Lao Tzu > Meditation

Meditation in Taoism

With Taoist, meditation is rather letting everything,
mind-body-spirit, at will

The Taoist meditation acquires specific characteristics unknown by those who consider meditation a kind of mental gymnastics, a technique of focusing and eliminating the thoughts out of their minds.

We shall find out the real meaning of "meditation", as defined by the Taoist masters, from an old text belonging to Lieh Tzu in which he explains to one of his eager disciples how he has undergone his own spiritual transformation:

    Taoist meditation - picture
    Visualizing the Three Ones

    The trinity is, according to Carl Jung, an archetype, hence we meet it in China as well as in other traditional cultures

    When I asked Old Shang to be my master and Pai-kao-tzu to be my friend, I decided to work hard to discipline my body and mind. After three years, I was afraid to have notions of right and wrong, and I did not dare to speak words that might offend or please. It was only then that my master glanced at me and acknowledged my presence.

    Five years later, I thought freely of right and wrong and spoke freely of approval or disapproval. My master gave me a smile.

    Seven years later, my thoughts came naturally without any conceptions of right and wrong, and words came naturally without any intention of pleasing or offending. For the first time, my master invited me to sit by his side.

    Nine years later, no matter what came to my mind or what came out of my mouth, there was nothing that was right or wrong, pleasing or offending. I did not even entertain the idea that Old Shang was my master and Pai-kao-tzu was my friend. (Quoted from Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living, Eva Wong, Shambhala, 2001.)

The attitude suggested by these lines, somehow symbolic, is very clear: during his meditation, the Taoist doesn't concentrate upon something, does not impose a strange peace on his own mind, but, on the contrary, he lets everything, body-mind-spirit, at will, without interfering somehow in the psycho-mental stream. In this respect he uses the technique called nondoing ( wu-wei).

Moreover, meditation leads step by step to a kind of mind neutrality where the ethical values of thinking vanished.

Finally this is contrary to the ethical approach by Confucians and other such spiritual doctrines interested in moral development of the person.

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