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About Meditation in Taoism

There are many meditation techniques in Taoism each of them approaching specific goals. One can not review all of them, therefore we have limited ourselves to the most peculiar illustrated by the main Taoist works, such as Lieh-tzu.

The word "meditation" is very popular in Western culture. The main source of its popularity is based on the yoga practices and philosophy. But the Taoist meditation doesn't aim at the same goal like yoga. It has no postures (asanas), nor inner concentration or "oceanic" feelings. Talking about Taoist meditation Alan Watts wrote:

    Contemplative Taoists will be happily to sit with yogis and Zennists for as long as is reasonable and comfortable, but when nature tells us that we are 'pushing the river' we will get up and do something else, or even go to sleep. (From Tao: The Watercourse Way).

Mental projection during the meditation process  pictureMental projection during the meditation process (picture taken from the Golden Flower school)

The mental projection aims at the creation of the physical space infused with spiritual matter, that is the one derived from the void of meditation.

Basically, Taoist meditation is more like a sort of wisdom achieved by close observation of the things and phenomena in the world surrounding us. Such wisdom should help us go alongside with things and not against them, and is surely related with the nondoing concept and practice.

There are a lot of Taoist texts pointing to the mediation technique. Here's a fragment of a dialogue between Master Lieh and one of his disciples, where Master made clear his approach of the meditation:

    At the end of seven years, there was another change. I [Master Lieh] let  my mind reflect on what it would, but it no longer occupied itself with right and wrong. I let my lips utter whatsoever they pleased, but they no longer spoke of profit and loss. (From Taoist Teachings Translated from the Book of Lieh Tzu, 1912, Lionel Giles).

The phrase "no longer spoke of profit and loss" points to the complete detachment  from all contingencies of human ethics.

Finally, what is the meditation good for?

It surely helps one to free himself from the "you should" of everyday life in order to achieve the childlike nature. It is the return to the genuine purity of the human mind.

  • Learn more about meditation in Taoism

Our Taoist society has designed a course dealing with Taoist meditation as approached by the school of Tao. This course is unique in that it explains the terms and concepts related to the path of self-realization according to the Taoist teachings. Click here to learn more.

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