Taoism > Meditation

About Meditation in Taoism

The word "meditation" is very popular in Western culture. The main source of its popularity is based on yoga practices and philosophy.

But the Taoist meditation doesn't aim at the same goal as yoga. It has no postures (asanas), nor mind focus on a single object (dyana). Talking about the 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).

According to Watts, the 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 is surely related with the nondoing concept and practice.

Walking on Path in Spring by Ma Yuan

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

    At the end of seven years [of practice], 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 Taoist 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 about returning to the genuine purity of the True Mind (Buddha-Nature in Ch'an meditation school).

Learn more about Taoist meditation

-> Two basic Taoist meditation techniques called fasting of the mind and sitting and forgetting are approached in our initiation course, level 3.

-> We dedicated a lesson of our course dealing with what is Taoism, to Ho-shang kung's interpretation of the Tao-te ching (chapter 6), with an emphasis on the practice of mystical breath. Click here to learn more.

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