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Sunday, 25 February, 2024

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Taoism

 

Taoism

Taoism, also known as Daoism, is a philosophical and religious tradition that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (or Dao). The word "Tao" translates roughly to "way" or "path" but in the context of Taoism, it refers to a sort of intrinsic order or fundamental essence of the Universe. Taoism originated in China around the 4th century BCE and is traditionally attributed to the philosopher Laozi, although it has evolved significantly over the centuries.

Taoism includes several key concepts:

- Tao: As mentioned above, the Tao is the natural, spontaneous, eternal and indescribable way everything began and took course. It's an underlying, non-dualistic principle that governs the universe.

- Yin and Yang: These are opposite and complementary principles in nature. Yin is passive, dark, and feminine, Yang is active, light, and masculine. The interplay between these two forces shapes the universe and everything in it.

- Wu-wei: This means "non-action" or "effortless action". It's a state of being in which our actions align with the ebb and flow of the natural world.

- Ziran: This translates to "naturalness" or "spontaneity". It describes the state of existing without pretense or artificiality, in harmony with the Tao.

Taoism has influenced many aspects of Chinese culture, including literature, art, medicine, martial arts, and cuisine. It's considered one of the three main pillars of traditional Chinese thought, alongside Confucianism and Buddhism.

Taoism can be seen both as a philosophy and a religion. As a philosophical system, it primarily deals with the natural philosophy and ethics, emphasizing naturalness, simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: compassion, moderation, and humility. As a religious system, it incorporates rituals, ancestor veneration, divination, and various spiritual practices, with different sects and interpretations over time.

In terms of texts, the "Tao Te Ching" (also spelled Daodejing) and the "Zhuangzi" are two of the most significant. The former is attributed to Laozi and the latter to the philosopher Zhuangzi. Both discuss the nature of the Tao and how to live in accord with it.

Please note that understanding Taoism can be difficult, as it's often paradoxical and works more as a system of thought to be experienced rather than as a set of dogmas to be followed.

...

Preamble

Chang Tao

Tao

The existence

Wu - Wei


Preamble

“The Tao that we can talk about (call it the Tao) is not the "Unchangeable Tao " (Ch'ang Tao).

The name we can give it is not "Unchangeable Name" (ch'ang ming ).

Invisible (Wu) is the name I give to the Generator of Yang and Yin.

Visible (Yeu) is the name I give to the Mother of ten thousand beings.

Truly, in Wu (“not to be”, “to have no determinations”, invisible) we will marvel at the mystery.

In the Yeu ("Being", "has determinations", visible) we will see the external phenomena.

These two (Wu and Yeu) spring from the same (Tao), but their ways are different.

This "same" (Tao), I call the Dark (Xuan).

The darkest of this darkness is the "Gate of All Mysteries" (Ch'ang Tao).

(Tao Te Ching, chapter 1).

Chang Tao

TAO is the Only Reality:

“The Tao of which we can speak (call it Tao) is not the ETERNAL UNCHANGING TAO (CHANG TAO)”, (Tao Te Ching, chapter 1).

Tao

The Tao which we can talk about is described in chapter 25.

"There was an indefinite complete,

It was, before Heaven and earth appeared.

Silent, without any identifiable substance,

Resting on nothing, Immutable,

It penetrates (and is felt) everything, pervades everything, remaining Inexhaustible.

It is the source of all things.

I don't know its real name.

Tao is a name I give to It.

Trying to define it, I should say Mega (Ta, Infinite, Immeasurable).

But "ta" also means to evolve according to its nature

And to evolve means to spread to infinity

And to stretch out to infinity is to return back to its source.

Thus, as the Tao has "this property of evolving"

And as Uranus also has this property

And as the earth has it

So, the dominant man also has this ability.

Thus, within "reality" there are four processes of evolution

And one refers to "man".

The "ways" of men adapt to those of the earth

The "ways" of earth to those of Heaven

The "ways" of Heaven to those of the Tao

And the "ways" of the Tao in those "of It who is thus of Itself" (Ch'ang Tao).

(TTK, 25).

Within the texts of Lao Tzu a clear distinction is therefore made between the Ch'ang Tao and the Tao (of which we can speak), that is, the Reality that can be perceived.

The Chang Tao is Te. It is identified with Te (Spontaneous Energy), contains Te, manifests through Te. When Te calms then Ch'ang Tao is Ch'ang Tao. When Te is active then Tao is revealed. Tao in this sense means "Activity", "Process", Evolutionary Course, Path, Way (and in this sense it is not distinguished from Te). From the Tao all things arise and to the Tao they return (TTK, 25).

How is this possible? Within the Tao emerge two forces, yang (represented by a solid line) and yin (represented by a dashed line) activities that complement each other and exist simultaneously both together. Yang means spiritual energy, intelligence, the mentality that grasps abstract realities, relationships, etc. Yin means the essential element, the essence. Substance can have a "spiritual texture" or more coarse (what appears as "matter"). This depends on the level of activity (as explained below).

Yang and yin exist simultaneously, always, but their action is complementary. When Yang increases, Yin decreases and vice versa. This results in a spectrum of activity starting from Pure Yang and as yin progressively increases it ends up in pure yin. In this spectrum of activity there are infinite gradations but roughly different fields of activity can be distinguished. The transition from one field of activity to another is gradual but for purely practical reasons we identify three main phases represented by three lines, (as in the trigrams K'ien and K'uen ) or by the combination of three trigrams.

So, from Chiang Tao is born the One (Tao). From the One are born the two forces Yang and Yin. From the two forces are born the three distinct phases of activity that produce all fields of activity and all phenomena. According to Lao Tzu:

"The Tao (Ch'ang Tao) gave birth to the One,

One gave birth to duality,

Then two gave birth to three,

All three gave birth to all that exists.

These ten thousand creations have yin on their backs

And they embrace Yang

And their balance is based on this combination of forces..."

(TTK, 42).

In the beginning Yang predominates and yin is potent. This state is completely abstract and there are no discernible determinations for it and it is called Unseen (Wu, "not to be", "not to have determinations"). Nevertheless, three phases, states, can be distinguished, which are represented by three continuous lines, one on top of the other (the trigram Kien). This means the complete Predominance of Yang (which is why it is called Pure Yang, or simply Yang, or Heaven), but also the three phases, the transition from Pure Yang to the strengthening and emergence of yin.

In these three purely spiritual states the Tao appears to be:

1) I, Indistinct, undistinguished, "without idioms", "empty".

2) Si, Voiceless, Silent, "without presence".

3) Wei, Intangible, Subtle, imperceptible, "non-existent".

According to Lao Tzu:

"I look with my eyes but do not see: this I therefore call the Indiscernible (I).

I listen with the ears but do not hear it: and then I call it the Silent (Si).

I feel it with my hands but I do not feel it: and so I call it the Subtle (Wei).

All three of these experiences reveal the unexplored,

Thus, I perceive nothing but an Undifferentiated Unity.

Rising it does not shine, setting it does not darken.

Infinity, chain, not specified

Because it is within the space where there is no discrimination.

Described as shapeless,

Like an image without a face

That's why they call it Inconceivable.

You stare at it, but it has no face.

You follow it, but it has no spine.

And yet if you devote yourself to the ancient Tao

You will dominate even today.

Knowing the principle

It means "to have found the essence of Tao ".

When yin is active then there are distinct differences and different fields of activity are identified. All these states are characterized as the Visible (Yeu, "being", "having determinations"). While in the higher field of activity (Invisible) existence is composed of Yang, while yin is in potential and perceived as an Undifferentiated Unity, in the lower fields of activity (Visible) existence is composed of Yang and yin and appears to break down into Subject, consciousness of ego, (hsig , of Yang nature , spiritual energy) and object (mig , of Yin nature , vital substance). In the higher realm of Vision the hsig is pure intelligence and the mig is mental in texture. In the middle field of vision the hsig is degraded and the mig is energetic in texture. In the lower realm of Vision the hsig is even more degraded and the mig is of a material texture. Thus, in the Visible existence appears fragmented (the subject perceives itself within an objective world) and multiple (there are many subjects and objects).

Within Visible, three main fields of activity emerge, each comprising three phases.

1) When Yang dominates but Yin is active.

2) When yin dominates but yang is active.

3) When yin and yang fully prevail, it exists in potential.

Analytically:

1) The field of activity in which Yang dominates but yin is active is called Huen . Huen means the general state of the spiritual, luminous, higher soul but also the individual spiritual soul (of Yang nature). The individual spiritual soul is composed of spiritual energy (xig , of Yang nature ), concretized into mentality  (xin), and vital substance (mig , of Yin nature ), of mental texture. There are three main activities in this field represented by the three trigrams Tui, Li, Suen, which consist of two continuous lines and one broken line (top, middle, bottom, respectively). The three trigrams show (from top to bottom) the progressive strengthening of yin which slowly becomes the basis of existence. These three activities correspond to mental activities, functions, which in Western philosophy are called intellect, intelligence, perception.

2) When yin is further strengthened we pass into a field of activity qualitatively different from the previous one, the field where yin dominates but yang is active which is called p'o . Which means the general state of the "physical", dark, lower soul but also the individual "physical" soul (of the yin nature). The individual "physical" soul is composed of degraded mental activities and vital substance (mig) of energetic texture, which is gross and therefore appears as a form and is called "physical". There are three main activities represented by the three trigrams Chen, K'an, Ken which consist of two broken lines and one continuous line (bottom, middle, top, respectively). The three trigrams show (from top to bottom) the further strengthening of yin which at some point fully dominates. These three activities correspond to the animal energies, activities, consciousness, will, sense, of Western philosophy.

3) When yin is further strengthened we move into a field of activity qualitatively different from the previous one, in the field where yin fully predominates and yang exists in potential. This field is represented by the trigram K'wen consisting of three dotted lines. The three dotted lines mean the full Predominance of yin (hence called pure yin, earth), appearing as a substance of "material texture". The three lines further indicate that there are three states of material substance. Abstract energy, energy transformed into matter, and the totality of material objects.

The existence

The Chang Tao is the Only Reality From the Ch'ang Tao emerges the Tao . From Tao comes the Invisible (Wu) where Undifferentiated Unity prevails and the Visible (Yeu) with the various fields of activity where multiplicity of consciousness is manifested.

Thus, "that" which appears as "being", "existence", is the Tao manifested in the various fields of existence. In the Invisible Field there is perception of the Oneness of existence. In the Visible Fields the being also has an individual consciousness and manifests through a body of mental texture, energy texture, material texture (depending on the field in which it manifests). In the realm of pure yin, the being manifests itself through a carrier of material texture (the body).

Thus, being in the material realm is:

1) Tao.

2) Wu, Three states of conscious unity, (I, Si, Wei).

3) Yeu, (huen), three mental activities.

4) Yeu,  (p'o), three animal activities.

5) Son, body.

Wu - Wei

The Chang Tao is the Only Reality. From Chiang Tao, when it is active (Te) the Tao emerges, and from the Tao everything emerges, develops and returns again to the primordial state. Return is the Way, the natural culmination of evolution. When the Activity (Te) is released it will complete its cycle and return back to the Tao (in Ch'ang Tao). So, we must not interfere in the course of things. This Action is characterized as Wu -Wei (Non-Action) because it occurs spontaneously (chu ran), without any "grab" in the activity or the phenomenon. Everything that appears emerges from the Tao and sinks back into It, it is nothing different.

“Rise to ultimate emptiness

Hold fast in the state of calmness

And you will dominate all phenomena.

I have noticed them as they come back.

See, all things come out of nothing

They return back to the source from which they came.

This return to the source is called Tranquility,

Tranquility is called adaptation to "nature".

Whatever conforms to its "nature" becomes one with the Tao.

When you know the Tao you are enlightened.

To not know it is to walk blindly towards destruction.

He who knows the Tao has understanding.

He who has understanding attains an unbiased universality.

To be so is to be majestic,

To be majestic is to have the nature of Yang,

To have the nature of Yang is to become one with the Tao.

The Tao is eternal and he who knows the Tao well

Although his body dies he is not destroyed."

(TTK, 16).

The Tao only exists, nothing else. The Tao Is the true nature of all beings. All phenomena emerge from Tao, through Te and return to It again. This happens on a global and individual level.

When Te manifests unhindered, when there is Wu-Wei (Non-Action) everything follows its natural course and reaches its natural end, the Tao. But when the Te from Wu -Wei (Non-Action) is diverted to Wei (Action), when there is rapture in the activity, the situation, the phenomenon then there is confusion and the process is complicated.

The Tiers of Wu -Wei

Wu - wei as action (or rather as non-action) is not passive observation of phenomena but disciplined behavior aimed at raising consciousness from the lower functions of existence to the higher, as the Tao. This is done by calming the functions, starting with the lower and outer and progressing progressively to the higher and inner.

Practice consists of not getting attached to anything. The typological levels are:

1) Chiang Tao.

2) Wu, Tai -I, three states ( wu hsin )

3) Yeu, three degrees of hsin calmness.

4) Yeu, three levels of qi calming.

5) Yeu, calmness of the body.

Lao Tzu describes this path in chapter 56:

"Those who know don't talk about it,

Those who chatter know nothing.

Blocked the flow of the senses,

Close all the gates of entry and exit of the will,

Let all the turmoil of the world soften and fade away.

All entanglements, all complications are dissolved

The delusive light of intellect has dimmed,

The split mind, the dust of thought, has settled.

This is called the mystical plane (the mystical unity).

He who has attained mystical unity has neither attachments nor fears, (i.e. he becomes Wei, "non-existent"),

He is offended by nothing, flattered by nothing, (i.e. becomes Si, "without presence"),

He has no gains or losses, (i.e. it becomes I, “without idioms”, “empty”),

And for this very reason he becomes the supreme being (i.e. the Tao)

(TTK, 56).

 


 

 

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Our Prayer

The Path Within

 

O Cosmos, we stand at the precipice of the Absolute, gazing into the void of the Unknown. We search for a way to transcend the bounds of thought and ego, to experience the essence of our deepest being.

The Buddha, the Masters of the East Upanishads, Orpheus, Jesus – all these wise beings have pointed us towards the Path. But it is not a path that is external, not a journey that can be traversed by the feet. It is a path that lies within, a journey that must be undertaken by the heart and the mind.

We must let go of the external orientations that nurture and educate us, that direct us towards other goals. We must look inward, to the stillness and silence that resides within. We must listen to the whispers of our soul, to the voice that speaks of the Absolute.

Krishnamurti and other modern Sages have shown us that it is possible to experience the Absolute, to transcend the limitations of thought and ego. They have shown us that it is not a mystery, not a miracle, but a possibility that lies within our human nature.

So let us embark on this journey, this Path that few follow. Let us let go of the burdens that weigh us down, the attachments that bind us. Let us embrace the unknown, the uncertainty, the chaos that lies within.

For in the depths of the Absolute, we will find the stillness and peace that we seek. We will find the answers to the questions that have plagued us for centuries. We will find the Truth that lies within.

Let us be brave, let us be bold, let us be fearless. Let us take the step into the void, into the unknown. For it is there that we will find the Absolute, the essence of our being. It is there that we will find our true nature, our true self.

May we be guided on this journey by the wise words of the Sages, by the light of the Absolute that shines within us. May we find the strength and courage to let go of the old, to embrace the new. May we find the peace and stillness that we seek, the Truth that lies within.

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Glimpses of the Absolute

 

Within each of us lies the potential to transcend the limitations of ordinary mind and experience a deeper reality - what some traditions call the Absolute, the Ground of Being, or God. While this state of unity or peak experience has often been considered the domain solely of mystics and saints, the truth is that the capacity dwells dormant in every human soul. It is our essential nature, awaiting discovery through disciplined inner work.

All genuine spiritual paths point to the same destination, though using different languages and methods. At their core, they offer a process of liberation from identification with separate ego and gradual awakening to our intrinsic divine essence. This involves cultivating noble virtues, practicing presence of mind through meditation, and cultivating wisdom through inquiry into the nature of reality and self.

Over time, such disciplines help peel away layers of superficial conditioning to reveal our true blissful and peaceful self - one with the fundamental pure consciousness that underlies all forms. In that state of inward stillness and clarity, the usual boundaries between subject and object fall away. One perceives directly that all is contained within the one infinite life and knows directly one's identity with the eternal. Though ineffable, this realization brings transcendent peace, love, creativity and compassion.

While glimpses of the Absolute may come through grace to anyone at any time, consistent experience depends on committed effort. The seeker must firmly resolve to strip away all that obscures their true nature like the proverbial onion, layer by layer. With patient practice of presence and purification, the trappings of small self dissolve, and one may abide as peaceful, blissful awareness itself - fully awake in every moment to life's deepest meaning. Then daily living becomes worship, and ordinary reality is transfigured by love, joy, wisdom and service. This is the fruit of following the perennial path with heart and will - a taste of our shared spiritual potential.

 

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Quotes

Constantinos’s quotes


"A "Soul" that out of ignorance keeps making mistakes is like a wounded bird with helpless wings that cannot fly high in the sky."— Constantinos Prokopiou

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...

CHAPTER III

 

QUIETING PEOPLE

Neglecting to praise the worthy deters people from emulating them; just as not prizing rare treasures deters a man from becoming a thief; or ignoring the things which awaken desire keeps the heart at rest.

Therefore, the wise ruler does not suggest unnecessary things, but seeks to satisfy the minds of his people. He seeks to allay appetites but strengthen bones. He ever tries by keeping people in ignorance to keep them satisfied and those who have knowledge he restrains from evil. If he, himself, practices restraint then everything is in quietness.

...

Quieting People

Neglecting to praise the worthy:

Neglecting to acknowledge and praise individuals who deserve recognition can discourage others from emulating their positive qualities.

Just as not appreciating rare treasures deters a person from engaging in theft, the absence of recognition can hinder the development of desirable traits in others.

By recognizing and praising the worthy, we can inspire others to strive for excellence.

Ignoring the things that awaken desire:

When we disregard or ignore the things that evoke desire, we can maintain a sense of contentment and inner peace.

By not constantly seeking external stimuli, we can cultivate a state of tranquility within ourselves.

This approach allows us to find satisfaction in what we already have, rather than constantly chasing after new desires.

The wise ruler's approach:

A wise ruler understands the importance of satisfying the minds of the people they govern.

They do not unnecessarily burden their subjects with irrelevant information or demands.

Instead, they focus on allaying appetites and reinforcing the overall well-being of their people.

The wise ruler restrains those with knowledge from engaging in harmful actions and promotes a culture of restraint and tranquility.

The benefits of quietness:

When individuals practice restraint and embrace a state of quietness, harmony and peace prevail.

By prioritizing calmness and self-control, both on an individual and societal level, conflicts can be minimized.

The pursuit of quietness allows for personal growth, contentment, and a more harmonious coexistence.

Embracing quietness

Quieting people involves recognizing the worthy, ignoring unnecessary desires, and fostering a state of tranquility. The wise ruler seeks to satisfy the minds of their people by allaying appetites and promoting restraint. By embracing quietness, individuals can experience personal growth and contribute to a more peaceful society. Remember to appreciate the positive qualities in others, find contentment in the present, and practice self-restraint for a harmonious existence.

 

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Το σύνολο του περιεχομένου του Δικτυακού μας τόπου, συμπεριλαμβανομένων, ενδεικτικά αλλά όχι περιοριστικά, των κειμένων, ειδήσεων, γραφικών, φωτογραφιών, σχεδιαγραμμάτων, απεικονίσεων, παρεχόμενων υπηρεσιών και γενικά κάθε είδους αρχείων, αποτελεί αντικείμενο πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας (copyright) και διέπεται από τις εθνικές και διεθνείς διατάξεις περί Πνευματικής Ιδιοκτησίας, με εξαίρεση τα ρητώς αναγνωρισμένα δικαιώματα τρίτων.

Συνεπώς, απαγορεύεται ρητά η αναπαραγωγή, αναδημοσίευση, αντιγραφή, αποθήκευση, πώληση, μετάδοση, διανομή, έκδοση, εκτέλεση, «λήψη» (download), μετάφραση, τροποποίηση με οποιονδήποτε τρόπο, τμηματικά η περιληπτικά χωρίς τη ρητή προηγούμενη έγγραφη συναίνεση του Ιδρύματος. Γίνεται γνωστό ότι σε περίπτωση κατά την οποία το Ίδρυμα συναινέσει, ο αιτών υποχρεούται για την ρητή παραπομπή μέσω συνδέσμων (hyperlinks) στο σχετικό περιεχόμενο του Δικτυακού τόπου του Ιδρύματος. Η υποχρέωση αυτή του αιτούντος υφίσταται ακόμα και αν δεν αναγραφεί ρητά στην έγγραφη συναίνεση του Ιδρύματος.

Κατ’ εξαίρεση, επιτρέπεται η μεμονωμένη αποθήκευση και αντιγραφή τμημάτων του περιεχομένου σε απλό προσωπικό υπολογιστή για αυστηρά προσωπική χρήση (ιδιωτική μελέτη ή έρευνα, εκπαιδευτικούς σκοπούς), χωρίς πρόθεση εμπορικής ή άλλης εκμετάλλευσης και πάντα υπό την προϋπόθεση της αναγραφής της πηγής προέλευσής του, χωρίς αυτό να σημαίνει καθ’ οιονδήποτε τρόπο παραχώρηση δικαιωμάτων πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας.

Επίσης, επιτρέπεται η αναδημοσίευση υλικού για λόγους προβολής των γεγονότων και δραστηριοτήτων του Ιδρύματος, με την προϋπόθεση ότι θα αναφέρεται η πηγή και δεν θα θίγονται δικαιώματα πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας, δεν θα τροποποιούνται, αλλοιώνονται ή διαγράφονται εμπορικά σήματα.

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