Tag: philosophy

The Tao Te Ching and God: Does Tao = God?

Now I’m not technically (whatever that means) a Taoist, and Taoism has gone through many changes (PERVERSIONS, if you ask me) since the earliest conception of the philosophy/religion which existed even before Lao Tzu, but if you read a good translation of the Tao Te Ching (which is Taoism’s core text–I suggest the translation by Johnathan Starr to begin with) it sure does seem that TAO = GOD.

There are lots of verses that point to this idea, but I’d like to simply share one that is especially PROFOUND.

These are the first 4 lines of the first verse of the Tao Te Ching:

“The Tao that is the Tao, is not the true/everlasting Tao.

The Name that is the Name, is not the true/everlasting Name”

Pretty cryptic huh? GET USED TO IT! The Tao Te Ching and Taoism is HIGHLY cryptic, which is a big part of its BEAUTY and INTRIGUE. Let’s try replacing the word TAO with the word GOD:

“The God that is the God, is not the true/everlasting God.

The Name that is the Name, is not the true/everlasting Name”

What this means to me is that the God that you (as in ANYBODY) think of as God, is not the TRUE form/understanding of God. God transcends ALL understanding of anyone or anything that is not God itself. NOBODY CAN UNDERSTAND GOD, or even begin to understand God, because that is how profound and incredible God is. That is what the Tao Te Ching is saying here.

By the same reasoning, whatever name or label you ascribe to God (“God” included haha) is not the TRUE name of God, which (if there is one) cannot be spoken by mere mortal mouths or confined to a set of letters.

A little food for thought. Do you guys think that Tao = God?

~Shams

Want to Chat About Ancient Scriptures Online?

I was going to start a meetup group, but thought that I’d first see if there was any interest here to have an online meetup group to chat about our favorite passages from ancient religious/philosophical scriptures of all sorts. Then we wouldn’t be limited to a certain location, but could share perspectives from all around the world! If interested, please post a comment and let me know 🙂

Here is my description of the group:

What do some of the ancient scriptures say, and what does that mean to you or what feelings does it evoke? Bring your favorite passages from the scriptures of the Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, or any other pre-Islamic era religion/philosophy (ancient Greek or Mesoamerican philosophy, for instance) to share and discuss.

The format will probably be that we each read a passage that we brought and then talk about how each of us felt about it and share thoughts and ideas. This isn’t the place to debate the validity of one scripture over another, nor to judge or even understand one another’s beliefs… And definitely not to try to convert anyone to your beliefs please 🙂

The point is to share and discuss ancient religious/philosophical writings from the past that we find inspiring, interesting, frightening, baffling, or maybe just cool!

I’ve always had a keen interest in the texts that shaped people’s lives, civilizations, and consequently the world and thought it would be great to meet other like-minded people to learn and (hopefully humbly) grow in knowledge and wisdom together.

Do you wonder what ancient peoples believed? Love stoic philosophy? Have a favorite Bible verse you’d love to talk about? Curious about what the Qur’an actually says? Struggling to unlock the secrets of the Tao Te Ching? Love to ponder the Dharmas? Or have any other ancient scripture based quandary? Me too! Let’s chat 🙂

I challenge you to be thankful for…

Things you never really take the time to consider.

The ability to read and reason. Sight. Color. The ability to remember… To be unique. The forces that hold the universe together. The day and the night. The ability to communicate and create.

It is interesting that all that is physical, originated from the unseen. Thoughts. Forces. Feelings. Dreams. Energy. And of course…

Remember who to be thankful to…

All glory be to God!!

Happy Thanksgiving and God bless everyone!

~Shams

Weakness, Strength, and Wisdom… The Elements of Government.

It’s late, I’m tired, but I’ve been struck by the bolt of inspiration. Forgive the messiness but I just need to get this thought out.

I heard a quote (in a Nas song): “The strong rule the weak, but the wise rule the strong.”

I thought about it… it is true on a profound level. But there is a piece missing… As with almost everythign in existence, the system is cyclical. While this proverb (in the non-Biblical sense) makes sense on a logical, easily understandable level. The missing piece however is not drawn from temporal wisdom, but rather spiritual wisdom.

We learn in the Bible the favor that the weak, meek, poor in spirit, etc. have in God’s eyes and heart. They shallinherit the Kingdom of Heaven, it is said. For you see, in God’s ideal world system, the weak rule the wise. In that the wise take council from the weak, in turn commanding the strong, who take care of the weak. This is in essence the idea of democracy, in which the (weak) masses, rule the (wise) politicians, who command the (strong) army, money, etc.

This is why democracy fits so well with a Christian-born governmental system.

True wisdom is found in submission.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

Fear begets submission.

If the wise do not submit to the will of the weak and rule the strong by their own will, then they have traded their wisdom for arrogance, and their wisdom is turned to veiled strength. So you see, the world leaders of this day are not wise, for they lack the humble wisdom of submission. They rule with intellectual STRENGTH. Not wisdom…

The question is… are they fools, sinners, or have they (or someTHING else) purposefully broken God’s system?