Saturday, November 17, 2012

Taoism & Ancient Shambhala (600 BC - 600 AD)


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Chögyam Trungpa incorporated elements from numerous traditions into the Shambhala Path that he thought would be beneficial to practitioners:
From Taoism, feng shui and Shijie are of interest.

Laozi (Chinese: 老子; pinyin: Lǎozǐ; Wade–Giles: Lao Tzu; also romanized as Lao Tse, Lao Tu, Lao-Tsu, Laotze, Laosi, Laocius, and other variations) (fl. 6th century BCE) was a philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching

"Shambhala vision applies to people of any faith, not just people who believe in Buddhism… the Shambhala vision does not distinguish a Buddhist from a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, a Moslem, a Hindu. That’s why we call it the Shambhala kingdom. A kingdom should have lots of spiritual disciplines in it. That’s why we are here." (Great Eastern Sun, The Wisdom of Shambhala, p 133)

"Chogyam Trungpa sketched in the outlines of what a Shambhala culture means. “Shambhala is our way of life. The Shambhala principle is our way of life. Shambhala is the Central Asian kingdom that-developed in the countries of the Middle East, Russia, China, and Tibet altogether. The basic idea of Shambhala vision is that a sane society developed out of that culture, and we are trying to emulate that vision. That particular system broke down into the Taoist tradition and Bon tradition of Tibet, the Islamic tradition of the Middle East, and whatever tradition Russia might have. It has broken into various factions."

“What we are trying to present here is that there is a comprehensive philosophy and wisdom which is not necessarily that of the West or the East. We are trying to present the possibility that we can actually bring together out of those different factions the warrior tradition of basic goodness.”

Laozi (Chinese: 老子; pinyin: Lǎozǐ; Wade–Giles: Lao Tzu; also romanized as Lao Tse, Lao Tu, Lao-Tsu, Laotze, Laosi, Laocius, and other variations) (fl. 6th century BCE) was a philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching (often simply referred to as Laozi). His association with the Tào Té Chīng has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of philosophical Taoism (pronounced as "Daoism"). According to Chinese traditions, Laozi lived in the 6th century BCE.

TANTRIC AND TAOIST STUDIES in Honour of R.A. Stein, 3 VOLUME SET COMPLETE by Michel Strickmann (1983)...R.A. Stein (1911-1999 )......He is held as the most successful Tibetan study worker in France in the 20th century. And he was one of the few who could do research in both Tibetan and Chinese.

Chinese tradition tells us that Buddhism came to China from Central Asia in the reign of the Emperor Ming (58-75 CE) of the Han dynasty. At first at court and elsewhere in China, Buddhism was considered to be some sort of occult system similar to the Yin-Yang school. Efforts were made to relate it and to interpret in terms of Taoist concepts and a legend even sprang up that the Indian Shakyamuni Buddha had actually been the disciple of the venerable Taoist master Lao Tzu, who had disappeared mysteriously, riding off on a buffalo into the West. Thus, the Buddhist Sutras were at first seen as only being a foreign variant of the teachings of the Tao Te Ching.....When subsequently more Buddhist Sutras were translated into Chinese in the third and fourth centuries, Buddhism came to be considered a philosophy similar to that of the Taoist master Chuang Tzu.... (

Shijie (屍解) is a practise whereby taoists vanished into the sky...In Dzogchen, rainbow body (Tibetan: Jalü or Jalus (Wylie 'ja' lus) is a level of realization. This may or may not be accompanied by the 'rainbow body phenomenon'. The rainbow body phenomenon has been noted for centuries, including the modern era.

Taoist understanding of the process of death is described as shijie or "release from the corpse", but what happens after is described variously as transformation, immortality or ascension to heaven. For example, the Yellow Emperor was said to have ascended directly to heaven in plain sight, while the thaumaturge Ye Fashan was said to have transformed into a sword and then into a column of smoke which rose to heaven

"in the cosmopolitan court of Kubilai Khan, during the height of Mongol power. There was a new, vigorous school of Daoists, called Quanzhen. The school had been founded in the eleventh century, and by the twelfth it already had 4,000 monasteries and 20,000 priests. The school advocated an inner alchemy which rejected the use of elixirs, previously popular with Daoists, in favour of cultivating one’s inner nature (xing) and life-force (ming). More to the point, they were quite enthusiastic, shall we say, about propogating their religion......During the 1250s, Quanzhen monks were roaming around China taking over small Buddhist monasteries and converting them to Daoist ones. Even worse, they were piling up the sacred books of these monasteries and burning them. They were also hanging around at the Mongol court, like everybody else, looking for patronage. It was here that the Daoists and the Buddhists started to squabble. Kubilai’s predecessor Mongke Khan convened two debates in 1255 and ’56 which the Buddhist side was represented by a mysterious monk called Namo. The second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi was at Mongke’s court at this time, and took part in the debate of ’56.......Kubilai’s imperial preceptor at this time was Chögyal Phagpa, the head of the Sakya school, and by the Khan’s command, ruler of Tibet. Phagpa was upset by the Daoists’ activities and asked the Khan to convene another debate. This time, the stakes would be higher – the losers would surrender their own scriptures to be burned. We know that this debate really took place in the summer of 1258, thanks to Chinese and Tibetan historians. We also have Phagpa’s own account of it ......Phagpa won, and it seems his opponent, in the traditional way, converted to Buddhism. In fact, in the colophon Phagpa states that seventeen Daoist monks converted to Buddhism. By the way, did you see what Phagpa did with the metaphors in this verse? Rather sarcastically turning the Daoist tradition of alchemy against his opponent, Phagpa characterises his own Buddhist logical arguments as a kind of alchemy, transforming his opponents iron-like intellect into the golden Buddhist teachings. From archer to alchemist."...

"According to the Scythian genealogical myth a golden cup was amongst the regal treasures that fell from the sky in the beginning in order to distinguish the chosen king out of the three brothers who then found the royal dynasty. According to Herodotus from this was derived a Scythian custom to wear cup on one's belt. The Greek version of the legend gives another interesting detail: the ordeal for the Scythian king was to put string in the bow of his ancestor Heracles-Targitaos and to gird up his belt. This girding of the "belt" could correspond to the closing of the circuit of the waist energetic channel (called in the Taoist alchemy dai mo), while putting the string in the bow is like closing the "microcosmic orbit" which in Taoist tradition consist of the back ascending channel (du mo, here - the "bow") and the front descending channel (ren mo, here - the "string"). The cup (equivalent to the "jewel" or the "crystal ball") as was mentioned above, is put on the belt, i.e. on the waist plane in the middle of the body, so the surface of the liquid in it (functioning as equivalent to the crystal in which visions should appear) is around the place of the cakra Maṇipūra from the Yoga tradition which name means literally "city of the jewel" (like the Grail Castle of the Western legend).".....Ardavarz comment on your post "Shamis-en-balkh & the Cintamani":


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….November 2012


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