Welcome to part two of learning Daoism! If you havent read part one, it can be found here.
Here is a quote from Dr. David Eisenberg of Harvard Medical School:
The Chinese medical system is based primarily on Daoism, which claims that it’s not just your physical well-being that determines your health, but also your behavior toward others. The doctor was part priest, part martial artist, part scholar, and part empirical scientist. But most of all, he was a teacher. And he not only taught you about diet and exercise, but also guided you psychologically and spiritually to become a better person, because that would shape your health. The doctor tried to teach people the best way to live their lives.
When a westerner asks me what I do, I respond that I help a person live with kindness and heart.
But the work I do is as Dr. Eisenberg states: is a blending of many elements, but most especially teaching in a way to help a person discover kindness towards their own life.
Daoism is simply a practice of trying to live a kind complete life.
If you need facts, you can take quite a bit of time exploring hundreds of texts explaining what it meant to so many different teachers and practitioners.
If you need to explore, you can go to countless temples and talk to priests and hermits alike for their angles into Daoism.
If you need, desire & require material answers, well then it’s up to you to create, paint, build, beat out a path to compliment your inner essence.
The reality of it is: I would say we have a handful of key concepts such as the Three Treasures, Wu Wei, De, Essence and a few others.But these concepts merge into how we live life and then burst against & into the fullness of life. Becoming the 10,000 little things we each embrace and juggle in our life.
I re-say it, re-phrase the lessons, twist them around and about so each student can grasp the simplicity. The goal is releasing into the heart. Then with kindness, you practice and expand into a fuller nature again.
Have fun finding it.
Don’t forget to play along the way. Then keep repeating the play until what you do is effortless.
Secrets of Teaching Daoism
My physics/math /engineer background are quite useful for what I do as a Daoist teacher. When starting to teach a person, I will often use physics, which we all naturally move with as physical beings, to illustrate terms that often elude clear words to describe. As a result, I offer a bridge to different worlds for many people who would consider spiritual practices not to be real nor sensible.
The basic trouble is once you mention the word religion, people make it all be about god. Ironically, this process is about something different.
It’s all about how we each try to hold the unknown within our life.
Balancing the unknown is tricky. I just help people not trip over that gap of the unknown that we each have within our hearts at times.
It’s just that most religions use God as the cup holder for the unknown.
We all embrace the unknown in our heart (in that we are all part of what religions would call God)
Think about this:
- Daoism teaches how to accept the gap of the unknown
we each feel in the empty spaces of our heart. We call that Dao.
Many religions use “god” to bridge the unknown spaces, but in reality, it is faith that bridges the gap of the unknown in life. Many people try to use facts, or science to bridge the unknowns in life, and then come up short when realizing yet another unknown awaits it all.
No matter how the bridge is built, it is a bridge of faith in the end that carries us across the gap and into the next day.
This all means when talking about Daoism, don’t think in terms of religion or philosophy. Instead: think regarding what it is that you desire to become in life. Daoism teaches lifestyle.
Religion and philosophy are just categories people place on teachings, to limit and control others. Daoism doesn’t limit itself to defined boundaries. Instead, it just dives into issues of the human heart and teaches it all openly.
Daoism uses language that crosses over religion, philosophy, and science because in being alive, these are references we have in our life to use. As a result, Daoism over thousands of years has accumulated countless different practices, techniques, mysteries, teachers, truths.
If you wonder why: well Daoism as a practice of being oneself also means each practitioner brings in their blend of truths into the practice. Over time a framework developed which includes aspects of philosophies (rational thought), religion (faith), science (facts), and even seemingly magical (perception) practices. And Daoism is not only a single framework, but Daoism consists of many frameworks which are all of the “Dao”.
So what is the proper “way” to learn Daoism, when it embraces human nature in all of our ways? The answer to any student is: