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tantrikwizard



Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Posts: 142
tantrikwizard
This thread is for discussions about eastern philosophies (not comparitive religion, please stay on topic) Among the interests are Buddhism, Taoism and Tantra.

My question to forum members is 'who subscribes to eastern style philosophies as viable alternatives to western style philosophies?, do you practice such philosophies as a life-style or study them intellectually?, if the philosophy is practiced as a life-style, what, if any changes have you noticed in your life?'

My particular interest and practice is in authentic/tranditional tantra. There are several flavors of tantra and much misconception about the practice. The most accurate and simple definition of Tantra can be explained as the yoga or practice of energy/consciousness manipulation for spiritual and personal growth. Tantra is closely related to buddhsim, there are the tantric buddhist sects of Vajrayana originating in Tibet. Tantra is also closely related to taoism, the energy and state of mind of tantra is nearly identically described by Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching (Daode Ching). Tantra is closely related to kriya and kundalini yoga and has jnana yoga undertones. It is often described as the 'highest yoga' or the 'quickest path to realization' also the 'left hand path' because of the often questionable practices in certain sects.
Post 27 Feb 2007, 02:08
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tom tobias



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tom tobias
Thank you for starting this thread. I am interested to learn more, and I confess to knowing almost nothing at the moment. I am reading DaoDe Jing, but, not making much headway with it.....
I am curious about one item in particular, and I hope you can shed some light on this question: if "tantra" (and I am not sure that I understand your definition) is closely related to DaoDe Jing, then, was there some communication between LaoZi, and Siddhartha, or their followers? Are the ORIGINAL sources of these two guys who lived a couple thousand miles apart, similar?
Another theme I would enjoy learning about is how any of these ancient methods of thinking relate to assembly language programming. Perhaps there is no relationship. That's fine. But, if there is some link, I would profit from an elaboration, beyond "left handed link", since I have no acquaintance with any of the jargon of Hinduism or Buddhism....
Post 27 Feb 2007, 02:36
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tantrikwizard



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tantrikwizard
tom tobias wrote:
if "tantra" (and I am not sure that I understand your definition) is closely related to DaoDe Jing, then, was there some communication between LaoZi, and Siddhartha, or their followers?
I don't recall any interaction between Lao Tzu and Siddhartha of the time, though I do recall stories of interaction between Lao Tzu and Confucius in the period. It's not out of the question that such an interaction could have been possible considering the period was very dynamic and they were contemporaries.
Though it should not be confused that tantra is dependent on Gautama as it predates him in earliest known records by at least 500 years. Tantric Buddhism (a separate Buddhist/tantric sect) seems to have appeared in Tibet about 200 years after Gautama as a unification between Buddhism and the existing tantric practice in the area during the period. Tantric yoga which has many of the same precepts of tantric buddhism predated Buddhism by at least 500 years.
tom tobias wrote:
Are the ORIGINAL sources of these two guys who lived a couple thousand miles apart, similar?
this is debatable depending on who you ask. It is difficult to articulate and differentiate these ancient eastern theories/mindsets/systems using translated and interpreted modern western mindset and language. I'm curious what others and experts have to say on the matter. From my experiences Buddhism and Taoism are very similar yet very much different, being that they both seem to describe and define nearly the same state of consciousness yet using different words. Both systems say it is impossible to define what they re trying to define (tao te ching chapter 1) so its very possible theyre talking about the same state of liberation/enlightenment/moksha. I could not locate the exact quote by Carl Jung, but from recall it was basically: the liberation experience is beyond words and using words to define it only causes misconception and thus perpetuates a lie. Siddhartha said nearly the same on several occasions so it's difficult to say if they were talking about the same thing, it has been debated many times, and continues to be debated. I think the safest way to know for sure is to engross and envelope one's self entirely in both practices sense they're both experiential in nature and not easily quantified.
Post 27 Feb 2007, 03:48
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MichaelH



Joined: 03 May 2005
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MichaelH
Thankyou tantrikwizard, I really appreciate you starting this thread.

I, like tom, confess to knowing almost nothing about Eastern Philosophies but I believe my view of complete rejection of religious intolerance is practiced in Eastern Philosophies. Please enlighten me if this is so.

Regards
Post 27 Feb 2007, 04:12
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bogdanontanu



Joined: 07 Jan 2004
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bogdanontanu
I can only talk about my path...

I was attracted by martial arts and truth seeking from my early ages.
After mastering martial arts I have found Gita and and had interest into the dilema of Arjuna and the answers of Krishna. I was first shocked by the wisdom and truth spoken by Krishna.

Then I have found Patanjali and Yoga.

I have started to respect the rules of:
1) YAMA - rules of conduct with others and
2) NIYAMA - rules of conduct with yourself.

Then I have practiced HATHA YOGA ASANAS (physical body postures) for about 15 years. During this period I have started PRANAYAMA (breath control exercises) and slowly I have started RAYA YOGA exercises like: mind settling, concentrations, CONTEMPLATION and MEDITATION....

I have been honest on my path, always questioning everything and based myself on experience rather than mental aberrations ...

One DAY totally unexpected during some YOGA exercise BLISS happened and i was not there to be shoked...

And then again another day -- again unexpected -- during making love with a partner -- the BLISS extended upon my self. AFTER this I was never myself anymore as the JOY, and WISDOM and BEAUTY of this experience have marked me soul and mind forever and ever.

I can not describe the feeling of coming back into this world... But I have had to come back and continued to exist into this world in order to finish some sexual and technological experiences I have left undone in other life(s).

I have found out parts of my previous lifes (that will remain untold).

You could say that until a certain point I was a honest atheist following scientifically methods and Patanjali and HATHA YOGA.

I have kept an open mind rejecting all dogma stating the existence or the non existence of a GOD.

My philosophical perception shifted slightly toward LaoTzu and Buddha during my Pranayama and Meditation exercises. Somewhere "before" and "after" I have discovered master OSHO and ZEN. I am still in ZEN now.

I wish to say "Thank you" to all the masters of the Universe for their help on the path until now...

This is my personal honest experience story with "eastern philosophies"
I have tried to put it into words... although the Truth can not be spoken... only experienced personally.

To answer Tom, ZEN is the "merge" in between Buddhism and DaoDeJing

And YES Tantra and Buddha are talking about the same truth.

Buddha uses the NETI NETI kind of message (neither this neither that) because the negative approach does no allow the mind to cling on false issues.

Tantra uses the positive approach (also that also this) saying that everything is acceptable if understood and perceived correctly.

This methods has the danger of the mind still thinking it is doing something "actively" in order to achieve BLISS ... . however this method is more attractive to a type of disciples.

Both methods go in the same direction, and are the same. It is just about the disciples types they do attract...

_________________
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger,
more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage --
to move in the opposite direction."


Last edited by bogdanontanu on 27 Feb 2007, 04:48; edited 1 time in total
Post 27 Feb 2007, 04:26
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MichaelH



Joined: 03 May 2005
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MichaelH
Just to elaborate on my above question. A few years ago I had the pleasure of becoming a close friend of a Hindu from India. He showed me some of the different animal gods in Hindu and what each stood for. Sadly I remember little of what he taught me.

He was funny as he'd often take me aside and rebuke me for not keeping my lady in line. It was hard for him to understand the relationship my lovely lady an I have as his marriage was an arranged marriage and to me it looked like he was to tough on his lady. That aside, he insisted his Hindu belief tolerated all religious beliefs and back in India he had many Moslem friends. However, the day India announced they had a nuclear bomb, he like many Indians in this country, to my dismay celebrated the fact Pakistan was now going to pay for their wrong doings .... which kind of left me puzzled as to whether eastern philosophies are tolerant of all religions after all.


Last edited by MichaelH on 27 Feb 2007, 06:21; edited 1 time in total
Post 27 Feb 2007, 04:42
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bogdanontanu



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bogdanontanu
The eastern institutionalized and organized religions are in no way better then other. They are just a way of imposing a dogma to a large amount of follower that do not like to think for them self... but rather prefer the pre-digested control of others....

This generates intolerance and violence as expected

That is why I insist on Patanjali and YAMA rules: the first rule is "non violence" Wink
Post 27 Feb 2007, 04:58
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MichaelH



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MichaelH
bogdanontanu, thank you for answering my question.

I have read the words you have written about your path and although I do not completely understand what you have experienced, I am of the opinion I may have experienced similar experiences without realising what they were. As you can not explain in words your experiences, I also are unable to put my experiences into words. Thank you for trying to convey your experiences.

Regards
Post 27 Feb 2007, 06:28
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tantrikwizard



Joined: 13 Dec 2006
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tantrikwizard
MichaelH wrote:
complete rejection of religious intolerance is practiced in Eastern Philosophies.


It depends on who you ask really. I know a buddhist scholar and translator of ancient Pali that rejects modern buddhism as nihilists and spiritual masochists and says modern buddhism doesn't even remotely resemble the teachings of Gautama. He's probably one of the 10 most learned scholars in traditional buddhism in the world and absolutely despises modern buddhism. My studies of yoga and hindusim seem to be much more tolerant, most authentic teachers of these systems say there is one destination and many roads to it. I've meet zealous and fanatical buddhists and yogis like rugxulo that fervently declare their particular system as being the only right one but they're few and far between. I think it will be found that the vast majority of teachers of eastern philosophies and spiritual paths are very much tolerant of other paths and the fanatical sort will be unrealized beginner practitioners. The fanatical sorts will also be much fewer than in western ideologies by nature of their practices (meditation, cultivation of compassion, selflessness, etc) are actually practiced and not just proclaimed.
I recall several stories of prominent yoga teachers saying all roads lead to rome. In one instance a disciple and his teacher were walking when along came a religious parade. The disciple reprimand the religious types because they didnt understand what they were worshiping. The teacher corrected him and said 'the divine loves the praises of the ignorant and enlightened alike.'
Post 27 Feb 2007, 12:36
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tantrikwizard



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tantrikwizard
bogdanontanu wrote:
Buddha uses the NETI NETI kind of message ...<snip>... Tantra uses the positive approach (also that also this) saying that everything is acceptable if understood and perceived correctly.
This is correct for the most part, though tantra practices vary depending on lineage and teacher. My teacher used neti neti for things that the mind attracted or attached to and tat twam asi (that thou art) for the things the mind repelled or rejected, sort of a mix of the two philosophies. Though most tantric philosophies hold the idea of perception being maya (illusion) and therefore unable to be fully understood.
Post 27 Feb 2007, 16:12
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tantrikwizard



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tantrikwizard
tom tobias wrote:
I am reading DaoDe Jing, but, not making much headway with it.....
The tao is very prolific and difficult to understand. There's a lot of translations and interpretations out there and some are outright contradictory to the disposition and character of the Tao. A good translation and interpretation is important. One translation by famous occultist Alister Crowley is downright dark, gloomy and almost satanic in nature, reflecting his own personal philosophy and interjection on this beautiful work. According to Dr Lee Yearly (professor of religious studies at Stanford.) Lao Tzu disagreed with intellectualizing the Tao. He was apprehensive and hesitant to put it into writing but reluctantly did so at the commission of the state officials. This is reflected in the first chapter of the tao
Lao Tzu as translated by Stan Rosenthal wrote:

Even the finest teaching is not the Tao itself.
Even the finest name is insufficient to define it.
Without words, the Tao can be experienced,
and without a name, it can be known.

To conduct one's life according to the Tao,
is to conduct one's life without regrets;
to realize that potential within oneself
which is of benefit to all.

Though words or names are not required
to live one's life this way,
to describe it, words and names are used,
that we might better clarify
the way of which we speak,
without confusing it with other ways
in which an individual might choose to live.

Through knowledge, intellectual thought and words,
the manifestations of the Tao are known,
but without such intellectual intent
we might experience the Tao itself.

Both knowledge and experience are real,
but reality has many forms,
which seem to cause complexity.

By using the means appropriate,
we extend ourselves beyond
the barriers of such complexity,
and so experience the Tao.
Post 27 Feb 2007, 16:33
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bogdanontanu



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bogdanontanu
There is something to understand about all of the "Scriptures":

They are rarely written by the Masters themselves.
Usually it is hearsay or stories recorded later on.

Even so the truth can not be spoken without instantly changing it's quality. Masters will simply refuse to speak it. They will adapt it in such a way as to be useful for a specific disciple or for a kind of disciples.

That is why scriptures are marginally useful (or in fact non useful) in the absence of a master.

And because most of them are written for the eastern culture and mindset ... some concepts will mean something for an eastern person and something utterly different for a western people.

The difference in cultures and customs is/was immense. I have seen many western people and friends trying to understand eastern scriptures from a western perspective and with a western mind set .. Usually they fail miserably and in fact understand wrongly.

In my opinion, I would recommended western people to study OSHO's "books" mainly because they are written in English and they are oriented towards an western audience and mindset. The best way would be to hear some audio recordings or original spoken conferences... this way the possibility of confusion is lighter...

Also Patanjali did an "almost scientifically" western kind of work and because of this his Yoga Sutra is also suitable for western peoples as an introductory paper into an eastern system of thought.
Post 27 Feb 2007, 18:20
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bogdanontanu



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bogdanontanu
MichaelH wrote:
bogdanontanu, thank you for answering my question.

I have read the words you have written about your path and although I do not completely understand what you have experienced, I am of the opinion I may have experienced similar experiences without realising what they were. As you can not explain in words your experiences, I also are unable to put my experiences into words. Thank you for trying to convey your experiences.

Regards


To answer Michael:

Oh, I can describe my experiences in much more details... Sometimes I have done this in private.

However I do not consider this helpful because:
1) I wanted to focus more on the general path and it's relation with various Eastern thinkers and philosophic movements...

2)Such experiences are specific to each individual and if they are described in great detail there is a danger of the MIND to copycat them Wink

But you can not copycat something you have never heard or read about Smile

On thing I can tell you: You will never miss to recognize such an experience... it will be so real and so true that it will leave it's maks on you forever and ever ... even after this life.

So, IF it happens THEN you will now!

_________________
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger,
more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage --
to move in the opposite direction."
Post 27 Feb 2007, 18:29
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tantrikwizard



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tantrikwizard
bogdanontanu wrote:
I would recommended western people to study OSHO's "books"...
I agree entirely with everything you've said. Short of a personal authentic teacher (which is very difficult to find) Osho is extremely articulate and western-mind oriented in much of his works. His discourses on the vigyana bhairava tantra (book of secrets) are an invaluable read for anyone wanting to understand the philosophies of zen, taoism and tantra. Many Osho discourses and ebooks can be found at www.oshoworld.com There are several tantric worlds, disciplines and practices. Osho stays away from the magick portions and those portions with questionable practices or unscientific basis. He also refrains from describing his experiences in kundalini awakening, the reasons of which you have already outlined, to do so would be misleading for any aspirant and accurate description of such is impossible using words. As Osho points out in the discourses on the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, tantra is not an explanatory system, it is an experencial system. When a question is asked about the nature of the cosmos, a technique is given, not an answer. Through practice of the techniques one realizes the answer to their question which cannot be put into words. Answers to philosophical questions are never given in the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, rather every question is answered with a technique. Learn the technique and the answer is realized, not just intellectualized.
Post 27 Feb 2007, 19:00
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OzzY



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OzzY
Quote:

Alister Crowley is downright dark, gloomy and almost satanic in nature, reflecting his own personal philosophy and interjection on this beautiful work.

I like Aleister Crowley. I used to have a PDF copy of the book of the law. Then I lost some interest, but I think I will start studying ocultism again.
I don't have much deep knowlegde though. I'm a casual reader.
Post 27 Feb 2007, 19:40
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tom tobias



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tom tobias
tantrikwizard wrote:
The tao is very prolific and difficult to understand. There's a lot of translations and interpretations out there and some are outright contradictory to the disposition and character of the Tao. A good translation and interpretation is important. ...
In an earlier post, on another thread, I offered the first half of chapter 3 of DaoDe Jing by LaoZi. I am amazed at the substantial difference in translation between my version and that posted by tantrikwizard. This large difference in translation probably has many explanations, but, I will focus on only one. Huang's version was published just four years ago, and is based upon the newly discovered (i.e. 30 years ago!!) MaWangDui silk manuscripts, unearthed from a Han tomb, and thought by Chinese scholars to represent legitimate copies of the original text. The translator, ChiChung Huang also has written a biography of KongZi, and confirms the meetings between LaoZi and KongZi (Confucius). To my novist's untrained eye, the writings of LaoZi and KongZi are completely different from one another, and I am grasping at any shred of data that will shed light on this question of a relationship between DaoDe Jing and Gautama's writings. Since I know, and understand, absolutely NOTHING about Buddhism, I am completely bewildered by the notion that the writings of Siddhartha and LaoZi are somehow similar or related in some fashion. To my simple minded perspective (mov EAX, zero), if LaoZi and KongZi's writings are so completely different, even though they lived just a few hundred miles apart, and physically met, and chatted together, then, it is difficult for someone like me, i.e. very simplistic view of the world, to imagine that Gautama and LaoZi, living THOUSANDS of miles apart, (in the era before camel excursions to India had been approved by the central committe,) could share something in common. I can scarcely imagine the possiblility of a legible manuscript reaching one man or the other, let alone either of them having physical contact with the other. But, if, on the other hand, they did somehow manage to meet, somewhere, maybe in Tibet, for example, then how could they communicate? Anyone here speak Bengali? Hindi? Peshtun? Urdu? Do you suppose that Siddhartha could read Hanzi? Do you imagine that LaoZi could understand Sanscrit text? I didn't think so. Look at how different these two versions of the same passage are, and ask yourselves whether or not it is possible that 2500 years ago, either man could have received a valid translation of the other's work?
Huang ChiChung wrote:
Dao: the way
Chapter One:
A Dao that can be spoken about
Is not the constant Dao;
A name that can be named
Is not the constant name.
Nonbeing names
The ten thousand things beginning;
Being names
The ten thousand things' mother.
Therefore constantly be desireless,
Whereby to observe its minutiae;
Constantly be desirous,
Whereby to observe where it ends.
The two issued from the same origin,
And though different in name,
Refer to the same thing.
Deep and remote, doubly deep and remote,
Gate of multitudinous minutae.

I am reminded here of Sibelius' famous reply when his music was praised, noting that compared with Carl Nielsen--[especially symphonie number 4!!] his own work was amateurish. DaoDe Jing is so complex, that I am utterly befuddled, trying to understand even the slightest nuance of what this guy, LaoZi, is trying to express. KongZi (like Sibelius) has also some dissonance, some qualities which we can describe as less than facile to comprehend, but on the whole, his writing is crystal clear, compared with Lao Zi. I have read, and reread, a dozen times (not ten thousand!) this same passage, waiting for a lightning bolt to strike some sense of realization of what this is all about. I can even grasp XOR more easily than LaoZi. I believe that (though we await confirmation on this point from YONG) Chinese people today, ALSO CAN NOT UNDERSTAND DaoDe Jing, without an explanatory text accompanying the original HanZi. Is there anyone on this list who can read and understand Chaucer? That's only 700 years old. For me, this text from chapter 1 of the DaoDe Jing is simply incomprehensible. It could be a recipe for making Baba Ganoush, for all I can discern. Point here is simple: when compared to ostensibly the SAME text provided above by tantrikwizard, it is clear that his translator has embellished the original, else, the original source has been embellished by some scribe(s) during the past several thousand years!! With such a huge difference in versions, I believe one can draw any conclusion one wishes, regarding the influence of one person or another on anyone else. Was there communication between Gautama and LaoZi? I doubt it. I doubt even more that this text of LaoZi could serve to support such an hypothesis, or alternatively, it could equally serve to support that or any other hypothesis, given the relative meaninglessness of these words from chapter 1.....Now you know why I started with Chapter 3, in my earlier submission!!!
Post 27 Feb 2007, 22:40
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YONG



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YONG
tom tobias wrote:
... I believe that (though we await confirmation on this point from YONG) Chinese people today, ALSO CAN NOT UNDERSTAND DaoDe Jing, without an explanatory text accompanying the original HanZi. ...


DaoDeJing is written in Classical/Literary Chinese (as opposed to Vernacular Chinese, the modern style). So, even for a Chinese with moderate knowledge in Chinese Language, DaoDeJing is difficult to read/understand.

For those who don't know the difference between the two styles of written Chinese, please refer to the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_Chinese

YONG
Post 28 Feb 2007, 14:04
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tantrikwizard



Joined: 13 Dec 2006
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tantrikwizard
tom tobias wrote:
I am amazed at the substantial difference in translation between my version and that posted by tantrikwizard.
There is a difference between translation and interpretation. I'm no expert in ancient chinese but chinese characters can have multiple meanings making the text open to interpretation just by nature of being written in ancient chinese. Outside of taking a course in the subject I think its best to read as many translations and interpretations as possible to get an idea of lao tzu is trying to say.
Post 28 Feb 2007, 20:25
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tom tobias



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tom tobias
tantrikwizard wrote:
There is a difference between translation and interpretation......I think its best to read as many translations and interpretations as possible to get an idea of lao tzu is trying to say.
http://www.sarsef.org/pageframe.asp?pg=80
SARSEF wrote:
Good science is establishing and following a protocol, collecting data, and analyzing the data. This will usually lead to rejecting or accepting a hypothesis or predicting the outcome of the Problem Statement. To reject a hypothesis is just as good a science experiment as one that proves the hypothesis correct.

Here's my opinion, for whatever that's worth:
I don't agree that one should "read as many [versions] as possible". I think one should read the English translation which is as faithful to the original source as possible. One ought, in my opinion, exert oneself to discover the best possible translation, and work with that document to attempt to understand the meaning. I have no idea, right now, and am hoping that someone could clarify for me, whether tantrikwizard's translation, above, is at variance with Huang's version because
1. Huang's version uses a different source, i.e. the source material is different, OR,
2. Huang's version OMITS the CHINESE INTERPRETATION, added in recent centuries, as YONG explained above, in other words, Huang's version may be faithful to the original text, while the other version, is rather, translating into ENGLISH the current CHINESE text, which is written to explain the original source, not the original source itself.
In either case, simply reading multiple versions, without concern for the accuracy of the original source, can only lead to confusion, and misunderstanding.
Of greater concern to me, is the notion, expressed yesterday, that there is some kind of link between Gautama and LaoZi. I seek an answer to the question of how this assertion can be justified. In other words, where is the reference that explains how these two philosophies came to be integrated into some sort of amalgam. For sure, KongZi and LaoZi are MILES APART, philosophically-->>> I cannot begin to fathom what LaoZi is suggesting, thus far. KongZi's writings appear more like homilies for children, compared with LaoZi's lofty assertions. Can we please gain some information on the source of this notion that Buddhist thinking, at least originally, if not currently, bore some kind of resemblance, even if only slight, to the writing of LaoZi? When I look at FASM, I see some kind of relation to the assemblers that preceded it, but, unless they were Intel architecture based, the resemblance is whimsical at best.
Hypothesis: There has been a move in recent centuries to unite some kind of Buddhist ideology with some kind of Daoist thinking, with a result that some folks believe, regardless of the facts, that the two are interconnected in some manner. I suppose they have no more connection to one another than they do to Zoroastrianism.
Post 01 Mar 2007, 00:41
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tantrikwizard



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tantrikwizard
tom tobias wrote:
Can we please gain some information on the source of this notion that Buddhist thinking, at least originally, if not currently, bore some kind of resemblance, even if only slight, to the writing of LaoZi?
I am unaware of any communication between the two, though such communication is not necessary for them to speak about the same thing. We observe scientific discoveries occurring simultaneously in separate parts of the world without the scientists having knowledge of the other’s experimentation or conclusions, it can be reasonably concluded that the two are talking about the same state of consciousness without direct contact with one another. Both Siddhartha and Lao Tzu explain that their definitions are going to be inadequate and misleading, and intellectualizing said states is contrary to attaining/realizing them. The state of liberation/moksha is not a pondering, questioning, analyzing state of being. There is a state of being beyond mind, beyond thinking, pondering and questioning. There is a state of being where the troubles, questioning, wondering, self-doubt/suffering disappear. It is the very nature of mind to question itself, wonder if it knows what it knows. The mind is highly enough evolved to question itself, getting just past this doubt is an important goal in these systems. Eastern philosophies should be classified as ‘eastern psychologies’, ‘eastern philosophy’ does not accurately define the requirements of realizing (as opposed to understanding) these systems IMO. Rather, I think, eastern psychology is more appropriate. It requires a different way of thinking, a different world view and outlook on the mind, this is why ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ mindset is often differentiated. There are different archetypal stereotypes and pre-programmed preconceptions which are not immediately noticed or recognized for westerners and cause a bit of difficulty in understanding these systems. For example, in much eastern philosophy the term ‘mind’ is used and it has a different meaning in the west. To a western mindset, the term ‘mind’ normally refers to ‘brain’, the gray matter encapsulated in the skull. Whereas ‘mind’ in many eastern systems is referring to the individuals though processes, the thinking self which is not limited to the gray/white matter, rather the whole body is a thinking organism. Often the word ‘mind’, depending on context, refers to one of several possible minds. In some tantric systems there is the ‘body mind’ and the ‘spirit mind’, both of which can be called ‘mind’ in certain contexts though they’re very much different. In these contexts there is an eastern preconception that the reader/student is going to automatically differentiate between body mind and spirit mind and there is an eastern preconception that the reader/student does not confuse ‘mind’ with ‘brain’. Mind (eastern concept) plays a huge role at the deeper philosophical levels of most eastern systems and the indigenous languages (from which though arises (the mind thinks in language)) reflect this importance. Considering the central role and trouble/problem of the mind (eastern concept) in both language and archetypal importance, it is not unquestionable that Lao Tzu and Gautama happened upon the same state of liberation without direct contact.
I have communication out to one of my scholar friends to find out definitively of these similarities and will get back once I hear from him.

tom tobias wrote:
I think one should read the English translation which is as faithful to the original source as possible. One ought, in my opinion, exert oneself to discover the best possible translation, and work with that document to attempt to understand the meaning.
of course one cannot exert themselves to discover the best possible translation without having read as many translations as possible. A problem with these ancient texts is in the translation and interpretation, which in this case, the tao (dao), being written in ancient Chinese is open to interpretation by the very nature of being written in ancient Chinese where each character has multiple meanings. (I think there were < 5,000 characters in the original writing) However, I do not think it is adequate to settle on a single interpretation because of the writing style of the period and the prolific nature of the ideas attempting to be conveyed. I’ve read at least a dozen different interpretations and translations, each of which has its pros and cons in different chapters and settings. It’s no doubt very difficult to grasp a complete comprehension of the man’s ideas, perhaps he was a kookoo.
Post 01 Mar 2007, 03:22
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