On Tao...

Tao is a word yeah? It’s a Chinese word. It means way or truth. But it is more than that. Lau Tse said the name that can be named is not the name. The word that can be spoken is not the word. In other words he was saying that it is not something that we can grasp intellectually and when we try to express it in words we miss it. (Incidentally in the Bible, Tao is called the Word. I came accross it in a Chinese translation of the Bible. It says; “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” - in the Chinese version it says; “In the biginning was the Tao…” There are lots of names for it from the perspective of different cultures including). So remember that it is just a word used to try to describe the absolute. The source of all things. It is called Tao. (pronounced Dao).

We can call it the principle of truth, or the essence of truth. Inside everything exists a principle. That principle is like nature. Inside human beings it is called our True nature or our Buddha nature. We call it our heart. First there is absolute - Heavenly realm, realm of absolute truth - in Chinese it’s called Wu Chi. Wu Chi is like nothingness except its not nothing, it is everything - pure potential - ONE. Everything comes from Wu Chi. Then there is Tai Chi. Tai means movement, Chi is energy. So from One, energy is manifested and this is the world of duality. The world of Yin and Yang, positive and negative. It is part of truth but it is not absolute truth. After that we reach the third realm which is the realm of physical phenomena. Enter you and me and all creatures under the Heavens. Once again, we are part of truth but we are not absolute truth. The amazing thing though is that all realms exist within us and that Tao can be manifested by us.

Any thoughts?

The ‘Way’ is fairness and kindness. All that is neither fair nor kind is not the ‘Way’.

"One with the wholeness of virtue
has an unconditioned mind.
He regards the mind of all being
as his own mind.
He is kind to the kind.
He is also kind to the unkind,
for the subtle nature of the universe is kind.
He is faithful to the faithful.
He is also faithful to the unfaithful,
for the integral virtue of the universe is undeceiving.

In the midst of the world, he dissolves all minds into harmonious Oneness.
All people strain their eyes and ears for excitement.
One of deep virtue brings all people back
to their childlike-heartedness."

JT

Searching for words,
Hunting for phrases,
When will it end?
Esteeming knowledge
And gathering information
Only maddens the spirit.
Just entrust yourself
To your own nature,
Empty and illuminating
Beyond this,
I have nothing to teach.

Searching for words,
Hunting for phrases,
When will it end?
Esteeming knowledge
And gathering information
Only maddens the spirit.
Just entrust yourself
To your own nature,
Empty and illuminating
Beyond this,
I have nothing to teach.

Is that why the Chinese never invented science or the scientific method, or even philosophy, in the sense of a systematic, consistent and disciplined search, verification and compilation of knowledge, for knowledge is not esteemed and its gathering a vexing to the spirit?

what about acupuncture, acupressure and herbal remedies?

I think they had a type of science, definitely not western, but they did have certain knowledges for health reasons alone…

-Imp

edit: addendum: not to mention the Sun Tzu

These are accidents; and not the outcome of a systematic search and application of knowledge.

Given the huge number of people in China and the length of their history, certainly the chances of such accidents will always be there. And it happened in other places and other people in the world too.

But they just remained where and what they are. They were not developed further. No one questioned - perhaps no one dares - why acupuncture work, if at all (and I am not sure they do), and no one developed a rational theory to explain, which in turn would have given more insights and more discoveries and more applications, etc.

So the Chinese invented gunpowder, paper, the magnetic compass, etc but it is the West that discovered chemistry, electromagnetic propagation, the printing press, thermodynamics and went on to exploit and apply this knowledge in warfare, in industry, in science …

(And my theory why it is the West, has to do with the Greeks and Christianity, but that’s for another time and thread.)

Sun Tzu is a collection of ‘common-sensical’ wisdom for warfare. It is no science nor is it philosophy, in that there is no attempt to justify, deduce from principles or argue on a rational basis why what is distilled is true or wise, but simply an assertion of what is: it is up to you to believe or not, perhaps solely on the basis of the authority of age or name, or your own experiences.

Two observations about Sun Tzu. Firstly wisdom and common sense is something available to all regardless of cultures or religions. We can see and know the truth when we see it. Sun Tzu is just recording his observations of what worked in battle from his experiences. There is no need for philosophies or sciences here, and neither an outcome of these. Second wars are inherently something human too: all human societies war, and thus Sun Tzu’s observations are applicable to all societies, even now in modern times. And that is the essence of wisdom, namely that it is timeless.

-Imp

It’s not what you think, nor your agreement or otherwise, but rather is it a fact? What evidence have you to support that it happened the way you described it? What I know is that it is based on some mystical notion of qi whose ‘theory’ itself is mystical, ie not subjected to the rigours of logic or scientific investigation. A collection of pragmatic practices that “work”, eg psychologically, is not a science.

I am not saying I need a rational theory: what works, works. I am saying, as a matter of observation, that no rational theory, or even the very notion of theory itself, came out from all the many observations of things that work, and I am asking why.

Again I asked you for facts to support that the “original methods were the same”. And of course I agree with you that when people, being people, have a problem they go about solving it. That’s not the point, which is rather, by what method? Trial and error is a method too. But there are some methods more superior than others, especially if the method feed upon itself, allowing knowledge to build upon knowledge, bootstraping and accelerating the accumulation and search for knowledge.

But since knowledge is not esteemed nor its gathering deemed beneficial for the spirit, I have reasons to make the hypothesis that the Chinese belief in the Tao is the explanation why such a method never happened in China and amongst those who truely believed in the Tao.

Thats a good definition. And I do not mean more than that.

Perhaps just by being humans …

We all make observations all the the time, but it does not make scientist out of us. Science, or at least Western science, is more than just observations.

Guys guys… The discussion is about Tao. The above verse is in fact by Ben Kai who is Japanese, suggesting that the Tao transcends culture. This really isn’t a debate about East and West.

The author is not suggesting that knowledge and information is not useful when applied with intent and purpose - he is merely making the point which both of you Impenitent and Chanbenching have just illustrated. That the pursuit of knowledge for it’s own sake is distracting, that all knowledge is inherent and that understanding one’s own intrinsic nature will bring illumination, therefore hankering after knowledge ceases.

Incidentally, Chinese medicine is an ancient science based on the study of nature - before you make any assuptions, may I suggest that you explore the the possibility that they may actually be on to something.

The reason the Chinese hold the foremost knowledge of Tao is precisely because of their acute attention to detail and their ability to harmonise with and embrace nature. Again, however, knowledge of does not neccessarily bring understanding. The Tao is always present - whether we ‘see’ it or choose to align with it is another thing entirely.

we are quibbling over the definition again…

-Imp

edit speeling

Interesting you say that. Is there anyway of knowing that we are not identical? Is it the variation in personality’s that differentiates one from the other? Well what if we all had the same personality? We still wouldn’t be identical.

try as you might, you can not walk a mile in my mocassins…

not identical…

at best grossly similar…

-Imp

Ok. We’ve got that bit clear, so tell me, what is that differentiates me from you?

the simplest things actually…

when you say “I” you mean and understand a completely different thing than when I say “I”…

-Imp

But i see no difference here? You cannot know if my thoughts are personal to me or if you and i are having the exact same thoughts? For all you know, we may just be interpreting our thoughts differently. You have thoughts, so do i. Everything that you have, i have so where is the difference between you and I? Do you just experiance things which shape your ilusions of a ‘seperate’ entity compared to everybody else around you?

no, I have my thoughts, you have yours…

-Imp

Hey Rami…if you want to get physical humans are identical…we all think, we all speak, we all have arms and legs, we all do the basic things that every other human does (excluding those with bodily mishaps).

What differentiates humans is that every human is his own…You may think like me, we may say the same words, but your words are not my words. We’ll have the same trend of thought, but yours comes from your end and mine comes from mine. You could be an exact clone of me, yet you would still not be identical with me, because your vision is not mine (not that I’m for cloning)…All of this is ridiculous tho, why should somebody have to explain to you why you’re not Identical…you guys are too complicating, you make my head hurt…:stuck_out_tongue:…bye!

Ok, you have your thoughts and i have mine…? That doesn’t explain anything, who is ‘‘you’’ if it is not me? Why are you ‘‘you’’ and not me, though we share the same bodies/brains. The only difference in me and you is only your ‘idea’. Let’s assume that your right and me is ‘me’ and you is ‘you’. How does your body create an impression of ‘‘you’’ and my body creates the impression of ‘‘me’’? Maybe the impression it creates is the same throughout each body that is out there, maybe…as i said earlier, we just interperet it in a way that makes it seem like we are different. But really we are not.

^^that’s true too…I like that!..We are the same, but we’re also different, balance!..You fall in love with a woman who’s more like you! yet has that spark in here that is different and makes you love her more!
same with every other human in the world…:slight_smile: