Daoism Discussions

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BS Detection: Yellowstone Super Volcano


So I’ve gotten a bunch of asks and tweets asking me whether or not we should be worried about the impending explosion of the largest volcano on Earth (which I happen to live very nearby). No, you should not.

This latest round of speculation was sparked by a YouTube video…yes, literally a single…

The importance of discernment.

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I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion and elimination of ignorance, selfishness and greed.

The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger, and so on, are human-created problems which can be resolved through human effort, understanding and the development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share.

Although I have found my own Buddhist religion helpful in generating love and compassion, even for those we consider our enemies, I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.

The Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech - 1989 (via lazyyogi)

Great words from HH.

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mpolaris asked: How to heal a broken heart?


Healing doesn’t mean going back to the way things were. Once broken, a heart never goes back to what it once was.

And that is a good thing.

A heart that hasn’t been broken is a heart that hasn’t been used.

The experience of this body and this world displays a whole array of phenomena from the wondrous beyond dreaming to the seemingly endless night of sorrow.

Any heart that genuinely exposes itself will be broken open.

If you wall the heart off and lock it away, the wounds fester and infect your sanity. But if you stay open with the wounded heart, taking care of it but not resisting and running away, then your communion with love becomes stronger than ever.

There is sadness but there is great love.

"There is no remedy for love but to love more." ~ Henry David Thoreau

A cut isn’t made to heal. You give it what you can and the healing happens in its own time. It is similar for the heart. You can’t force it to heal but you can give it what it needs.

Daily meditation and tonglen is the place to begin. I’d also recommend the book The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron.

Namaste much love

Good words.

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stuffstars asked: Could you elaborate more on the topic of defending ourselves (or our journey) to others? Why do we do this? Recently, I left a career and lost a father to cancer. One of the most difficult things has been explaining to friends the path that I am choosing. I have decided to take some time off to explore the things in life that really matter to me. This answer seems to make others uncomfortable. Then I hold back for fear of being judged for my decision. I find myself avoiding certain friends.


Any time I have found myself defensive, it has always come from a place of insecurity. If I have a way I want to be perceived, an acceptance/understanding I want to find from others, or something inside that I’m trying to ignore, then defensiveness arises. 

For example, I had a difficult time finding a job after college. Many places were happy to give internships but then had no intention of hiring further down the line. I switched fields a few times, trying to find something that would click. 

In the meantime, many of my friends were gainfully employed. And just as I couldn’t understand what it was like to be working full-time after college, they couldn’t understand what it was like to be unemployed facing continual rejection. 

I cringed at the typical social questions asking what I do, where I’m going, and so on. 

The funny thing is that those questions are almost entirely insincere. The people asking them have no real interest in your path. They are just seeking an easy way to understand you. “Oh, he’s a banker” or “He’s going back to school” and so on. 

Real life is messy. It doesn’t always come together cleanly. For those who don’t fit into pre-existing schemas, any of those social questions cannot be met with a simple answer. It’s more of a conversation than just a response. But again, most of the people asking aren’t interested in that.

So what do you do? I just stopped explaining and defending myself. Once I realized that people’s thoughts about me were incredibly divorced from the reality of being me, I stopped putting so much weight on what they thought—and vice versa. I don’t put a lot of stock in the thoughts I have about other people.

The only understanding you live with and the only understanding you require is your own. But you must be wholly honest and upfront with yourself on a moment to moment basis. 

And since these “what do you do” and other typical social questions are just bullshit inquiries, I usually just give bullshit answers. “I’m exploring self-consistent field methods for determining wave functions of polyelectronic atoms,” is one way to shift the conversation. 

Try approaching social interaction more like a game of self-expression rather than a battlefield of identity, it is much more peaceful and amusing that way. 

I’d definitely recommend the book The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron. I also lost my father to cancer and I understand it must be a very difficult experience to go through. But you have a wealth of strength and love inside yourself, which you will naturally uncover when you shift your focus from trying to find it outside. 

I will admit, these sorts of circumstances do tend to make clear who your real friends are.

Namaste my friend much love

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blameitonthegoose asked: Hey there, I've been reading The Tao Te Ching, books about Lieh-Tzu and listening to Taoist podcasts for almost a year now. Still trying to navigate Taoism in my own life as a university student. I am unsure how the concept of just being fits in with someone like myself who lacks motivation but also has great ambition? I don't know whether to kick back and let my emotions steer or what... what really is the Tao way to approach things there?

I’d say the first thing is to take a moment and step back, to take a breath and try to look at things with fresh eyes.

What is your ambition for? Do you want to make a great impact, or climb to the top of the social ladder, or be widely known across the world, or something entirely different? Defining our goals clearly is one of the simplest things we can do to find direction in life, but it’s often overlooked. It’s understandable to not know the EXACT path or destination we want out of life, but the more honest you can be with yourself, the better.

And if your ambition is truly great, with it comes the motivation to pursue it. In my experience, when people say they lack motivation it often actually means that they have motivation, but also have a lot of self-doubt or fear preventing them from embracing that motivation. We must all learn to release those doubts and fears, and remind ourselves that our desire to achieve our goals should always outweigh those obstacles in the way.

Letting our passions guide us is the ideal, especially when those passions keep us moving forward towards that which truly makes us happy. This is different, however, than letting our emotions steer us around, which can just as easily lead to heartbreak and sadness as it can to joy. When we find something we are passionate about, we will march on ever forward, through the hard work and setbacks and negative emotions that come along the way. It won’t feel like kicking back, but more like running down a hill towards your great ambition. That is where your motivation will come from, and this is how the Path will guide you.

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myhellhoundisbiggerthanyours asked: Hi there! I have a question. I think you are a very smart and enthusiastic when it comes to stuff you do. So I have been wondering how do you keep up the "I can study all of this and I have enough energy" attitude? I am trying to be always enthusiastic (medical student) because I always loved science but lately I am kinda NAH i dont feel like learning new stuff anymore and I don´t know how to motivate myself. Any advice? thanks anyway:) and have a nice day!


You shouldn’t aspire to be always enthusiastic - it’s a state of being that is quite impossible to constantly maintain and is an unrealistic expectation for yourself, as detrimental as wanting to look like skinny beautiful photo-shopped celebrities or the images that fast food companies put out of their mouth-watering foods. The truth is, I get totally bummed out sometimes. My job can be draining, confusing, and demanding on occasion. I’m in a new city and I miss my friends, familiarity.  I spend weekends on my couch alone zoned out on reddit when I know I should be reading, researching, proactively doingI’m learning to accept that sometimes it’s completely okay to do nothing. Your body needs time to process what you’ve learned, to ingest the information, and most of all to contextualize it.

I can’t tell you how to motivate yourself because I don’t know you, but partially what motivates me is my own frustration. After a while I get frustrated that I’ve been doing nothing, dissatisfied with watching the world continue while I sit idly by, seeing events and discussions carrying on which I am ultimately then compelled to contribute to. And I pick myself up and rejoin the conversation, I meet someone to start a dialogue with, I begin participating in collaborations. I go outside. 

Don’t force yourself, and don’t feel guilty when you’re taking a break. You will last much longer if you don’t burn yourself out in the beginning. 

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The Crooked Tree


Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, “I have a large tree which no carpenter can cut into lumber. It’s branches and trunk are crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are the same, useless and without value. Therefore, no one pays attention to them.”

"As you know," Chuang-tse replied, "a cat is very skilled at capturing its prey. Crouching low, it can leap in any direction, pursuing whatever it is after. But when its attention is focused on such things, it can easily be caught with a net. On the other hand, a huge yak is not easily caught or overcome. It stands like a stone, or a cloud in the sky. But for all its strength, it cannot catch a mouse."

"You complain that your tree is not valuable as lumber. But you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring its character and appearance. Since it would not be endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence? It is useless to you only because you want to make it into something else and do not use it in its proper way."


The story of the useless tree.

Filed under tao dao taoism Daoism

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Fear is your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s like fire. If you can control it, it can cook for you; it can heat your house. If you can’t control it, it will burn everything around you and destroy you. If you can control your fear, it makes you more alert, like a deer coming across the lawn.
Mike Tyson (via mmaquotes)

(via anthonynoceda)