Classical Taoism as religion

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chevron1
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Classical Taoism as religion

Post by chevron1 »

Does anyone here practice metaphysical Taoism? It began with the work of Wang Bi and He Yan at the time of China's 3 KIngdoms Period. The Metaphysical Movement was initially an academic study at a time when Tao was the mystical entity of the universe and its transformations brought good and bad fortune. It entered into high salons of debate and flourished for several hundred years until its demise in the Tang Dynasty.

Of all the forms of Taoism, Metaphysical Taoism is perhaps the only Taoism that understands modern science's Big Bang Theory and Darwinian Evolution. BIg Bang and Darwin have evolved over the years, but the basic theories continue to guide modern cosmology and evolution. The philosophy and metaphysics of Lao-Chuang Taoism form the foundation of Metaphysical Taoism. Religion of today now uniformly advocates universal love and compassion as its main tenets, which seem incompatible with Darwinian evolution. As its name implies, Metaphysical Taoism tries to explain how reality works and is less or not concerned with universal love and compassion. That's why Metaphysical Taoism can be thought of as scientific Taoism and that's why it has been resurrected.

Metaphysical Taoism also does not worship the gods (unless the practitioner wishes to do so). Worshipping the gods is optional. Like other modern Taoisms, Metaphysical Taoism can absorb the gods of outside religions and give them all equal regard and respect, because all of the gods are children of Tao, created in the chi crucible at the beginning of genesis in the TaoTeChing ch. 42. Thus, there are Taoist altars that include the Taoist gods, the Buddha and the Christian crucifix. They are worshipped in some predetermined order or even randomly. The Taoist follows the basic tenets of Lao-Chuang Taoism first and then the practices of the god being worshipped.

Because Metaphysical Taoism can accept any and all gods and because it is also scientific Taoism, it is said by some to be a framework religion, in which other religions can be understood in relation to the great whole.

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laotan
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Re: Classical Taoism as religion

Post by laotan »

A metaphysical movement which understands or agrees with Darwinism makes no sense. Darwinism and big bang theories are not metaphysically, they are rather scientific approaches. Or science as we know it today and metaphysics are not related or compatible.
Secondly, I am not aware what you mean by practicing metaphysical Taoism? You named Wang Bi who has nothing of a metaphysics in his writings, in fact commentaries on Lao-tzu and I-ching, but most of speculation based on Taoist and Confucianist ideas.

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Re: Classical Taoism as religion

Post by chevron1 »

>> Darwinism and big bang theories are not metaphysically, they are rather scientific approaches. Or science as we know it today and metaphysics are not related or compatible.

Metaphysics is what science has no explanation for yet. In order for a religion to be "real" (and true metaphysics attempts to understand reality), if science has some verifiable theory about how things work, it must be taken into account by the religion. Metaphysical TAoism is all about True Religion.

>>Secondly, I am not aware what you mean by practicing metaphysical Taoism? You named Wang Bi who has nothing of a metaphysics in his writings, in fact commentaries on Lao-tzu and I-ching, but most of speculation based on Taoist and Confucianist ideas.

Metaphysical Taoism is called in Chinese the "Dark Learning" or 玄学. The main form of practice is metaphysical third eye, which is taken from the scripture The Book Of Lieh Tzu.

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laotan
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Re: Classical Taoism as religion

Post by laotan »

1. About the science and religion I don't agree with you. Science can't have explanation of reality the same as religion. This is because science works with other tools and starts from another paradigm than religion. Science starts from exploration of things - religion, from revelation. Basically science and religion are two different ways of approaching the world and the human condition.

2. I couldn't find anything of a "dark learning" of third eye in Lieh-tzu. Perhaps you give us at least an instance of this "dark teaching" in this book?

3. A sentence like this (below) has nothing to do with Taoism or Tao matters (I quote the first part of the article you sent me to):
Whereas psychic Third Eye operates on supernatural principles and opens a mental window into the hidden world, metaphysical Third Eye converts the entire body into a living chi computer to analyze the aura energies radiating from objects.

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Re: Classical Taoism as religion

Post by chevron1 »

>> Science can't have explanation of reality the same as religion.

At some point, religion and science must converge because if they do not, then the mind must deal with the duality of faith and realityj and that duality can lead to a loss of faith and disharmonious living. If religion says that the earth is flat but science says that the earth is round, do we believe it is flat for scripture but then see it as round when we fly around the world? Religion that cannot reconcile science causes a schism in the person's thinking.

>> I couldn't find anything of a "dark learning" of third eye in Lieh-tzu. Perhaps you give us at least an instance of this "dark teaching" in this book?

Wang Bi (王弼) and He Yan (何晏) were followers of Lao-Chuang Taoism. The Lieh Tzu is now recognized by scholars as containing some of the lost chapters of the Chuang Tzu. The original Chuang Tzu totaled 52 chapters. The extant Chuang Tzu is only 33 chapters. Almost half of the Chuang Tzu is missing. It may have been redacted by Guo Xiang (郭象), a Taoist who carefully edited the Chuang Tzu as a philosophical text. The original Chuang Tzu was a great metaphysical text.

>>metaphysical Third Eye converts the entire body into a living chi computer to analyze the aura energies radiating from objects.

It has everything to do with metaphysical practice, because all things are made of chi from the Tao Te Ching ch. 42, and all things understand chi vibrations because they belong to the whole. So, to see the hidden chi world (in a sense, the same way that Neo in the Matrix sees the code of things inside the virtual world), the body and mind must be trained to read chi.

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Re: Classical Taoism as religion

Post by laotan »

1. As I already said science and religion couldn't shake hands. These are two points of view starting from different experiences of the world. And yes, we are condemned to be in two minds. Also I don't think religion which talks about the earth it's flat, talks about the same earth (as science).

2. Chuang-tzu ans well as Lieh-tzu have many metaphysical passages. They are indeed collective works placed under the names of the known philosophers. It was the custom of those times. The fact of missing passages doesn't mean those passages are hints to some dark teaching (the word dark doesn't sound good in the ears of the Taoist Masters). So I am not sure what you're talking about.

3. Sorry, all things are made of... void! Still if there's a code underneath the taouchable world - as you suggest - it has nothing to do with the experience of the Tao which is the aim of Taoists. Also doesn't have nothing to do with the experience of empty mind as taught by Taoist Masters. Therefore I don't see what your experience with the third eye could be!!!

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laotan
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Re: Classical Taoism as religion

Post by laotan »

chevron1 wrote: It has everything to do with metaphysical practice, because all things are made of chi from the Tao Te Ching ch. 42,
Let me quote ch 42 (Legge):
The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three;
Three produced All things. All things leave behind them the Obscurity
(out of which they have come), and go forward to embrace the
Brightness (into which they have emerged), while they are harmonised
by the Breath of Vacancy.
Where did you find the chi in this passage?

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Re: Classical Taoism as religion

Post by chevron1 »

In Metaphysical understanding, Wu/mystical nothingness is the seed of things, rooted to the wu mother Tao. From Han Dynasty cosmology, the substance of things is chi, such as the Heshang Gong (河上公) commentary on TTC 42. The chi field called "One" in the TTC 42 is the Tai-Ji (太极) is the basis of the universe. In the modern intepretation by Hu Xuezhi in his book Revealing The Tao Te Ching, he says:
Tao gives birth to Primeval Qi (One), Primeval Qi gives birth to Elementary Yang Qi and Elementary Yin Qi (Two Elementary Yang Qi and Elementary Yin Qi mingle with each other to form Mean Qi.... Elementary Yang Qi, Elementary Yin Qi and Mean Qi (Three) give birth to all universal things....
The Legge translation comes close to this understanding but comes from the 19th century and does not fully appreciate it. Historically, the Heshang Gong commentary (which may not have been known the Legge) is one of the earliest to talk about things formed of chi. Alan Chan's book Two Visions Of The Way talks about the growing belief that the One Two and Three refer to types of chi.

This chi interpretation of Creation also agrees with Big Bang Theory. When one interpretation of TTC 42 agrees with science, that interpretation can heal the duality of mind and belief. Working with science also allows the unification of the classical scriptures.

Can we discuss Metaphysical Third Eye? The article (Metaphysical Third Eye: A Beginning Class) does give exercises to train the body and mind to read chi. There is a clip from the movie The Scorpion King that actually illustrates how it works, even though that movie is entirely fictional. It is said that a practitioner can read other people to see if they are in love or are telling lies. Do you hope (as many do) that such a skill will better mankind? There is even the chance that a sensitive chi reader could sense the spirit world. Once spirit world contact is established as a real physical response, science might be able to develop a machine to communicate with it directly.

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laotan
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Re: Classical Taoism as religion

Post by laotan »

You're mistaken chi for some metaphysical thing. It is wrong. Chi has the quality of essence of opposites in the quoted ch of Tao-te ching.
I know of many speculations on this term and everything linked to it. I don't follow this verbiage where anybody can say anything. I suggest you keep close to the Tao-te ching text and get closer to the Tao. This is the way. I may help you if you choose the way of reality instead of fiction.

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