the-samsara-blues asked: What are your views on Taoism, do you practice some of its teachings in your everyday life, or do you think of it as just a philosophy that helped developed chinese/zen buddhism and it has no benefits to be practice separately from buddhism?
Taoism is beautiful. It sees the world on the world’s own terms and then widens its gaze to the cosmos. It is far from just philosophy for the mind, it is mainly art for the heart.
But I know of no practices or teachings that are strictly taoist. Even the idea of a spiritual path called ‘taoism’ only came into existence much much later when chinese historians were trying to classify different schools of thought that had once been of interest. The taoists were really just like a loose group of philosophers who said ‘tao’ a lot.
I don’t think it would be a stretch to say taoism created the space for zen buddhism to emerge. Taoism draws one’s focus to the present moment. The idea was to connect with the natural flow of reality through the heart, rather the delusional focus of the mind. In a way, it was a post-modernist movement to reconnect with nature.
In terms of practices, most taoist masters came to connect with the Tao through mastering an art like painting or poetry. The activity became the spiritual practice itself as it combined skilled training with inspired spontaneity.
Everything we perceive has its own little tao that was born, that will grow, and that will die. Everything that we don’t perceive is The Great Tao and it is from the unmoving movement of the Great Tao that all the little taos seem to appear and disappear.
I think taoism and buddhism benefit from each other greatly. They are better together than apart, in my opinion. They make a wonderful cocktail. Buddhism contributes techniques and insights while taoism contributes heart on a moment to moment basis.
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- alliszen said: I recommend you check out Taoist texts. You’ll be really amazed at Taoism as a religion of its own—independent of Buddhism. It really is a very rich religion, and it’s a shame that people think of it as the shadow of Buddhism. It’s great alone to
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