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Thread: Which essential qualities constitute a Taoist?

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    Senior Member Son of Light's Avatar
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    Default Which essential qualities constitute a Taoist?

    In your opinion, In order for one to be considered a true Taoist, what are the minimum required qualities which must be met?
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    Senior Member Son of Light's Avatar
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    To love life as it is and enjoy it.
    To be grateful to be alife.
    To admired nature and follow it.
    To be free from worries.
    To be humble, caring and meek.
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    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Some of those qualities are outdated in modern society.
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    Quote Originally Posted by athlee View Post
    DZC - "Your wife and I, we are old friends."

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    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    really? i think they are actually rather preached in modern society, it's just no one sticks to it 100%. but then again, if your speaking of taoism as a religion, then it's all about interpretation anyway

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    Senior Member Son of Light's Avatar
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    I am talking abt the way of LaoZi and ZhuangZi.
    Not the religion.
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    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren Ying Ying View Post
    really? i think they are actually rather preached in modern society, it's just no one sticks to it 100%. but then again, if your speaking of taoism as a religion, then it's all about interpretation anyway
    They are preached probably because some people do realise how f***ed up our lives are in modern society. Study-work-study-work-study-work-die.

    Quote Originally Posted by Son of Light View Post
    I am talking abt the way of LaoZi and ZhuangZi.
    Not the religion.
    Hmm... umm... could you please make it clearer?
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    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guo Xiang View Post
    They are preached probably because some people do realise how f***ed up our lives are in modern society. Study-work-study-work-study-work-die.
    it's one of those ideas you get from "feel good" movies. but once the movie's over, you think about it for a bit, and then go back to your pathetic life

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guo Xiang View Post
    They are preached probably because some people do realise how f***ed up our lives are in modern society. Study-work-study-work-study-work-die.
    It's always been that way, however, except in pre-modern times it was plow-the-land, plant-the-crop, tend-the-crop, harvest-the-crop, eat/sell-the-crop, rinse, lather, and repeat.

    The details of the routine change; the existence of routines doesn't.

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    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    It's always been that way, however, except in pre-modern times it was plow-the-land, plant-the-crop, tend-the-crop, harvest-the-crop, eat/sell-the-crop, rinse, lather, and repeat.

    The details of the routine change; the existence of routines doesn't.
    Hmm. Sounds like God's curse to Cain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by athlee View Post
    DZC - "Your wife and I, we are old friends."

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    Senior Member Son of Light's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Guo Xiang View Post
    Hmm... umm... could you please make it clearer?
    LaoZi's and ZhuangZi's thinking is a way of life, not a religion.
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    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Son of Light View Post
    LaoZi's and ZhuangZi's thinking is a way of life, not a religion.
    No... I was referring to the relation of Taoism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by athlee View Post
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    Senior Member MrIllusion's Avatar
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    I remember the one of the guidelines is:

    'when hungry eat, when tired sleep'.

    I wouldn't say Taoist principles are outdated in modern society. Just that modern culture makes it much harder to adhere to its philosophy.
    The Truth is out there
    I say we leave it there...

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    Senior Member Son of Light's Avatar
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    True, I agreed with you.
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    Senior Member KeongJai's Avatar
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    Taosim was never a religion was it? I thought it was always just a school of philosiphy.

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    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    i believe there's something like three fields of taoism (or something like that) in which one of them pertains to the philosophy, one of them the "religion" (the actual worship of something) and then there's some other component to it, which i'm not sure of either (i should go wiki this up )

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    Senior Member YongJian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeongJai View Post
    Taosim was never a religion was it? I thought it was always just a school of philosiphy.
    Nope. Taoism is a recognized religion, but it emphazises a lot on philosophy and the way of life if you are following Lao Zi's teachings. However, most Taoists are more towards the traditional folk Taoism like praying to deities, gods, celestial beings and their ancestors etc.

    It's just like Buddhism, it is a religion but it focus a lot on Buddha's teachings and way of life as well.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Son of Light's Avatar
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    Taoism is more or less the religion of nature and freedom.
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    Senior Member YongJian's Avatar
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    Taken this from http://spi.com.sg/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3552


    Yin-Yang symbols, the five elements and eight Trigrams


    'The theory of the Five elements originated in the Book of Documents (Shang Shu), while the theory of Yin-Yang first appeared in the Book of Changes(I Ching) and was widespread among the Yin-Yang Naturalists of the Spring and Autumn Warring States period. We will first discuss the Five elements:


    The <<Inner Chapter of the Great Norm>> of the Book of Documents states that when the King of Wu defeated the Shang kingdom, the eminent Shang statesman Qizi offered him a general plan of government in nine points called the 'Nine Fields of the Great Norm'; the first of which was called the 'Five elements': the first being Water, the second Fire, the third Wood, the fourth Metal, the fifth Earth. The text then describes the nature of each Elements:


    1. 'Water' seeps downward: rain, mountain springs and rivers all flow downwards, moistening and penetrating the soil, allowing for the birth of the myriad beings.


    2. 'Fire' flares upward: fire flames upward, creating scalding heat, such as a volcano which explodes and creates earth, and such as the small fires made by the people as a daily necessity.


    3. 'Wood' distinguishes right and wrong: trees grow straight and not crooked, symbolizing the distinction between truth and falsity. By observing wood, the people can distinguish right and wrong.


    4. 'Metal' transforms: in ancient times, 'metal' referred to copper, which was used to make tools and implements, through a process of constant refinement and improvement.


    5. 'Earth' provides harvests: it generates various farm products used to nourish people.


    The 'Great Norm' continues by enumerating the flavours associated with each Agent:


    1. Downward seeping (water) is associated with saltiness (which enters the kidneys).
    2. Upward flaring (fire) is associated with bitterness (which enters the heart).
    3. Straightness (wood) is associated with sourness (which enters the liver).
    4. Transformation (metal) is associated with acridity (which enters the lungs).
    5. Harvesting (earth) is associated with sweetness (which enters the spleen).


    The pre-Qin Daoists and Yin-Yang Naturalists also recognized that the Five Elements were the basic elements of nature, and described the movements of the Five Elements in terms of mutual generation and mutual control, to which they also added temporal cycles. They came to be called the Yin-Yang and Five-Elements Naturalists, whose leading figure at the end of the Zhou dynasty was Zou Yanchang. At the beginning of the Han dynasty, the Confucians based themselves on natural phenomena to describe the mutual generation and control of the Five Elements as follows:


    Mutual control of the Five Elements:


    Metal overcomes wood: wood cannot resist the metal axe.
    Wood overcomes earth: the roots of trees hold soil together.
    Earth overcomes water: earth sinks in water; earth dykes hold water back.
    Water overcomes fire: it can extinguish fire.
    Fire overcomes metal: it can transform copper into tools.


    Mutual generation of the Five Elements:


    Metal generates water: A copper mirror can condense water vapour, turning it into dew-drops.
    Water generates wood: plants and trees need water to grow.
    Wood generates fire: one burns wood to make fire.
    Fire generates earth: when volcanoes erupt, new soil emerges.
    Earth generates metal: all metal is extracted from earth.


    The phenomena described above are influenced by changes in time. There are differences between each year, each month, each day and each hour; therefore, Yin-Yang (representing time phases) was integrated with the Five Phases.


    As early as 3000 years ago, Chinese astronomers ascertained the movement of Jupiter and determined the exact times of the winter and summer solstices, from which they were able to fix the times of the seasons and of the Celestial Stems and Earthly Branches8.


    Each year at the winter solstice during the eleventh month of the lunal calendar (when the sun shines directly above the tropic of Capricorn), the sun begins to move northward, the days become gradually longer and the nights shorter: this is called the Emergence of Yang.


    Each year at the summer solstice during the sixth month of the lunar calendar (when the sun shines directly above the tropic of Cancer), the sun begins to move southward, the days gradually become shorter and the nights gradually become longer: this is called the Emergence of Yin.


    The year is thus divided into to halves. From the winter solstice to the moment preceding the summer solstice is Yang; from the summer solstice to the moment preceding the winter solstice is Yin. The day is also divided: daytime is Yang and nighttime is Yin -- before noon is Yang and before midnight is Yin.


    In terms of time, Yin and Yang are opposite to each other; we can even go so far as to say that matter is made from the opposition between Yin and Yang. As matter is created from the mutual generation and control of the Five Agents, therefore Yin-Yang and the Five Agents constitute a unified whole.


    Yin-Yang and the Five Elements are the basic elements which make up nature; holding the investigation of nature as their goal, Daoists related the Five Agents and Yin-Yang to all matter, beginning with the Five Agents in the human body. The Yin-Yang Naturalists considered 'Man' to be born out of the combination of the most sublime essences of the natural world, and therefore related parts of the body to elements of nature:


    Man has hair and nature has grass; man has two eyes and nature has the sun and moon; breathing is related to wind; tears are related to rain; bones to mountains; blood vessels to rivers, etc. This was called the Oneness of Heaven and Man, a principle advocated by the Confucians of the early Han dynasty.


    Daoism adopted this theory, using the Confucian Yin-Yang arts as the root of Refining Elixirs12 and Refining Vital Breath(qi) At the time, Chinese medicine was affiliated to the Confucian Arts and marginally concerned with Yin-Yang and the Five Elements. However, the most accomplished in the study of Yin-Yang and the Five Agents were the Daoists. Therefore, Chinese medical theory takes Yin-Yang and the Five Elements as its core, and uses much Daoist terminology in its texts. Students of Chinese medicine thus know that the Five Viscera are Yang: the liver is Wood; the kidneys are Water; the lungs are Metal; the heart is Fire; the spleen is Earth.


    The six intestines are Yin: the gallblader is associated with the liver; the urinary bladder is associared with the kidneys; the great intestine is associated with the lung; the small intestine is associated with the heart; the stomach is associated with the spleen. The visvera and intestines are thus linked; and interact on each other. The Six Intestines also include the Triple Warmer, which is not related to the Five Viscera.


    According to the theory of mutual control of the Five Elements, the liver (wood) overcomes the spleen (earth); the kidneys (water) overcome the heart (fire); the lungs (metal) overcome the liver (wood); the heart (fire) overcomes the lungs (metal); the kidneys (water) overcome the heart (fire).


    Chinese medicine bases its treatments on the above theory. For example, a stomach pain may be due to excessive strength of the liver, owing to wood overcoming earth (the spleen). Therefore, threatment of stomach pains often uses medicine to regularize the liver, as opposed to pain-killers.


    Daoist Vital Breath Refinement and Elixir Refinement stress the interactions between the heart and the kidneys, calling it the intersection between water and fire, or the intersection between Kan and Li.


    Wei Boyang, in his Three Ways Unified and Normalized of the Book of Changes (I ching), integrated the Eight Trigrams of the Book of Changes to Yin-Yang and Five Agents theory. >From then on, Yin-Yang, the Five Elements and the Eight Trigrams became a unified whole. Related to the Eight Trigrams, the Supreme Ultimate (Taiji) is depicted with Yin-Yang on the inside and the Eight Trigrams on the outside, according to the eight directions as follows:




    Kan ( water) north;
    Li ( fire) south;
    Zhen ( thunder) east;
    Dui ( lake) west;
    Xun( wind) southeast;
    Qian ( sky) northwest;
    Kun ( earth) southwest;
    Gen ( mountain) northeast.



    Geomancers combine the Eight Trigrams and eight directions with the Twenty-Eight Constellations, the Twenty-Four Seasonal Change and the Sixty-Four Hexagrams (doubled trigrams) to form the geomancer's compass which can ascertain good and bad fortune. Astrologers use the Five Elements and Eight Trigrams to establish horoscopes. Diviners use the Five Elements and Eight Trigrams to predict the future. All use Daoist theories as the basis for their works.

    The Ba Gua(Eight Trigrams) is often used to ward off evil forces or spirits. This is due to the belief that it contain the ultimate truth of the universe, which is righteous and holy. Thus anything unholy will shun it.

    The Eight Trigrams was founded by Lord FuXi, one of the Ancestor of mankind, while observing a mythical beast leaping out of the Yellow River. Later, King Wen of Zhou, improvised it and created 'Zhou Yi' book of changes.




    Daoism worships a multitude of spirits; popular almanachs and manuals of Chinese medicine are based on the principles of Yin-Yang, Five Phases and Eight Trigrams. They have penetrated the common peoples' lives, who use them every day without knowing it. Sayings such as 'fire in the heart' to explain insomnia, 'kidney water defienciency' to explain neurasthenia, are commonly used by people of all ages. However, they do not know that these ideas are derived from Daoism. Daoism completely penetrates our lives - a fact that is worth taking note of.

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    Senior Member sarakoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guo Xiang View Post
    They are preached probably because some people do realise how f***ed up our lives are in modern society. Study-work-study-work-study-work-die.



    Hmm... umm... could you please make it clearer?
    It is my goal in life to retire by the age of 35.

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    Senior Member jadebunny9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeongJai View Post
    Taosim was never a religion was it? I thought it was always just a school of philosiphy.
    Unlike the West, the Chinese have never really separated religion and philosophy. It's all bunched into one religion-philosophy. Tao/Dao is also another word for "religion" in general, so we can see that back in the days, there really wasn't much of a distinction between them.

    I love studying Daoism, though some parts of it certainly shocked me.

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