As a lineage carrier for Shigong Jou Tsung Hwa's technique of tai chi chuan and Taoist internal cultivation, students normally ask me what is the distinction in between Zen Buddhist meditation practices and Taoist (Daoist) meditation. Initial, I'd like to concentrate on their similarities and then delve into their variations.
Each systems are Eastern. Each emphasize the cultivation of the thoughts by cutting to the “Truth” of factors. Alternatively of focusing on rituals, or what is incorrect and what is suitable primarily based on somebody else's dictations, the objective is to be very candid and nonjudgmental with oneself to reduce by way of one's personal restricted pondering. The notion is that if we transcend our human ego and reflexive pondering, primarily based on information and facts that we derive by way of our senses (namely, seeing and hearing), then we will arrive at the Truth. It is all about “acquiring out of our personal way.”
There are lots of various sects of Buddhism and Taoism. Some are additional shamanic and ritual primarily based. But the sects influenced by Zen, and the additional intellectual philosophical schools of Taoism, are the most “minimalist.” These schools of cultivation seek to retain the “tools” to a minimum and root all improvement from the internal, rather than external sources. The way to transcend out into the universe is to dive additional deeply inside.
As related as Zen and Taoism (Daoism) are, nonetheless, there are some stark variations. I have under no circumstances heard a easy explanation that happy my query about this, so I meditated on this for a lengthy time till I saw the worldwide, overlying element. This is primarily based on my private encounter in studying each Zen and Taoist types of cultivation. If you are either a practicing Buddhist or Taoist, then you may well agree or disagree with me, and that is all nicely. I welcome you to post your thoughts on this in the comments section of my weblog at internalgardens.com, or NJTaiChiClasses.com, and hopefully we can enable other folks to derive their personal satisfactory conclusions.
Thinking about Zen, the all round path to enlightenment is achieved by way of “Thoughts is every thing.” Every little thing is thoughts. And so is nothing at all! It is all about what you believe or never believe that tends to make up or blocks your direct encounter. Zen cultivation also dictates that 1 should really steer clear of intoxicants and overindulgence, as a result maintaining your senses, thoughts and desires as uncorrupted as attainable. Exercising and aesthetic practices let 1 straight encounter how effective physical and psychological urges can lead to all types of thoughts and self-untruths. The physique is otherwise regarded “unimportant,” or “an illusion” as it also, passes away into the present of time the conditional. Universal thoughts is enduring unconditional. Conceptualizations of reality and the universe can not ever be defined by the limits of the tiny human thoughts. Reality is to be straight seasoned.
Taoists are rather in accord with these tenets, except for 1 stark distinction. The Taoist will cultivate the physique and its energies/reflexes/urges, and so on, along with the thoughts, for thoughts and physique are regarded as 1. A great deal the very same way the Taoist notion of yin and yang can not be separated, as 1 relies on the other for their definitions. Some Taoists think in physical immortality, when other folks think in spiritual immortality but that the spirit will have to be cultivated into larger awareness nonetheless. The physique/physical can help. The chemical energies of the physique can be transformed into a larger state of power, thereby assisting the spiritual transformation toward enlightenment.
For instance, Taoists have a notion of “Lian X hua Y.” The most prevalent employment of this is, the notion of Lian Jing Hua Qi. This is also spelled, “Lian Ching Hwa Chi.” This suggests that the base sexual power and vitality of the physique, “jing” can be processed internally to develop into a additional transcendent life force power recognized as “qi.” Qi can then be transformed into spiritual power, or “shen.” This employs sophisticated contractions/expansions, meditative and qigong practices along with a deep application of self-discipline and clarity of thoughts. The Daoist can do this on his/her personal, or if fortunate sufficient when in search of to do so, along with a companion or soulmate – somewhat like the highest kind of “companion yoga.”
Taoists also think that adverse emotional power can be transformed into additional constructive power, as a result major to healthier qi (life force power) and shen (spiritual power), which bolsters one's path to enlightenment. Taoists also think in specific workouts and fundamental consuming practices that keep optimal well being. Buddhists will occasionally consequently claim that Daoists are “also attached” to the physical, and that this limits their path to enlightenment. I think this is due to the fact these Buddhists see the physical as illusion, whereas the Taoist sees it as resource. As in physics, the Taoists think that power and matter are actually 1 and the very same. The conceptualization of their variations causes the dilemma, whereas the encounter (and use) of their 1-ness leads to larger enlightenment.
A different dilemma lies in the “Go with the Flow” notion of Taoism. Buddhists point out how un-self-disciplined so lots of so-known as Taoist practitioners are. The “Go with the Flow” mentality gets misused and distorted into individuals pondering it really is completely OK to be undisciplined in their consuming or physical physical exercise. Absolutely nothing could be farther from the truth in correct, standard Daoist practices. The ego undoubtedly does not like to hear this, but then why would any correct cultivator be picking to stick to the edicts of his ego?
There is a lot additional to this, such as what sutras Buddhists study, ideas of compassion and detachment, what the Taoist research about the I-Ching (Yijing) or other Daoist writings, the ideas of yin and yang… but these are all information. The stark distinction, I think, is in the conceptualization and application of the physical vs “mental only” strategies of enlightenment. It is basically a matter of private decision. Each paths can lead to enlightenment, just as Route three and Route 80 in northern NJ each lead to Manhattan, New York City. It depends on exactly where you are, what you like, and what operates improved for you.