As a lineage provider for Shigong Jou Tsung Hwa’s system of tai chi chuan and Taoist inner cultivation, college students usually ask me what’s the distinction between Zen Buddhist meditation practices and Taoist (Daoist) meditation. First, I might wish to deal with their similarities after which delve into their variations.
Each programs are Japanese. Each emphasize the cultivation of the thoughts by chopping to the “Reality” of issues. As a substitute of specializing in rituals, or what’s flawed and what’s proper based mostly on another person’s dictations, the aim is to be extraordinarily candid and nonjudgmental with oneself to chop by means of one’s personal restricted pondering. The concept is that if we transcend our human ego and reflexive pondering, based mostly on data that we derive by means of our senses (specifically, seeing and listening to), then we’ll arrive on the Reality. It is all about “getting out of our personal means.”
There are numerous completely different sects of Buddhism and Taoism. Some are extra shamanic and ritual based mostly. However the sects influenced by Zen, and the extra mental philosophical colleges of Taoism, are probably the most “minimalist.” These colleges of cultivation search to maintain the “instruments” to a minimal and root all growth from the inner, somewhat than exterior sources. The best way to transcend out into the universe is to dive extra deeply inside.
As comparable as Zen and Taoism (Daoism) are, nonetheless, there are some stark variations. I’ve by no means heard a easy rationalization that happy my query about this, so I meditated on this for a very long time till I noticed the worldwide, overlying ingredient. That is based mostly on my private expertise in learning each Zen and Taoist types of cultivation. If you’re both a training Buddhist or Taoist, then you might agree or disagree with me, and that’s all effectively. I welcome you to put up your ideas on this within the feedback part of my weblog at internalgardens.com, or NJTaiChiClasses.com, and hopefully we might help others to derive their very own passable conclusions.
Contemplating Zen, the general path to enlightenment is completed by way of “Thoughts is every thing.” Every little thing is thoughts. And so is nothing! It is all about what you suppose or do not suppose that makes up or blocks your direct expertise. Zen cultivation additionally dictates that one ought to keep away from intoxicants and overindulgence, thus holding your senses, thoughts and needs as uncorrupted as potential. Train and aesthetic practices let one instantly expertise how highly effective bodily and psychological urges can result in every kind of ideas and self-untruths. The physique is in any other case thought of “unimportant,” or “an phantasm” because it too, passes away into the present of time; the conditional. Common thoughts is enduring; unconditional. Conceptualizations of actuality and the universe can’t ever be outlined by the bounds of the little human thoughts. Actuality is to be instantly skilled.
Taoists are somewhat in accord with these tenets, aside from one stark distinction. The Taoist will domesticate the physique and its energies/reflexes/urges, and so forth, together with the thoughts, for thoughts and physique are thought of as one. A lot the identical means the Taoist idea…of yin and yang can’t be separated, as one depends on the opposite for his or her definitions. Some Taoists consider in bodily immortality, whereas others consider in religious immortality however that the spirit have to be cultivated into increased consciousness nonetheless. The physique/bodily can help. The chemical energies of the physique may be remodeled into a better state of power, thereby aiding the religious transformation towards enlightenment.
For instance, Taoists have an idea of “Lian X hua Y.” The most typical employment of that is, the idea of Lian Jing Hua Qi. That is additionally spelled, “Lian Ching Hwa Chi.” Because of this the bottom sexual power and vitality of the physique, “jing” may be processed internally to develop into a extra transcendent life pressure power generally known as “qi.” Qi can then be remodeled into religious power, or “shen.” This employs refined contractions/expansions, meditative and qigong practices together with a deep utility of self-discipline and readability of thoughts. The Daoist can do that on his/her personal, or if lucky sufficient whereas in search of to take action, together with a accomplice or soulmate – considerably like the best type of “accomplice yoga.”
Taoists additionally consider that unfavorable emotional power may be remodeled into extra optimistic power, thus resulting in more healthy qi (life pressure power) and shen (religious power), which bolsters one’s path to enlightenment. Taoists additionally consider in sure workout routines and primary consuming practices that preserve optimum health. Buddhists will generally subsequently declare that Daoists are “too connected” to the bodily, and that this limits their path to enlightenment. I consider it is because these Buddhists see the bodily as phantasm, whereas the Taoist sees it as useful resource. As in physics, the Taoists consider that power and matter are actually one and the identical. The conceptualization of their variations causes the issue, whereas the expertise (and use) of their one-ness results in increased enlightenment.
One other downside lies within the “Go along with the Move” idea of Taoism. Buddhists level out how un-self-disciplined so many so-called Taoist practitioners are. The “Go along with the Move” mentality will get misused and distorted into folks pondering it is completely OK to be undisciplined of their consuming or bodily exercise. Nothing may very well be farther from the reality in true, conventional Daoist practices. The ego positively doesn’t like to listen to this, however then why would any true cultivator be selecting to comply with the edicts of his ego?
There may be much more to this, comparable to what sutras Buddhists examine, ideas of compassion and detachment, what the Taoist research concerning the I-Ching (Yijing) or different Daoist writings, the ideas of yin and yang… however these are all particulars. The stark distinction, I consider, is within the conceptualization and utility of the bodily vs “psychological solely” strategies of enlightenment. It’s merely a matter of private selection. Each paths can result in enlightenment, simply as Route three and Route 80 in northern NJ each result in Manhattan, New York Metropolis. It relies on the place you might be, what you want, and what works higher for you.