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 The Infinite in Taoism

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Number of posts : 1919
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PostSubject: The Infinite in Taoism   Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:50 pm

I ran across the following on a Daoism (Taoism) website and thought it might be a fun concept to explore.

Quote :
The Infinite

'The Infinite is Dao, a state more primordial and ultimate than the Supreme Ultimate

The Infinite is the conception Laozi uses to denote the ultimate of Dao. Chapter 28 of the Dao Te Ching says: "He who knows the white but keeps to the black becomes the model of the world. Being the model of the world, he rests in constant virtue, and he returns to the Infinite". So the original meaning of the Infinite is Dao, the infiniteness of Dao. Daoists after Laozi have all used the term 'the Infinite' to denote this meaning, with only slight differences in emphasis. In the section 'Unfettered Excursion', Zhuangzi says, "beyond the Infinite it is still the Infinite". By this he means that the world is infinite and beyond infinite it is still infinite. The Laozi Zhangju by He Shanggong of the Han Dynasty explains "returning to the Infinite" as longevity. According to Daoism, longevity can only be attained through uniting with Dao. Therefore, it is the same to define the Infinite as Dao or as longevity. Being infinite, Dao existed before Heaven and Earth, has existed for infinite time, and will exist forever. Being infinite space, Dao is not confined to any concrete realm. So "the Infinite" is used to denote Dao. When used in the perspective of universal evolution, the Infinite, in contrast with the Supreme Ultimate, often means the period when Heaven and Earth were not formed. This period is older and more ultimate than the chaos from which Heaven and Earth directly originated. This period is Dao. Therefore, the Infinite is the origin of the Supreme Ultimate. Daoists all pursue union with Dao. The concrete method of doing so is to return to the original and ultimate state. This is the so-called "Returning to the Infinite".

How might "the Infinite" or "the Supreme Ultimate" fit into your metaphysical model?

"Enjoy every sandwich" ~ Warren Zevon
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Number of posts : 660
Location: : Birmingham, Alabama
Registration date : 2007-09-30

PostSubject: Re: The Infinite in Taoism   Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:34 pm

Quote :

How might "the Infinite" or "the Supreme Ultimate" fit into your metaphysical model?

Works for me. And I assume we will all return to the infinite at some point. Whether that "return" will be a joyous homecoming, or a routine recycling remains to be seen. Smile
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