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Does One Have to Be Taoist to Follow Tao?

Discussion in 'Taoism DIR' started by Baladas, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. Baladas

    Baladas Págánacht

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    Does being in harmony with Tao require that you are Taoist?
    Does it require that you are even familiar with the concept of Tao by name?

    I am inclined to answer "no" to both of these questions.
    "Tao" is an approximation. A placeholder for something that can't quite be described.

    It's quite conceivable to me that people worldwide, and within different traditions (or lack thereof) can attain Tao.
    It's not something to be boxed...nor is it some "thing" at all.

    Sorry for my ramblings, but I am interested in hearing what others think about this.
     
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  2. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    Taoism was very important in my early wanderings in spirituality, and the basic idea still lingers, most importantly the Tao Te Ching: The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao...

    I think there are many parallels with mysticism of other traditions, so I think it lends itself to being adopted/recognized by others.

    Does the question change if you alter this a little?

    Does being in harmony require that your are Taoist?
    Does being in harmony require familiarity with any names or concepts?
     
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  3. Baladas

    Baladas Págánacht

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    I agree completely! :)
     
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  4. Wu Wei

    Wu Wei ursus senum severiorum and ex-Bisy Backson

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    Does One Have to Be Taoist to Follow Tao?

    short answer....no (IMHO)
     
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  5. allfoak

    allfoak Alchemist

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    All labels must be abandoned eventually.
    They are useful to climbing the ladder but every rung of the ladder must be let go of eventually in order to climb higher.
     
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  6. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    Imagine how Lao Tzu would feel, on experiencing that people who've called themselves Taoist, have then created boundaries within our perception.

    Also by being labeled as a group, it limiting our true potential for the Tao to spread into the world, as it becomes a thing; therefore it can find objections. :innocent:
     
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  7. Ouroboros

    Ouroboros Coincidentia oppositorum

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    My understanding is that Taoism evolved or developed after Lao Tzu, and what Taoism is today is more of a religion, in a sense, than just a philosophy. Somethin' like that. Some guy told me once who had been a Taoist for years, but I'm not sure it could be trusted. Anyway, if it's true though, Taoism would more than just following Tao.
     
  8. Baladas

    Baladas Págánacht

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    That is true. The religion of Taoism has it's origins in a movement called the Celestial Masters in the late 100's to early 200's CE (I can't remember off the top of my head).
    It absorbed many aspects of the local folk religions.
    In the West, we tend to make the distinction between Philosophical Taoism (based mainly on the early teachings from Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and Lieh Tzu) and Religious Taoism. In China, it seems they do not do so as often.

    Taoism refers to both though...it's really a little bit of an umbrella term, though it is a smaller umbrella than "Hinduism" or "Paganism".
    Within religious Taoism, there are many different schools of thought that can differ radically from one another.

    Personally, most of my Taoist practice is philosophical, but I do implement some aspects of the religion as well.

    When I phrased my question the way I did in the OP, I was referring to the Philosophical side of things.
    As in a familiarity with Tao (by name) and early Taoist thought.
    Sorry for confusion.

    Peace. :)
     
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  9. Ouroboros

    Ouroboros Coincidentia oppositorum

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    Don't be. Thanks for the clarification. :)
     
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  10. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    thanks for the further info! My early learning was primarily about the philosophical side, and I still haven't learned much about the religious side--I lost interest as it got away from the simplicity of the earliest philosophical pieces. On my list to find out more about the religious side, eventually.;)
     
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  11. Baladas

    Baladas Págánacht

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    No problem! It really is quite a fascinating tradition.
    Very colorful and creative.

    And I know what you mean, @beenherebeforeagain , I did too initially. But it grew on me. :)

    I have taken a very eclectic approach (actually, this is true with every aspect of my spirituality). I try most of the Qigong meditative postures and follow the instructions, wanting to experience them for myself to decide whether they are useful or not.
    However, when it comes to most of it, I just keep what resonates with me and leave the rest.
     
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  12. Ouroboros

    Ouroboros Coincidentia oppositorum

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    I did some Tai Chi and Qigong years ago. Loved it. Life got complicated and had to stop. One day I will pick it up again.
     
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  13. Taylor Seraphim

    Taylor Seraphim Angel of Reason

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    Short Answer: No.

    Long Answer: If the Toa exists then it is inherent in everything so it should be able to be inferred through the environment around us and thus does not need Taoist philosophy to tell you about it.
     
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  14. Baladas

    Baladas Págánacht

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    That's basically my take on it too.
    I just wanted to see what others thought. :)
     
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  15. The Emperor of Mankind

    The Emperor of Mankind Currently the galaxy's spookiest paraplegic

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    Thread necromancy!! :D

    You're talking about the "Way of Five Pecks of Rice" sect (so named because anybody wishing to join had to donate five pecks of rice). It was also known as the Wudoumi Sect. Centred around the Celestial Masters (the descendants of Zhang Daoling), the third Celestial Master Zhang Lu formed the theocratic state of Zhanghan and enjoyed complete independence from the crumbling Eastern Han Dynasty.
     
  16. Wu Wei

    Wu Wei ursus senum severiorum and ex-Bisy Backson

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    That's ok, I taught taiji for years and stopped..... maybe I'll teach again someday too
     
  17. crowfeather

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    The first time I was exposed to taoteching, I recognized it as if I had written it myself.
    It seemed I had always been a taoist, without knowing I was, or what taoism was.
    This served as the only validation I had needed, to leap into the sky and fly.
    Within two weeks, I had attained Spiritual Enlightenment.

    Many years later, I conclude that I did, in fact, write the original taoteching.
    It's many translations and interpretations had changed it, somewhat, but even so, it was instantly recognizable.

    So: yes, it is possible to be in harmony with tao, without being a taoist.
    Or more accurately: it is possible to be a taoist without having adopted the label.
     
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