Traditional, Philosophical Ways
The Tao Te Ching (the core Taoist scripture) invites you to contemplate your innermost sense of reality. It doesn’t tell you what to do or think, but rather stimulates you to think and reflect.
- Is Taoism a Religion? An Overview of Taoist Thought
- Understanding the Tao Te Ching
- Tao Te Ching: Translations and Commentaries
- Tao Te Ching: Literal Chinese vs. Translations
A Taoist world view can feel pretty ephemeral at times. Buddha nailed the cause of life’s trials and tribulations, and how to deal with it. These truths can help ground you, if you find them true for you. Note: I discovered what I feel to be a more accurate portrayal of Buddha’s Eight Fold Path. See Right state of peaceful mind, for details.
- Buddha’s Four Truths with Commentary
- Understanding Buddhism . . . and Beyond
- Buddha’s Four Truths – Poking a Little Deeper
A “Dummies” understanding of the other main religions helps give context to humanity’s overall spiritual quest / dilemma. Seeing what elements all these paths share can neutralize a lot of the rhetorical and partisan overlay that limits them all. Note: These are just links to a “Dummies” book on each, a starting point if you will. The “Idiots” books I’ve reviewed and listed for Buddhism and Taoism were decent enough introductions, so I’m assuming these will be too. I may comment more once I review them. In any case, it is important to have at least a “dummies” understanding of all branches of human spirituality to see their ‘profound sameness‘, as the Tao Te Ching puts it.
- “Hinduism for Dummies” ~ The Bagavad Gita and Buddha’s Four Truths serve as a succinct summary of Hinduism’s core, at least for me.
- “The Bible for Dummies” ~ Christianity, Judaism and Islam are ‘Abrahamic faiths’. Personally, I see them as being three branches of the same worldview. The Old Testament is the Jewish Tanakh (Torah plus) modified a bit to support the advent of Jesus, while the New Testament serves Christianity’s core. Islam acknowledges these religions and the Bible, but holds that the Koran is the final Word, so to speak. Of these Abrahamic faiths, I find only Jesus’ teachings (Bible with words spoken by Jesus in red print) to be succinct enough for me to get my head around.
- “The Koran for Dummies” ~ I’ve heard it said that listening to the Koran in Arabic offers the ultimate understanding. Well, I’ll have to take their word for it. Over the years I have found that most adherents of religion – any religion – know very little of their religion’s core worldview. For most people, religion serves as a social common ground, very much like politics or any other ‘tribal’ vehicle.
Traditional, Physical Ways
These methods give you an opportunity to integrate mind, breath and body in the ‘flowing moment’. It can be easier to notice awareness ‘leave the moment’ when you are doing them sincerely, compared with daily activities. Conscientious long term practice appears to increase such watchfulness.
- T’ai Chi: Flowing Mindfulness
- Hatha Yoga: Testing ‘Will’
- Blowing Zen: One Breath, One Mind
- Mountain Music: “Taoist Music?”
Contemporary, Philosophical Ways
Tools of Taoist Thought
Chapter two observes how “the good is only the bad”, “the beautiful is only the ugly” and “something and nothing produce each other”. Does that make sense? The practical techniques introduced here help you make that perceptual leap.
Core Issues of Human Nature
We can improve our chances of seeing what makes us tick by considering human characteristics as symptoms of underlying causes. Naturally, such causes are likewise the result of yet deeper causes, right on down to…???
- Introduction: Fear, Need, and the ‘Meaning of Life’
- Free Will: Fact or Wishful Thinking?
- Belief: Are We Just Fooling Ourselves?
- Ethics: Do They Work Anymore?
Questions and Observations
One Who Knows Does Not Think, Speak Or Write… Okay, if that doesn’t put everyone here on a level playing field, nothing will! Also, ignorance is no excuse for keeping silent. It certainly never stopped me! So please post your own questions and observations on the forum. To get your thought ball rolling, take a look at these ‘bits and pieces’ if you like:
- Do You Need A Teacher?
- Letters to Andy
- A Taoist View Vis-a-vis Evil
- Emails to Lynn:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
Times of Yore
Posts tagged with ‘Times of Yore’ are autobiographical. Naturally, many end up quite philosophical for that’s the element that usually hooks my experiences into memory in the first place. However, I am going to attempt to go lighter philosophy-wise, and put more into the ‘experiential moment’. This link below takes you to a biographical overview and links to ‘Times of Yore’ posts.