Daoism is one of the three main philosophies in Asia that’s been present in Asian culture, media, art and history for centuries. Although in terms of the modern day, it’s merged with Confucian and Buddhist beliefs, along with various regional belief systems like Shintoism in Japan, Daoist tendencies are very distinct from Confucianism and Buddhism in theory. In fact, Daoism and Confucianism are typically on either end of the spectrum where Confucianism seeks to provide communal harmony while Daoism seeks to establish individual and personal harmony.
This thing is going to be slightly confusing if you don’t like philosophy and very meta.
trippingthelight said: I am constantly thinking about death.Whether it's about my own death, my loved ones dying around me or the gruesome deaths of strangers. I think the thing that bothers me the most is that I can't get passed the idea that there will just be a dark void after we die or that I'm going to end up in a very scary afterlife, not seeing the people I love again.I wish so bad I could believe in going somewhere nice after this life but it feels impossible. Do you have any words I can meditate on about this
I had a similar issue when I was in high school. The thought of oblivion and death would keep me up at night with a kind of existential terror. This was part of what catalyzed my entry into the spiritual path.
One of the reasons we meditate is to get an experiential familiarity with that “dark void” of which you speak. You don’t meditate on something. You don’t make use of thought or identity or imagination of the world. You sit in stillness and silence without sensory orientation. Then you begin to discover what that dark void really is.
Thinking about it only goes so far. You either scare yourself with your thoughts or comfort yourself with your thoughts. The best thoughts are the ones that lead you to practical action and experience.
For example, the thought about who or what you were before you were born. Before you were born, there was non-existence. After you will die, there will again be that non-existence. In other words, regardless of whether or not you believe in reincarnation, we have all been dead before—because that is the unborn dimension from which all things stream forth and subside.
You associate the seeing of the people around you with the love and so you fear the loss of form and circumstance. But that is an inevitable part of these formative conditions. However, the love itself is the eternal purity of the infinite and it is the common ground for all things and beings. Therefore instead of fearing the loss of the limits you have placed on love, try investigating why that love is so significant for you. You have the right intuition, seeking a love that knows no end. But you must liberate the search from the realm of appearance and disappearance.
Love can be expressed throughout the dance of life, whether during the good times or the bad, but love is not to be found therein. Instead, love is uncovered and unbound within when you discern the truth of who you are not.
I just wrote a response about the aggregates this morning. In it, I essentially restated the Buddhist teaching that nothing is separate from anything else and that all of existence emerges together as one interchanging and interdependent sea of manifestation. What does death mean in this context? Change. Birth is formation and death is trans-formation. Not the cessation of formation forever.
You are not the formation nor are you the trans-formation. So who and what are you? What is death and what is the void?
That dark void is here even now. You are surrounded by it, living in it, swimming through its tranquil and endless bliss the way a fish swims through water. Think of the way a dream occurs within the context of dreamless sleep.
Believing you are going somewhere good, or anywhere at all, after death is not particularly helpful. After my father died the year before I graduated from high school, I was forced to confront that great existential fear I had been feeling in the night.
I could have turned to the occult paths that I was intensely involved in at that time. Or I could have turned to my family’s heritage of religion in the Jewish faith. Or I could have sought answers from a number of sources.
But knowing that I too will die, the notion of getting an answer seemed unhelpful. We’ve heard it all before. So what I wanted most was insight. I wanted my own insight into my own death, the experience of dissolution and what that meant with respect to living.
That is what led me to meditation. Another interesting aside (which I am not recommending but simply sharing) is that when I once tried psilocybin mushrooms, I lost my fear of death. I realized experientially that although I am experiencing a body and a mind, and a world through those things, none of them are “me.” When they cease, I do not.
Not long after that experience of mine, studies started coming out about how some psychiatrists were experimenting with using psilocybin therapy for the treatment of terminally ill patients. They were discovering the way the substance can help relieve us of the fear, depression, and anxiety involved with the prospect of our own death.
However, had I not already been practicing meditation for two years, I don’t think that I would have had an experience as impactful as I did.
So my advice is investigation. Not belief, not contemplation on the level of thought. Of course thinking is useful but there comes a point when you must take it to the next level of experience-knowing.
One book about the absolute truth of existence is I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj. It is a great way to discover your radiant existence that abides beyond all things. A book about how to meet fear, pain, and suffering with love, compassion, and peace is The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron. Such teachings are called relative truth because they deal with the impermanent circumstances/challenges with which we are faced but bridge that with the context of the absolute.
I would recommend them both.
Namaste :) Much love.
More than just a trendy movement on Tumblr, palettes are a great way for a photographer or graphic designer to tell a color story about their work and personal style.
Most of my palettes are muted, faded colors. If you asked me a year ago to describe my style, it certainly wouldn’t be in those terms. I’d have called my work bright and vibrant and clear.
Making these palettes was a great way for me to see my work in its bare bone form. This is who I am. This is what I love and now that I know it, I can move forward in new projects with a solid aesthetic that represents my work as a whole.
Photography by Bex