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Chapter 5

RLG Chapter 5.doc

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Kenneth Derry

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Chapter 5: Taoism The Old Master • Taoism originated with a man named Lao Tzu, a shadowy figure born on 604 BC. • Lao Tzu: means “the Old Boy” or “the Grand Old Master.” • People say that he was conceived by a shooting star, carried in his mother’s womb for 82 years and born already a wise old man with white hair. • Tao Te Ching or The Way and Its Power: the basic text of Taoism and can be read in half an hour or a lifetime. The Three Meanings of Tao • Tao is the way of ultimate reality: this Tao cannot be perceived or clearly conceived, for it is too vast for human rationality to fathom. • Tao is the way of the universe or the "Mother of the World”: it is the norm, the rhythm, the driving power in all nature and the ordering principle behind all life. • Tao is the way of human life. • In China, there are three Taoisms. Three Approaches to Power and the Taoisms That Follow • The three species of Taoism are very dissimilar from one another. • Philosophical Taoism • Religious Taoism: often called Popular Taoism. • Third School or Taoist “Adepts”: too heterogeneous to have acquired a single title. • All these schools intend to facilitate Tao’s power, its te, as it flows through human beings. Efficient Power: Philosophical Taoism • Philosophical Taoism: relatively unorganized; they are similar to self-help programs where coaches are involved to train students, guiding them in what they should understand and in what they should do in the vitalizing regimens. o It is the most exportable Taoism of the three and the one that has the most to say to the world at large. o Philosophical Taoism seeks knowledge; they want to repair their life. o To live wisely is to live in a way that conserves life’s vitality by not expending it in useless, draining ways like conflict. • Unlike Religious Taoism, Philosophical Taoisms primarily work on themselves. • Wu Wei: means inaction but in Taoism, it means pure effectiveness. Augmented Power: Taoist Hygiene and Yoga • Taoist Adepts: all are engaged in training programs but were not willing to settle for the philosophers’ goal of managing their allotments of the Tao efficiently. • Taoist Adepts wanted to increase the quota of the Tao they had to work with. • Ch’I: means vital energy • To maximize ch’i, they worked with three things: o Matter: they tried eating things to see if ch’i could be augmented nutritionally (discovery of medicinal herbs), sexual experiments and breathing exercises were also performed. o Movement: they performed t’ai chi chuan that gathers calisthenics, dance, meditation, yin/yang philosophy and martial art into a synthesis to draw ch’i and they performed acupuncture as well. o Minds: Taoist meditation to shut out distractions and to empty the mind to the point where the power of the Tao might bypass bodily filters and enter the self directly.  Taoist Yoga: similar to raja yoga but believe that the ch’i that yogis accumulate through meditation could be transmitted psychically to the community to enhance its vitality and
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