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Author Topic: MasterMischief Explores Taoism  (Read 14501 times)

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Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #125 on: April 18, 2012, 09:03:29 AM »
Thought for today: Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #126 on: May 06, 2012, 04:55:49 PM »
Your attitude while still in the world
Should be open and free,
saving others from the grief of discontent.

The benefits you leave after you are gone
Should flow the length of time,
steeping others in feelings of ease.

--Hung Ying-ming The Unencumbered Spirit

Leave the world a little better than you found it.  What energy do you put into your relationships?  Is it positive?  If you died tomorrow, what would you want your legacy to be?  Would it be your job?  Do you put as much energy into what you want to be your legacy as you do your job?

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #127 on: May 17, 2012, 06:58:32 PM »
I was reading Tao: The Watercourse Way.  One of the quotes kind of stuck me.  It was something attributed to Lao Tzu and it was in the line of "Without laughter, the Tao would not be what it is."

Immediately, my mind fired back, "Without sorrow, the Tao would not be what it is."  The Buddhists say that life is suffering and then try to avoid suffering.  But isn't that trying to avoid life?  Doesn't suffering simply hollow out a space for joy to refill?

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Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #128 on: May 17, 2012, 07:13:28 PM »
Without light, what is darkness?  Without darkness, what is light?

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #129 on: May 17, 2012, 08:39:14 PM »
And we are right back to the symbol of Taoism, yin/yang.

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Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #130 on: May 17, 2012, 08:51:09 PM »
*bows*  ;)

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #131 on: May 19, 2012, 04:52:24 PM »
I always appreciate your input Oniya.

Off topic, I would be very interested in discussing your own beliefs if you would be willing.  If I remember correctly, you classify yourself as a branch of Paganism, correct?

Offline AndyZ

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #132 on: May 19, 2012, 11:50:37 PM »
When people see things as beautiful,
ugliness is created.
When people see things as good,
evil is created.

Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other.

Therefore the Master
can act without doing anything
and teach without saying a word.
Things come her way and she does not stop them;
things leave and she lets them go.
She has without possessing,
and acts without any expectations.
When her work is done, she take no credit.
That is why it will last forever.


Is the ultimate objective to be completely impartial to everything?  That seems impractical.  Not to mention, Taoism seems to dislike absolutes.

Is it that we should simply be mindful of the duality of the universe?  I certainly see plenty of examples of that in my life.  For everything I find beautiful, someone else will find it ugly.  You can not have light without darkness.  Does it follow that we must have evil then?  Must we accept it?

I'm not Taoist, but I would consider myself a philosopher.  I haven't read through everything in this thread, but if my random thoughts and input would be welcome, I'll try.  If it's undesired, you have but to let me know and I'll quit.

First, I would say that with many things involving a master or an end goal, anything which involves a path is simply planting down a north star.  Similar in some ways to a WWJD bracelet, it provides an end path that someone faced with indecision might look towards this guidance in a moment of trouble.

What this [poem?  stanza?  tenet?  not sure the word] reminds me of is a dictator attempting to control everything, and efforts to counteract that.  One of the chapters in my novel is named "A closed fist is smaller than spread fingers" in a similar attempt to explain how when you attempt to control everything, you can't accomplish nearly as much as when you work alongside the natural order of things.

Now, that doesn't mean that you don't do anything, but it seems to me more of a spiritual Judo.  In Judo, you use the assailant's force rather than trying to counter with your own, if I remember it correctly.  It seems like a guiding hand would work best as a light touch instead of an irresistable force.

I don't know if that explanation makes any sense or not.  If it does and you want me to try to look at some of the others, please repost them since I'm iffy on which have and haven't been discussed already.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #133 on: May 21, 2012, 09:25:17 PM »
I was reading Tao: The Watercourse Way.  One of the quotes kind of stuck me.  It was something attributed to Lao Tzu and it was in the line of "Without laughter, the Tao would not be what it is."

Immediately, my mind fired back, "Without sorrow, the Tao would not be what it is."  The Buddhists say that life is suffering and then try to avoid suffering.  But isn't that trying to avoid life?  Doesn't suffering simply hollow out a space for joy to refill?

Interesting, and I do like the dualism inherent in that interpretation; though I would propose a different take. Laughter and sorrow aren't really opposites. Joy, happiness, etc. and sorrow are opposites. However, laughter is something else; and, importantly, it's not just happiness that invokes laughter (e.g. the absurd or even anxiety). Laughter is a physical reaction that lies beyond our control. It's something that happens to us. And you can't really fake it. In that way it is like the Tao, it's something ineffable and in some ways unavoidable. You can laugh when you least expect it and sometimes when you yearn and strive for it, it escapes you.

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Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #134 on: May 21, 2012, 10:14:28 PM »
I always appreciate your input Oniya.

Off topic, I would be very interested in discussing your own beliefs if you would be willing.  If I remember correctly, you classify yourself as a branch of Paganism, correct?

It's an - unusual branch of Paganism.  I'm not sure it's the best thing to put it out in public, but I'd be willing to discuss it in private.

Offline Kirce

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #135 on: May 22, 2012, 07:13:02 AM »
Books that I really recommend about Taoism or related to it:

Tao Te King (John C. H. Wu version)

I Ching (Thomas Cleary)

Analects (Simon Leys)

Art of War I & II (Thomas Cleary)

Lie Tse (Eva Wong)

Chuang Tse (Martin Palmer and Elizabeth Breuilly)

Wen-Tzu (Thomas Cleary)

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #136 on: May 30, 2012, 08:23:42 AM »
I'm not Taoist, but I would consider myself a philosopher.  I haven't read through everything in this thread, but if my random thoughts and input would be welcome, I'll try.

Your random thoughts are most welcome.

Now, that doesn't mean that you don't do anything, but it seems to me more of a spiritual Judo.  In Judo, you use the assailant's force rather than trying to counter with your own, if I remember it correctly.  It seems like a guiding hand would work best as a light touch instead of an irresistable force.

I don't know if that explanation makes any sense or not.  If it does and you want me to try to look at some of the others, please repost them since I'm iffy on which have and haven't been discussed already.

It makes sense, but let's take an extreme example.  Unprovoked murder.  Do we just say, "Stop or I'll say stop again"?

Well maybe.

Interesting, and I do like the dualism inherent in that interpretation; though I would propose a different take. Laughter and sorrow aren't really opposites. Joy, happiness, etc. and sorrow are opposites. However, laughter is something else; and, importantly, it's not just happiness that invokes laughter (e.g. the absurd or even anxiety). Laughter is a physical reaction that lies beyond our control. It's something that happens to us. And you can't really fake it. In that way it is like the Tao, it's something ineffable and in some ways unavoidable. You can laugh when you least expect it and sometimes when you yearn and strive for it, it escapes you.

Point.  I think what my mind was trying to tell me is that this is a non-starter.  And maybe it is something that needs to be pointed out to others who have not caught on to this yet.  If the Tao is everything, then removing any one part makes the Tao not be the same as it is.  Does everything have a purpose even if we do not see it yet?

It's an - unusual branch of Paganism.  I'm not sure it's the best thing to put it out in public, but I'd be willing to discuss it in private.

Fair enough.  I will send you a PM.  I always enjoy your insight.

Books that I really recommend about Taoism or related to it:

Thanks for the recommendations.

Offline Kirce

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #137 on: May 31, 2012, 12:40:52 PM »
You're welcome!

Offline Sure

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #138 on: May 31, 2012, 04:09:51 PM »
Out of a sense of curiosity, do you ascribe to a particularly branch of Daoism? If not, what rituals, beliefs, and rites do you ascribe to, and would you mind telling me how you chose these specifically? If you perform no rites/rituals/pick a word, how do you justify this? Also, I believe I saw you in another thread saying something to the effect that you mix in Buddhism (if you never said this, my apologies and ignore this question). How do you reconcile the differing beliefs of these two systems, particularly with regards to death?

PS: I say 'Daosim' not to be contrary, but because I'm used to writing Daoism, and if I write Taoism I'm going to end up writing Daoism by accident instead sometimes and it's better to just be consistent.

Edit: Missed a space, decided to edit.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 05:27:57 PM by Sure »

Offline AndyZ

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #139 on: May 31, 2012, 11:19:43 PM »
Your random thoughts are most welcome.

Glad to hear.  I'll set this to Notify then and watch for your thoughts on specific points.  Nudge me if I ever get too far from the Tao, as I admit my inexperience with it, but I have enough understanding of philosophy that I can probably hold my own.

Quote
It makes sense, but let's take an extreme example.  Unprovoked murder.  Do we just say, "Stop or I'll say stop again"?

Well maybe.

Let's consider that everything has a reason, that people act a certain way as a result of their lives, and that human beings are capable of listening to reason and changing their ways.

Unprovoked murder, therefore, is an effect, not a cause.  To get to the heart of the matter, we must examine the reason that an unprovoked murder would take place.  Of course, unprovoked would suggest that there was no cause, but every effect requires a cause, if only that the murderer was completely psychotic.

I'm getting far too esoteric for my liking, so I'm going to drop down to another example.

Although I would expect that anyone who witnesses an attempted murdering would be compelled to immediate action, such instances within our lives are rare and extreme, and such actions would likewise be rare and extreme.  It is difficult for one to engage in a heated problem without oneself becoming heated as well, and it seems like passions and extremes would run contrary to these teachings.

Now, there will always be those who engage in heated matters, who handle violence in defense of the common person.  I would say that many policemen (and arguably military members, but this gets grayer) put their lives on the line so that the ordinary person does not have to fear a life of perpetual violence.  It seems as though a Master would seek to avoid becoming a law officer in order to avoid that aspect of life.

I could see an argument that a true Master would see the murder before it came to pass.  Being aware and accepting of the world, perhaps a Master observed Mr. A get cut off by Mr. B while driving, and Mr. A pulls over to suddenly go to a gun store.  (An unlikely example, but it's spur of the moment and I'm tired.)  There are many actions which the Master might take, from begging Mr. A for money, to chatting him up in conversation, and if those fail, perhaps more extreme methods might be necessary such as calling a tow truck on Mr. A's car.  If the Master must resort to such drastic methods, however, perhaps he is not a Master at all.

I feel as though a true Master would be able to set up a situation such that the Master seems completely uninvolved, making it seem as though life itself wanted Mr. A to learn a lesson.  In a movie, Mr. A might be driving erratically, trying to catch up with Mr. B in order to ram his car.  I could see a Master doing any number of things such as calling the cops that someone is speeding, to a movie example of splashing a bucket of water upon the street in order to force Mr. A to retake control of his vehicle.  Mr. A may even learn a lesson that his haste and anger nearly led to the destruction of his vehicle and perhaps even a life.  Then again, maybe not, but it's not in the nature of the Master to rub it in.

I've seen a number of movies and anime where a travelling martial artist will witness a crime either about to take place or soon after, and will make events occur in similar matters to this.  An assailant's gun might mysteriously be out of bullets (because the martial artist "borrowed" them) or a barrel might accidentally fall onto the assailant, not injuring him but pinning down his arms so that he can't fire.  Even though the martial artist is more than capable of turning an inexperienced gunman into hamburger, he chooses a path with less resistance.

Although this method would work for short-term solutions, it does nothing to get to the root of the problem.  The gunman had some cause, some reason for attempting to shoot the man, and there is little reason to expect that he won't try again next time.

Locking the gunman up does nothing to actually address this problem, but simply ensures that the gunman is physically incapable of shooting his intended victim.  This requires a degree of force equal to the amount that the gunman is willing to exert in order to free himself, which means that prison guards must keep him confined.

It seems like a true Master would look for another way, perhaps speaking with the man and learning what reason he might have for attempting murder.  If the problem can be resolved peacefully, no force need be indefinitely maintained in keeping the two separated.

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #140 on: June 02, 2012, 04:55:52 PM »
Out of a sense of curiosity, do you ascribe to a particularly branch of Daoism?

Possibly, but I would not know what name to put to that branch.  I think it is important to point out I do not classify myself as a Taoist.  As the title of this thread should suggest, I am exploring Taoism.  Trying to see if it makes sense for me.  Some of it does, but then there are parts of Christianity that make sense for me as well.  I certainly do not classify myself a Christian.  Nor does that stop me from reading the Bible or other Christian writings when something strikes my fancy.

If not, what rituals, beliefs, and rites do you ascribe to, and would you mind telling me how you chose these specifically? If you perform no rites/rituals/pick a word, how do you justify this?

I have absolutely no room for mysticism, so I do not currently practice any rituals or rites.  I am curious about meditation because I keep hearing such positive things about it.  However, I doubt I would ever see it as a spiritual ritual.  It would be something I would do for its own benefits: relaxation, focus, what have you.

My own beliefs?  That is a lengthy subject.  I do not believe in a god or even some kind of supreme intelligence.  However, I acknowledge that our knowledge is limited and that there could be something out there we have yet to observe.  Considering man's long history of creating things that do not exists, I simply find it unlikely.

The universe does seem to have its own way about itself.  Not in an intelligence like way, it simply is the way it is.  Taoism seems to hint at this, but to also give some kind of purpose behind it.  I do not really believe there is a purpose behind it, but I do see utility in trying to to go against the way things are.  Of course, there are areas where I break that belief as well .  I am not convinced that doing nothing about gay rights (for one thing) is the best course of action.

As far as Taoism is concerned, I see utility in being more aware of my surroundings and how my own actions affect those surroundings.  As I mentioned above, I see utility in not always fighting against the way things are.  I see utility in finding new perspectives.  I see utility in acting efficiently.  These things, I see as part of Taoism.  It is entirely likely they are my own interpretation and not at all what the 'masters' intended.  I am perfectly cool with that.  I do not want to be like Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu or even Jesus.  I want to be me, but with wisdom.

Also, I believe I saw you in another thread saying something to the effect that you mix in Buddhism (if you never said this, my apologies and ignore this question). How do you reconcile the differing beliefs of these two systems, particularly with regards to death?

Refusing to classify myself as a Taoist, Buddhist or even Christian, I feel free to mix whatever beliefs I want.  I think there already is a great deal of blurring between Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism already.  That is probably its own thread.

I reconcile the differences by which ever one makes the most sense to me.  I believe some sects of Buddhism believe in reincarnations, but I am not sure they all do.  My exploration of Taoism seems to suggest that when we die we simply become part of the universe again.  It seems rather vague, but for me, it fits that we just push up daisies.  I do not believe in a soul or afterlife.  My body is made up of elements that existed before I was conscious and will continue to exist after I am no longer conscious.  I do not worry about it and I do not fear it.  It is just the way things are.

And as an example of something I have taken from Taoism (and, again, this may be my own interpretation), I have come to the conclusion that I would not want to live forever anyway.  If I lived forever, life would not be the precious gift that it is.  It would eventually become a burden and I would likely want to die.  So I accept that it is what it is.  I should appreciate the now.

PS: I say 'Daosim' not to be contrary, but because I'm used to writing Daoism, and if I write Taoism I'm going to end up writing Daoism by accident instead sometimes and it's better to just be consistent.

I am reading the Watercourse Way and the author is just now talking about how one goes about romanizing Chinese.  It seems the scholars can not agree, so I do not worry about it.  When it comes right down to it, I am only interested in what the Tao can do for me.  I do not care if it wants to be called The Tao or The Dao or The Way or even The Golden Chicken.  ;D

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #141 on: June 13, 2012, 03:26:59 PM »
All things have their backs to the female
 and stand facing the male.
 When male and female combine,
 all things achieve harmony.

--Tao te Ching 42 Stephen Mitchell translation

To me, this immediately meant moderation.  I also got the feeling that there was a hint that 'female' here meant 'bad'.  Not that Lao Tzu was saying that female is bad, but that society seems to believe that.  Feminine is weak, yielding and that is to be avoided.  Except, no.  Sometimes you should strike and sometimes you should retreat.  One is not inherently less than the other, they are simply different and work well when applied at the right time.  Moderation.

Yeah, stuff is starting to click which makes me wonder if it is time to move on to something else.  Everything clicks if you put enough into it, right?  Should I moderate my exploration of Taoism?   ;D

Offline AndyZ

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #142 on: June 13, 2012, 03:41:45 PM »

I think Yin was female and Yang was male.  Together, they make the symbol for harmony, where everything fits together.

Interestingly, on the symbol, each side seems to face the other's back, and turn away from the other's front.  I might be being too literal, though.

I'm definitely going to agree that any philosophy is "tarnished" to some degree by the society in which it exists.  The best thing you can do is simply catch them consciously and discard them, as you have done.

No argument that once things click, you can stop persuing them, or at least look for the more advanced versions.  Perhaps you should only stop for a while, see how things work compared to how applied.  Is there some sort of "test" you can take?

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #143 on: June 13, 2012, 05:16:46 PM »
Interesting that you followed me here.  Lao Tzu would agree with you that government needs to be much, much smaller.

I am not aware of any test.  I was more of a mind of researching another religion for a while.  Until it started to 'click'.  I have not poked around Islam much.

Offline AndyZ

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #144 on: June 13, 2012, 05:20:04 PM »
I'm the one who mentioned my own random philosophy and then went on to talk about the master and controlling everything vs. spiritual Judo.  There's definitely some correlation, though ^_^

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #145 on: June 17, 2012, 09:16:31 AM »
Lao Tzu seemed to be suspicious of language.  Here on E, labels are often considered things of evil.  Labels do rely heavily on assumptions.  However, I think that those assumptions are absolutely necessary for quick communication.  They remain useful tools, but like Lao Tzu, perhaps we should be suspicious of them.

I find that I base many of my assumptions (and maybe most people do) on the words other people use.  For instance, and this is just the first one that popped into my mind as striking an emotional reaction and immediate judgment on the person who would use it, 'libtard'.  This board is largely liberal, so I think most people would have the same emotional reaction to such a label.

Instead of verifying many of the assumptions I immediately have about someone who would use such a word, I go on the defensive.  I think, for me, that may be a mistake.  In all likelihood, I know nothing about this person.  I do not know what life experiences they have had which colors their perception (and all of our perceptions are colored by our own life experiences).  Even if this person is exactly who I think they are, going on the defensive accomplishes nothing.  It is tilting at windmills.  It is likely there is nothing I can say in the next minute, hour,days or even weeks that will ever change their mind.  Change just does not happen that way.  It is better I learn something from them.  That can happen in minutes.

Water does not try to carve the Earth.  It just flows where it can.  And in doing so, it does carve the Earth.

Offline AndyZ

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #146 on: June 18, 2012, 01:26:13 AM »
I think you can use labels without being insulting.  While "libtard" is obviously insulting, calling someone a "llama" would not be if there's some non-pejorative reason for calling someone such.

For every insulting label, there's usually a non-insulting label.  Can you call someone gay, or socialist, or the like without being insulting?  Yes, if they actually are these things.  If we're unable to use words to describe, then either we utterly fail in any attempt at communication, or we must by luck end up with someone who thinks exactly as we do, so that anything uncertain must by default mean the same thing to both people.

Now, there are certainly words which serve no other purpose than to insult, because non-insulting labels already exist.  When we fall into the issue that we can no longer converse civilly and fall into insulting each other, further dialogue is usually meaningless.

I've heard arguments of attempting to deprive an insult of its power by repeated use of those who would otherwise be labelled by the word, but in my experience, it doesn't seem to work.  If it did, people not of that particular racial persuasion would be welcome to use the word.  Thus, the alternative seems preferable, simply to allow such words to fade from usage.

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #147 on: June 19, 2012, 12:20:35 PM »
Yes, but language is so much more than just insults and non-insults.  What is the different between small, tiny and miniscule?  How might you use those same words, assuming we can agree on their meaning, in different places and in different ways than I might.  For instance, tiny and miniscule are far more descriptive to me and I am more likely to use them when I want to invoke emotion.  For me, small is far too bland a word even when it is exactly the correct word.

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Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #148 on: June 19, 2012, 12:25:01 PM »
Yes, but language is so much more than just insults and non-insults.  What is the different between small, tiny and miniscule?  How might you use those same words, assuming we can agree on their meaning, in different places and in different ways than I might.  For instance, tiny and miniscule are far more descriptive to me and I am more likely to use them when I want to invoke emotion.  For me, small is far too bland a word even when it is exactly the correct word.

Reminds me of a joke I heard once.

Man 1: There are no two words that mean exactly the same thing.
Man 2: You're wrong about that - what about 'vision' and 'sight'?
Man 1: I'll prove it to you.  My wife is a vision, but yours is a sight.
*rim shot*

(I think that might have been Henny Youngman, now that I think about it.)

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: MasterMischief Explores Taoism
« Reply #149 on: June 19, 2012, 12:26:38 PM »
That is a good one, Oniya.