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Thread: zen, daoism, and other eastern philosophies

  1. #1
    o Guest

    zen, daoism, and other eastern philosophies

    Does anyone know of resources that compare and contrast zen and daoism?

    Also, does anyone know of any resources that compare and contrast the eastern mysticisms/ philosophies such as: Buddhism, yoga (many different forms), Advaita Vedanta (and the Vedics), Brahmanism, Jainism, shamanism, and Hinduist branches?

  2. #2
    kull Guest
    Iam not and expert in eastern phylosophy, but Zen is the japanese word for Chan Buddhism. Daoism is the native philosophy/religion of china which is based on the Tao, or way, yin yang, etc....

  3. #3
    Qiman Guest

    Check out this refference book

    Great Thinkers of the Eastern World
    Editor: Ian P. McGreal
    Publishers: HarperCollins
    10 East 53rd Street
    New York, NY 10022

    Sorry no phone number. It might be available online. I got my copy through the One Spirit Book Club.

  4. #4
    o Guest
    I figure I'd bring up my old post being there are a lot of new people to this forum who may be able to provide input.

  5. #5
    Fish of Fury Guest
    sorry, no input...
    but it's a great question.
    i've always felt zen buddhism and taoism to be extremely similar in a lot of ways.

    __________________________________________________ _________________________ "I'm just trying to lull you into a genuine sense of security!"

  6. #6
    origenx Guest
    At higher levels, one sees the higher unity in things that appear different at lower levels. Case-in-point, this is the very same concept behind both the Eastern Taiji and Western all-seeing eye symbols.

    So here is the commonality between Taoism and Buddhism (and Christianity):

    Taoism advocates "going with the flow" in life in harmony with the "Tao." This can be seen as floating downstream along with the river current.

    Buddhism advocates releasing attachments because the universe is ever-changing. This can be seen as not hanging onto roots and branches alongside the river. And hence allowing the goal of Taoism - freely-flowing with the river.

    Christianity advocates obediance in following "God's will." Substitute "Tao" for "God" here.

    As far as Zen (Ch'an) Buddhism vs Taoism specifically:
    Zen Buddhism operates under the concept that words are no substitute for reality, and that traditional logical scholarly teaching may not necessarily be the most direct route to enlightenment.
    Now I believe there's a passage in the Tao Te Ching's line about how the Tao that's spoken of is not the true Tao, or something along those lines. ...or was that a misinterpretation?

  7. #7
    Eight Diagram Boxer Guest

    all I know is:

    Zen or (ch'an) buddhism evolved in China, and was very influenced by Taoism. In fact, Quanzhen (Complete Reality), a sect of Taoism, is very influenced by Buddhism, and even incorporates some Buddhist sutras into their scriptures. Both advocate meditation as the key component of practice in order to gain enlightenment/immortality (at least to the best of my knowledge)

    Knowing others is wisdom, Knowing the self is enlightenment- Lao Tzu

  8. #8
    Scott R. Brown Guest
    Try "Tao, The Watercoourse Way" and "The Way of Zen" both by Alan Watts. There is a clear relationship between what is considered intellectual Taoism and Chan. These two books will draw the caomparison and are pretty good primers for anyone interested in learning about Chan(Zen) and gaining some insight into Taoism as well.



  9. #9
    Nexus Guest

    Alan Watts

    Well Said.. Alan Watts is the #1 expert or considerably so in America. He has done 90% of the translations or something near that of the old Zen texts.

    He's also quite a funny guy. I remember his opening words to his speech on Zen to be something like, "If you walk away from this speech thinking you know anything about Zen, you missed the entire point."

    - Nexus

    Freedom is what you do with what is done to you. - Sartres

  10. #10
    dwid Guest
    Alan Watts was a pretty remarkable guy. It's too bad about his passing. Check out the URL below to find an interview from Empty Vessel, where an old friend of his describes what he was like, and explains that his rampant alcoholism didn't prohibit him from being a Taoist of the highest order.

    It's pretty good stuff. - (The stuff about Watts is toward the end.)

    The way of the samurai is in desperateness. Ten men or more cannot kill such a man. Common sense will not accomplish great things. Simply become insane and desperate. - Hagakure

  11. #11
    origenx Guest
    I'd have to disagree with Alan Watt's alcoholism. Too often, westerners latch onto Eastern philosophy b/c it's less rigid and thus attempt to use it to justify their vices.

    But the fact is, alcoholism is really not so "unconventional" in this country (it's epidemic, if anything), and nor is it flowing with nature - it is destructive to your liver. And besides, Taoism is not about rebelling or following, it's about simply following our true nature. If that HAPPENS to be what everyone else is or isn't doing, then so be it. You shouldn't be intentionally conforming or non-conforming.

  12. #12
    dwid Guest
    I'm not arguing one way or another myself. I suggest you read the excerpt and draw your own conclusions. The argument I'm referring to, however, is rooted in the long-standing tradition of wandering Taoists that enjoyed a stiff drink. It is without a doubt that alcoholism is a tragedy, especially in the case of someone as gifted as Watts. However, from what I can remember of the interview, it seems Watts did some of his best lecturing when drunk. The Tao works in mysterious ways, eh?

    While I agree that Westerners too often use Eastern philosophy as an excuse to live recklessly, I've seen an awful lot of people on the other end of the spectrum as well, who use Eastern philosophy and martial discipline as an excuse to become too rigid. I think moderation is the key, and even discipline needs to be moderated at times.
    The way of the samurai is in desperateness. Ten men or more cannot kill such a man. Common sense will not accomplish great things. Simply become insane and desperate. - Hagakure

  13. #13
    JerryLove Guest
    Actually, there are some striking differences at in-depth levels.

    All Buddism teaches that life is suffering and suffering is caused by desire. The goal of any Buddist religion is therefore to release one's-self of desire (even the desire to not desire) so as to prevent suffering.

    Daoism teaches that everything has a nature, a way. And that it is through resisting that nature that disharmony occurs. It's the "uncarved block" principle. Daoism is about easy and natural flow. There is a general tendancy toward a lack of ambition, but it's from the opposite viewpoint (life is good when you act in a manner which is in your nature, life is harmonious when you allow others to do the same).

    Christianity is a bit scitzophrenic. Ignoring the many little scizims that all religions have, Christianity is wandering between two polar views... The first is the Jewish held belief in a vengful, jealous God who punishes people and brings down disasters. This God likewise orders his followers to act violently in his name... Second is the Christian Demigod that came to preach extreme tolerance and forgiveness. He pushed for a seperation for earthly desires and supplication with a desire to help others.

    All address a common need, so all have some similarities. But within that fram, I find the three religions rather dissimilar.

  14. #14
    monkey mind Guest

    Indian philosophy

    To answer your second question, o, the classic resource is "A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy", edited by Radhakrishnan and Moore. It contains brief commentaries and select translations of various traditions' sacred works. For sure, it covers "Buddhism, yoga (many different forms), Advaita Vedanta (and the Vedics), Brahmanism, Jainism, shamanism, and Hinduist branches" in their philosophical, literary manifestations. This has some relation to mysticism, but when you start to examine the various mystical strands within these Indian traditions, the neat distinctions found in philosophy begin to blur. I've found that in approaching mysticism especially, you have to cast your net wide and get a variety of viewpoints. After all, mysticism deals with the ineffable, right? This allows for some play in interpreting mystical experience. And so to get an intellectual understanding of mystical experience, it makes sense to examine as many facets of its expression as you can. Actually, this approach agrees perfectly with a doctrine of Jain philosophy called Anekantavada - the many sidedness of truth, but I'd better stop there or else beware the flood of arcane and obscure ramblings...


  15. #15
    TjD Guest
    the last time i checked buddhism didnt teach that life was suffering... just that suffering was a good way to bring about release and enlightenment; but every moment is a good time for release and enlightenment :)

    and actually i see a lot more ties between zen buddhism and taoism than i do tibetan buddhism and taoism... i think zen/tao got a bit mixed up :) a lot of what ive heard about zen has something to do with prereflexive action - which from what ive heard of taoism sounds a lot like living the tao
    tibetan buddhism seems to be a lot more compassion orientated


    if you never get into a fight,
    you can never be defeated,
    if you can never be defeated,
    you are invincible

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