Sunday, March 27, 2011

Affirmation

Affirmation
by Scott Bradley


“The main principle of Buddhism is Emptiness: nothing is wanted; all is abandoned. The main principle of Daoism is Vastness; everything is wanted; all is included.” (Liu Xianxin (1896-1932) (B. Ziporyn)

This may be an oversimplification of the difference between Buddhism and Daoism, but is instructive nonetheless. Liu suggests that the former is about negation and the latter about affirmation. In presenting this distinction here, I do not wish to suggest that one is better than the other, or that one is right and the other wrong. Indeed, they are probably complementary. Rather, I simply wish to agree that, yes, philosophical Taoism is all about affirmation and inclusion.

Tao is understood as that Mystery which embraces all things. It is not simply in all things; it is all things — and infinitely and inexplicably ‘more’ than that. This is why Taoism teaches that acceptance and affirmation is liberation.

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4 comments:

  1. The two obviously come to the same thing, though: no boundaries. In both eventually all distinctions, including the main one between self and not self, disappear. Inclusion and rejection no longer apply.

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    1. I agree fully, In a more crude simplistic manner so others may easily understand your supposition. A good analogy or concept to relate to this would be the common phrase 'one is all and all is one'

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  2. That is very interesting Brandon. You seem to have a perspective regarding this as if you are outside looking in. In other words, you are not viewing from within a "content world" of comparing two different train of thoughts. You are viewing from the end result where inclusion and rejection do not live. They fall off and no longer appear. What a great view you are experiencing. Thanks for sharing this.

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  3. Couple of comments:

    "Tao is understood as that Mystery which embraces all things. It is not simply in all things; it is all things — and infinitely and inexplicably ‘more’ than that."
    There are a lot of people who would plug in the word "God" for Tao and have the same understanding.

    And there are various schools of Buddhism and Taoism (which are very intertwined). I don't know the Liu Xianxin reference, but it sounds like he is comparing Lao Tzu and Damo. There does seem to be a yin/yang complementarity going on here.

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