Important Announcement

See here for an important message regarding the community which has become a read-only site as of October 31.

 
Pause Switch to Standard View Need Very Concise Answers about Taoism
Show More
Loading...
Flag alyosha77 August 23, 2008 9:10 AM EDT
Attention all Taoists!

I am looking the most concise, accurate answers you can provide about your religion. 4 questions:

(1) Who (or what) is God?

(2) Who is Man?

(3) What is the Problem? (Why is there evil, suffering, etc.?)

(4) What is the Solution?
Flag alyosha77 August 23, 2008 9:10 AM EDT
Attention all Taoists!

I am looking the most concise, accurate answers you can provide about your religion. 4 questions:

(1) Who (or what) is God?

(2) Who is Man?

(3) What is the Problem? (Why is there evil, suffering, etc.?)

(4) What is the Solution?
Flag koala972 August 28, 2008 11:09 PM EDT
[QUOTE=alyosha77;711321]Attention all Taoists!

I am looking the most concise, accurate answers you can provide about your religion. 4 questions:

(1) Who (or what) is God?

(2) Who is Man?

(3) What is the Problem? (Why is there evil, suffering, etc.?)

(4) What is the Solution?[/QUOTE]

god just is

????

you assume there is good, therefore there is evil.  And that with all its other attending assumptions and swords is the problem.

don't think you can find a solution, because the solution wouldn't exist without a problem, so to make a solution you are validating the problem.  Only way to not validate the problem is to refrain from having a solution to it.
Flag EyesoftheWorld August 29, 2008 11:43 AM EDT
Hi. Here are two excerpts from the Tao te Ching which I think help.

It (the Tao) is hidden but always present.
I don't know who gave birth to it.
It is older than God.
(from Section 4)

The Tao is great.
The universe is great.
Earth is great.
Man is great.
These are the four great powers.
(from Section 25)

So, God comes into the picture after the Tao. Maybe God is just a construct of the human mind trying to comprehend the Tao?

Man, to me, is an opportunity for the embodiment of consciousness in an agent. Why this happened is unclear. I have said elsewhere that the Unity, maybe my word for the Tao, is boring and uneventful. The creation of division, particularly individuals, creates separation and tension, but also allows the chance of dissolution with the Unity in a small dose at the moment of orgasm when both lovers climax (called a "little death" in French), and a full dose at death.

The problem, as you help frame it with suffering is that 1) any living organism deteriorates, gets injured, sick etc. It's the price we pay for having the chance to be conscious and have agency and with evil, 2) free will and individual consciousness allow the possibility of evil, which is obviously bad in the sense that evil is usually characterized by one or more individuals exploiting, hurting or killing one or more other individuals. Again, it's the price we pay for being embodied in physical form. Physical form exposes us to freedom and restriction. Free will allows us to help, hurt or do nothing.

The solution is tricky. That I think is an entirely individual thing. My POV is to not hurt, to help as much as I can without overextending or exhausing myself or my resources, to take care of myself, to enjoy myself and to learn and experience as much as I'd like, without interfering with anyone else's journey. I also try to not let things aggravate me.

So, how does that sound to you?
Flag alyosha77 August 31, 2008 2:08 PM EDT
[QUOTE=EyesoftheWorld;723778]Hi. Here are two excerpts from the Tao te Ching which I think help.

It (the Tao) is hidden but always present.
I don't know who gave birth to it.
It is older than God.
(from Section 4)

The Tao is great.
The universe is great.
Earth is great.
Man is great.
These are the four great powers.
(from Section 25)

So, God comes into the picture after the Tao. Maybe God is just a construct of the human mind trying to comprehend the Tao?

Man, to me, is an opportunity for the embodiment of consciousness in an agent. Why this happened is unclear. I have said elsewhere that the Unity, maybe my word for the Tao, is boring and uneventful. The creation of division, particularly individuals, creates separation and tension, but also allows the chance of dissolution with the Unity in a small dose at the moment of orgasm when both lovers climax (called a "little death" in French), and a full dose at death.

The problem, as you help frame it with suffering is that 1) any living organism deteriorates, gets injured, sick etc. It's the price we pay for having the chance to be conscious and have agency and with evil, 2) free will and individual consciousness allow the possibility of evil, which is obviously bad in the sense that evil is usually characterized by one or more individuals exploiting, hurting or killing one or more other individuals. Again, it's the price we pay for being embodied in physical form. Physical form exposes us to freedom and restriction. Free will allows us to help, hurt or do nothing.

The solution is tricky. That I think is an entirely individual thing. My POV is to not hurt, to help as much as I can without overextending or exhausing myself or my resources, to take care of myself, to enjoy myself and to learn and experience as much as I'd like, without interfering with anyone else's journey. I also try to not let things aggravate me.

So, how does that sound to you?[/QUOTE]

Doesn't the word Tao literally mean "THE Way" as opposed to "many ways including the opposite way." This would constitute a contradiction? Of course, a nondualism can get around this by "opposites are matter of perception." Right?
Flag Sakhaiva August 31, 2008 2:17 PM EDT
alyosha, is this thread to help with homework? I'm curious due to the wording you chose to use in the op (specifically the words 'I need to know')

To help you understand what something is - nothing beats reading

http://www.sacred-texts.com/tao/index.htm

http://www.religionfacts.com/taoism/index.htm

these sites should help you (here is a hint: the Tao pervades all.)

Peace and good grades to you. :)

on another note, has anyone here been able to visit Mt Huashan?
Flag woody666 September 1, 2008 3:00 AM EDT
[QUOTE=alyosha77;711321]Attention all Taoists!

I am looking the most concise, accurate answers you can provide about your religion. 4 questions:

(1) Who (or what) is God?

(2) Who is Man?

(3) What is the Problem? (Why is there evil, suffering, etc.?)

(4) What is the Solution?[/QUOTE]


1 - God is a story made up by man to help cope with suffering & death.

2 - One of the limitless manifestations of the Tao.

3 - No problem. In life there is pain & suffering just as there is love & joy. Such is the nature of life.

4 - There is no solution except death which removes pain & suffering, but also love & joy.
Flag EyesoftheWorld September 1, 2008 12:32 PM EDT
Alyosha, "Tao" has no perfect translation. "The Way" is pretty close. But here's how I think you're getting confused.

I think you're seeing "Way" as in a path; through the woods, so to speak or even a railroad. The problem with that is it necessarily brings in the idea of a specific direction which is already laid out for you which you just need to stay on.

This is how I understand it. Picture the biggest tsunami you can imagine. Now, this also brings in the idea of direction, so maybe you could try to imagine a circular tsunami, moving out from the center in all directions equally. I can see myself taying pitfalls talking about moving away from the center, but this is just to make a point.
Everyone is "caught" in the flow. You cannot get out of it. You can try to fight it or get really into trying to control what the people around you who are also caught in the flow, but my advice is to reduce friction, become streamlined, use the force of the flow to move you instead of fighting it. Beware of "obstacles" which the flow may send you towards; use its momentum (Judo) wisely and steer around them. The idea is to be elastic, not rigid.

Now, to backtrack, the tsunami/wave idea is a metaphor. Try to imagine your life as riding on a flow. Being centered in that flow means not exhausting yourself trying to fight or control everything. You need obviously to
look both ways when crossing the street and stop for cars that may hit you.

I think I"m going to create that Unity thread now. See you there.
Flag EyesoftheWorld September 1, 2008 12:32 PM EDT
Alyosha, "Tao" has no perfect translation. "The Way" is pretty close. But here's how I think you're getting confused.

I think you're seeing "Way" as in a path; through the woods, so to speak or even a railroad. The problem with that is it necessarily brings in the idea of a specific direction which is already laid out for you which you just need to stay on.

This is how I understand it. Picture the biggest tsunami you can imagine. Now, this also brings in the idea of direction, so maybe you could try to imagine a circular tsunami, moving out from the center in all directions equally. I can see myself taying pitfalls talking about moving away from the center, but this is just to make a point.
Everyone is "caught" in the flow. You cannot get out of it. You can try to fight it or get really into trying to control what the people around you who are also caught in the flow, but my advice is to reduce friction, become streamlined, use the force of the flow to move you instead of fighting it. Beware of "obstacles" which the flow may send you towards; use its momentum (Judo) wisely and steer around them. The idea is to be elastic, not rigid.

Now, to backtrack, the tsunami/wave idea is a metaphor. Try to imagine your life as riding on a flow. Being centered in that flow means not exhausting yourself trying to fight or control everything. You need obviously to
look both ways when crossing the street and stop for cars that may hit you.

I think I"m going to create that Unity thread now. See you there.
Flag Leonette September 11, 2008 8:48 PM EDT
[QUOTE=alyosha77;711321]Attention all Taoists!

I am looking the most concise, accurate answers you can provide about your religion. 4 questions:

(1) Who (or what) is God?

(2) Who is Man?

(3) What is the Problem? (Why is there evil, suffering, etc.?)

(4) What is the Solution?[/QUOTE]

There isn't a specific "god" who is worshiped. There are gods who are worshiped regionally or within different sub-sects of Taoism, but there isn't a supreme diety. There is the Tao which is the force, the energy of the universe, but it is not a thing to be worshiped like a god.

Man is all of us. We are here and our actions effect everyone and everything directly or indirectly.

There really isn't a problem. Evil and suffering exist because if they didn't exist, there would be no good or happiness.

The solution is to just go with the flow. Relax. Don't over analyze. Be humble. Moderation is good. Accept that if we want good, we sometimes have to take bad too. Learn. Love. Live.
Flag Monkey March 19, 2010 1:21 AM EDT

I am looking the most concise, accurate answers you can provide about your religion. 4 questions: 

(1) Who (or what) is God? 

(2) Who is Man? 

(3) What is the Problem? (Why is there evil, suffering, etc.?) 

(4) What is the Solution?


 


I appreciate the diverse ideas and responses to this original post.  The reply just above mine is my favorite, now I'll add mine.


1.  Who or what is God becomes a very complicated question because it all depends on one's definition of God.  Some religions have many Gods, and the Abrahamic religions have one almighty God. But in the context of the Dao, as is my understanding after study with a Dao group for over a year, Dao is all encompassing, the path, the force. Perhaps like Spinoza's Substance or Buddism's Dharmakaya. There is a God in Dao belief, but this God comes after Dao.


2.  Man is here for the purpose to learn the way to return to where he came. A product of Dao, as is everything else. However, only man (or woman) can be enlightened and propagate Dao to others, gaining merits along the way.


3.  What is the Problem? Why is there suffering? Suffering is caused by our attachments and desires; our anger, ignorance, greed, envy.  This is as explained in the Buddhist's Four Noble Truths, but also taught by many Daoists.  When Buddhism was introduced in China, may Daoists considered Buddhism a lessor form of Daoism. Since those many years ago, Chinese Buddhism (Chan-Mahayana) has incorporated many Daoist teachings.  The Platform Sutra is read by many Daoists and Mahayana Buddhists).


4.  The Solution is non-attachment.  As is said often, because it's very simple and true, "go with the flow." Wu Wei is often mentioned.  But most important is detaching from our desires and understanding the flow of the universe, nature, the Way. There are many books on meditation from a Daoist or Buddhist perspective, and Chan or Zen meditation is a good start.  Ancient Daoism looks much different than the modern Daoism taught today.  Prior to the introduction of Buddhism in China, Daoism was without many of the deities and concepts that most modern Daosits see today.  As it should be, nothing is permanent, everything changes.


I hope this helps.  I still study Daoism at a Daoist Temple, and Buddhism at a Buddhist Temple and find that they compliment one another very nicely. I'm certain there will be those who will disagree, but it's all in one's perspective.  Also, for member 666 who mentioned that God was something man created, in Theravada Buddhism, there is no God.  I know many American atheists who follow Buddhism and see no conflict.  Again, I must stress: our personal definition of who or what a god, or God is, should be examined before we seek that big question.  Thanks!

Flag Quq March 29, 2010 4:02 PM EDT

Sep 1, 2008 -- 3:00AM, woody666 wrote:

alyosha77 wrote:

Attention all Taoists!  I am looking the most concise, accurate answers you can provide about your religion. 4 questions:  (1) Who (or what) is God?  (2) Who is Man?  (3) What is the Problem? (Why is there evil, suffering, etc.?)  (4) What is the Solution?


1 - God is a story made up by man to help cope with suffering & death.  2 - One of the limitless manifestations of the Tao.  3 - No problem. In life there is pain & suffering just as there is love & joy. Such is the nature of life.  4 - There is no solution except death which removes pain & suffering, but also love & joy.



 


As far as being concise, I think woody666 has given the best answer,  though perhaps the answer to "1" could be better answered with the same  answer offered to question "2": "One of the limitless manifestations of the Tao."

Flag Monkey March 29, 2010 4:32 PM EDT

As an ex-Atheist (more than 20 years), and now a practicing Buddhist and believer in the Dao, I have encountered many Atheists through the years and have found that most, not all, but by far, most, became Atheist due to their dissatisfaction or even disgust with Christianity or Judaism.  They've decided to refuse themselves a belief in God or a god by disbelieving the definition given the word god by these religions. I posted that the definition one has for the word god plays an essential role in how one will believe in god. I agree, the Abrahamic religions have done a very good job of creating a man-like god with super human powers who becomes a personal god. When Einstein was asked if he believes in god, his reply was, "I believe in Spinoza's god." If you're not sure what that means, or want to learn about Einstein's definition of god, you'll find much of Spinoza's ideas online. His was the universe, and Einstein believed that there is something, but not a personal god. What does this mean? It means that after 20 years of associating with Atheists I can now understand why they are so anti-religion. Heck, so am I. I think religion has been a detriment to humanity for thousands of years. However, the spiritual side to human nature is NOT religion and the Dao followers I've studied with for over a year now DO NOT consider this a religion. Not in the least. Westerners have called Dao a religion, but it is not. It is difficult to explain here, but if you read the Tao Te Ching it states, "that which can be explained is not the Dao." I had to remove from my mind all my ingrained ideas about who or what god is to understand that there is something much bigger than all of us, but it is not the god that many are most comfortable with; the personal god that so many Atheists base their atheism on. Thank you.

Flag Quq March 29, 2010 5:48 PM EDT

But in terms of Taoist thought, wouldn't all of those differing definitions ultimately be expressions of the Tao?  Whether they spring from the minds of humans, or from something more fundamental, ultimately, all are seen as coming from the Tao.  The difference would be in whether or not a "god" is conscious, right?  Must something be conscious to be an expression of the Tao, or are all non-conscious entities merely illusory?

Flag Quq March 29, 2010 5:51 PM EDT

Sorry, I'm being obtuse.  This is simpler: Would a "god" that doesn't exist outside someone's head be considered a manifestation of the Tao?

Flag Monkey March 29, 2010 6:13 PM EDT

If one reads the Tao Te Ching, one will find that the Dao is as smaller than an atom and larger than the universe. It encompasses all. The problem we face when we attempt to explain it, is that it cannot be explained. This is a concept, as a born and raised American, that I had the most difficulty with. But after study and meditation (meditation is everything I do - concentration, not only sitting and chanting Om), I understood. When we begin to explain it, it begins to sound like a religion and loses all meaning. As I've said, after 20 years of over-intellectualizing god, no-god; engaging in "really smart" discussions about same, as I look back, nothing much was accomplished. Most atheists, not all, most, like to point out the flaws in a god from a religious perspective, and this is where the silliness begins and remains. In studying the Dao I find there is no reason to involve myself in these discussions. It's like arguing two, three, many differing definitions for the same word. The word god has become a personal prison house for most who believe or don't believe in a god. Most who believe in god will explain that it's a personal god they can pray to and feel good about it. Most who consider themselves atheist don't believe in this definition of god, and seldom explore other definitions of god, but still consider themselves to be atheist. Can either of these groups honestly say they have explored outside of their comfort zone? Perhaps some, but I would say very few.


The answer to your question is yes and no. In Buddhism every action begins a reaction (causes and conditions, causes and effects), there is no need for a personal god for this to happen. Believing in the Dao is very similar. However, as I've stated, that which can be explained is not the Dao. It took me nearly a year to finally understand this to the extent that it changed my life and my relationship with the world around me. I'd heard this before and dismissed it as gibberish. I suppose I wasn't ready. The problem I had as a full time skeptic is that any idea or concept introduced to me was prejudged and, as skeptics do, dismissed. After all, this is the first reaction of a skeptic. Now I will openly consider all ideas. Some are worthy of further exploration, others are just old ideas repackaged, but I never let cynicism stand in the way of furthering my knowledge. At my Temple where I attend regularly, I just listen as the "smart" ones, mostly from Academia, discuss for hours on these subjects. They're usually much younger than me, and I see myself in all of them when I was younger. It's funny, but the young do try to re-invent the wheel. I just know what I've found and it's NOT religion, nor is it a personal god, but it is everything that is. Thanks.

Flag Monkey March 29, 2010 6:18 PM EDT

The Dao is practiced in many different ways by many different practitioners. I've been to Dao Temples that have so many gods it get very confusing. I've been to another Tao temple that asked if I wanted to purchase a new soul for only $700 or a half soul for $350. This is NOT how the Tao is followed. If you find yourself in these kinds of temples, it akin to finding yourself in a Catholic or Born Again Christian Church assuming you've found the proper way to follow Christianity. There are Tao Temples that teach and study the Tao, but they are not as described above. Look carefully. The best place to start is by reading and re-reading the Tao Te Ching. It's a wonderful book.  Thanks.

Flag Jupiter6208 May 10, 2010 1:40 PM EDT

Kind of sounds like the Tao is God and visa versa.

Flag shawnf May 10, 2010 1:53 PM EDT

Mar 29, 2010 -- 5:51PM, Quq wrote:


Sorry, I'm being obtuse.  This is simpler: Would a "god" that doesn't exist outside someone's head be considered a manifestation of the Tao?




Mar 29, 2010 -- 5:48PM, Quq wrote:


But in terms of Taoist thought, wouldn't all of those differing definitions ultimately be expressions of the Tao?  Whether they spring from the minds of humans, or from something more fundamental, ultimately, all are seen as coming from the Tao.  The difference would be in whether or not a "god" is conscious, right?  Must something be conscious to be an expression of the Tao, or are all non-conscious entities merely illusory?





The issue of consciousness is an interesting one.  Is the Tao conscious?  Well, consciousness exists, so it is a manifestation of the Tao.  But by the same token, consciousness can only exist within separate entities.  If there is no distinction between the self and everything else, then consciousness as we commonly understand it could not exist.  How can you define "I" without reference to anything or anyone else?  So in that sense, the Tao must be unconscious.  Perhaps there is a "cosmic consciousness" or "collective unconscious" that is the combined consciousness of every thing, but that is very different from what theists call to be the "mind of God." 


Now the question of whether a god that exists only as a concept is a manifestation of the Tao or merely an illusion is difficult to answer.  On one hand, all concepts are illusions, including concepts about things which we would generally consider to have "actual" (as opposed to merely "conceptual") existence.  You, me, our separate consciousnesses, are all illusions.  The reality is Tao, and Tao is one thing, not separate things.  It is all things plus the spaces between things.  So "god" as a concept is an illusion.  


On the other hand, the Tao is not only the "things plus spaces" – which we might call the "nouns" of the universe.  It is also manifested in the processes (the "verbs") of the universe, which are the interactions between things.  [Actually, the things and the processes – the nouns and verbs -- are inseparable from one another.]  And so, human consciousness is a process that emerges from the manifestation of the Tao as mankind.  Part of that process of human consciousness is the manifestation of the concept of "god."   Therefore "god" is a manifestation of the Tao because it emerges from the Tao's manifestation as human consciousness, which emerges from its manifestation as mankind. 


To some extent, the question doesn't merit consideration because it tries to define the indefinable (what is Tao).  It deals with intellectual concepts that are incapable of encapsulating the reality that is the Tao:



Approach it and there is no beginning;
follow it and there is no end.
You can't know it, but you can be it,
at ease in your own life.
Just realize where you come from:
this is the essence of wisdom.
(Tao Te Ching, XIV)

Flag water June 21, 2010 8:21 PM EDT

(1) Who (or what) is God? 

(2)  Who is Man? 

(3) What is the  Problem? (Why is there evil, suffering, etc.?) 

(4) What is the Solution?


 


1 everyting, and nothing


 


2 phenomenon of consciousness


 


3  everything is as it should be


 


4 everything is as it should be

Flag Eisenhans May 4, 2011 5:59 PM EDT

Aug 23, 2008 -- 9:10AM, alyosha77 wrote:

Attention all Taoists!  I am looking the most concise, accurate answers you can provide about your religion. 4 questions:  (1) Who (or what) is God?  (2) Who is Man?  (3) What is the Problem? (Why is there evil, suffering, etc.?)  (4) What is the Solution?



Uh... these are all really abstract questions.  Taoism is a lot more concrete than most other paths out there.  We base our "beliefs" (if you can call them that) on reality, not on imagination or chimera. 


But I'd like to give it a shot:


1) Until "God" is defined, this question is meaningless.  There is the superverse, but I wouldn't label it "God."  Waaaaayyy too much baggage comes with that word!


2) Who cares?  We're alive, and that's pretty cool, when ya think about it. =)


3) Main problem for a Taoist: combating negatives


4) Solution to main problem: wisdom, power, virtues


Eisenhans

Post Your Reply
<CTRL+Enter> to submit
Please login to post a reply.
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook