:22:47 PM from the #GUniverse
scratching at .8, just hopin'
I dislike the implication that I'm not a Taoist if I'm only interested in the text from a philosophical perspective. (̣_ó)

But whatever. I use the Arthur Waley translation most of the time, though there are better. Carciofus gave a pretty good summary. I think the central idea of wu-wei ('doing nothing' is a bad translation) is that there is a natural order, a network of unguided consequences, that should be followed. This network is not directed, but it can be self-organizing, and if you strive not to fight it a lot of things just fall into place. You get more done by doing less and working with the flow of the nature than in fighting against it.

If you asked me for quickest way to summarize Taoism, I'd say something like "Nothing is perfect. Therefore, to approach perfection, emulate nothingness." It's a slapdash summary and it's not very accurate. But hey, the Tao that can be described is not the true Tao.
 13 De Marquis, Tue, 8th Nov '11 2:27:45 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Yes, you'll find more on what Tao isnt than on what it is, since by definition it cant be defined. My take on the Tao-De-Ching is that it's mostly about personal integrity, and governing oneself to be in alignment with cosmic forces. Part of the TDC (the Tao Ching) reads like a political manual for ancient rulers, and the other part (the De Ching) is more about self-development.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 14 The Earth Sheep, Tue, 8th Nov '11 8:24:45 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
[up][up] I said you weren't a Taoist because I asked you if you were a Taoist and you said no. Nothing more.
Still Sheepin'
 15 Radical Taoist, Wed, 9th Nov '11 8:22:47 AM from the #GUniverse
scratching at .8, just hopin'
[up][up]Like The Art of War, the bits that are useful in a broader "worldly" application are also useful in personal development and vice versa.

[up] lol, s'kewltongue
 16 Justice 4243, Sat, 12th Nov '11 7:23:41 PM from Portland, OR, USA
WHAT IS GOING ON?!
On further reflection and perusing of the version on Sacred texts, it's rather hard to read compared to basically every copy of the Tao Te Ching I own (Apparently, I have accumulated at least five copies of the text either through college courses or just deciding I needed/would like another copy).

If you find the translation too dense, I'd suggest tracking down another copy (shouldn't be difficult, the Tao Te Ching is something like the third most translated book in all of history after The Bible and Bhagavad Gita), The Tao Te Ching is a hard book to understand but it shouldn't be THIS hard.

Same with the I Ching, though I don't think there are as many translations. Still, a decent one shouldn't be that hard to find.

It might be worthwhile to find a few translations and compare notes between the two. Especially if you find a particularly interesting passage or chapter. The nuances of translating and also different Chinese manuscripts that have popped up over the years have made for some interesting variations within the text.

edited 12th Nov '11 8:58:31 PM by Justice4243

Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers.Proverbs21:15

SO JUSTICE I HEARD YOU WERE TUBESPHERING ON THE BLAGOBLAG-Blixty
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Total posts: 16
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