Reading Tao Te Ching + Question


#1

Hello, I recently got a hold of a book on the teachings of Tao Te Ching as a gift from a judge that my Mother works for (she’s an interpreter there). Anyways it seems to be a very vaild book with everything from the teachings to the different poses taken for meditation or what not (haven’t read it yet).

So my question to my fellow Catholics is am I allowed to read this with the full intention of following it as the philosophy states it. Obviously if it calls for me to offer some prayer to a pagan god I will not do so, but I am intrested in learning about it and seeing if this new view can help make me a better person.

I’m not trying to replace my Catholic faith with Taoism, but it does intrigue me and I would want to try some of the meditation it offers. So would it be a mortal sin to read this and follow the teachings offered?

As my other question I was wondering what the rule is about other religious books? In the near future I hope to read the Koran to learn what is taught by my own eyes instead of different moderate/extremist sources.


#2

Why waste your time, though?

However much time you have to read, this will still take the place of reading something else more edifying.

Read the Rule of St Benedict instead:D


#3

The Vatican warns against engaging in non-Christian meditation techniques:

Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age

Christian prayer is not an exercise in self-contemplation, stillness and self-emptying, but a dialogue of love, one which “implies an attitude of conversion, a flight from ‘self’ to the ‘You’ of God”.(61) It leads to an increasingly complete surrender to God’s will, whereby we are invited to a deep, genuine solidarity with our brothers and sisters.(62)

Letter to the Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation

With the present diffusion of eastern methods of meditation in the Christian world and in ecclesial communities, we find ourselves faced with a pointed renewal of an attempt, which is not free from dangers and errors, “to fuse Christian meditation with that which is non-Christian.” Proposals in this direction are numerous and radical to a greater or lesser extent. Some use eastern methods solely as a psycho-physical preparation for a truly Christian contemplation; others go further and, using different techniques, try to generate spiritual experiences similar to those described in the writings of certain Catholic mystics.13 Still others do not hesitate to place that absolute without image or concepts, which is proper to Buddhist theory, 14 on the same level as the majesty of God revealed in Christ, which towers above finite reality. To this end, they make use of a “negative theology,” which transcends every affirmation seeking to express what God is, and denies that the things of this world can offer traces of the infinity of God. Thus they propose abandoning not only meditation on the salvific works accomplished in history by the God of the Old and New Covenant, but also the very idea of the One and Triune God, who is Love, in favor of an immersion "in the indeterminate abyss of the divinity."15 These and similar proposals to harmonize Christian meditation with eastern techniques need to have their contents and methods ever subjected to a thorough-going examination so as to avoid the danger of falling into syncretism.


#4

There are no specific meditation techniques in the Dao de Ching. It was meant more as a guidebook for rulers. I’ve read this book amazon.com/Christ-Eternal-Tao-Hieromonk-Damascene/dp/0938635859 quite interesting.

The ‘Word’(Logos) is translated as ‘Tao’ in the Chinese Bible. Find common ground is all I’m saying.


#5

I studied the Lao Tzu and Confucius in college. There are no meditation poses in the Tao Te Ching. It sounds like the the book you received is full of New Age gobbilty goop. Throw it away and get a real copy of Lao Tzu’s book, but first learn about him in your Catholic Encyclopedia.


#6

<<Hello, I recently got a hold of a book on the teachings of Tao Te Ching as a gift from a judge that my Mother works for (she’s an interpreter there). Anyways it seems to be a very vaild book with everything from the teachings to the different poses taken for meditation or what not (haven’t read it yet).>>

If you’ve not read the book, how do you know it has ANY degree of “validity”?

But when we say, “I believe in one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church,” it means that her teaching is complete, that she contains all we need to know for our salvaiton and sanctification, and it’s not necessary to go poking around outside of her for spiritual insights.


#7

I guess the OP has a different book than what you’re describing because he said,

and


#8

Sonic and Redhen are correct. There are no meditation poses in the Tao Te Ching. It is an at least 5,000 year old prehistorical Chinese work by a Sage (Lao Tzu) that pre-dates Confucious and Buddha. Don’t know what book you have, but you might want to pick up a comparative religion textbook that addresses Taoism, rather than this book.

Over the years, there have been many scholars that have believed Taoism, while pre-dating Abrahamic religions, taught the same fundamental truths. If someone were to accept that premise, then an intellectual exploration of the philosophical basis of Taoism would be anaolgous to the Christian study of Hebrew rituals and customs (except going back even further). Not everyone accepts this premise, however.

Taoism emphasizes living without resistance to the Tao, or the force of life (EDIT; this is really a poor explanation made for simplicity’s sake.The Tao is actually undefined.). You could say, “that sounds similar to the idea that we should seek to cooperate with God’s will, except God is not identified. Hmm. I wonder if that was because God had not revealed Himself at that time in history?”. Or, you could say, “a force is a pagan concept that de-personalizes God, therefore Taoism is evil.”

The ancient Chinese people did worship ancestors and practice divination, so you might want to forego the alter in your bedroom built to Grandmother as a practicing, secure Catholic.


#9

I thank everyone who responded, to answer some questions I meant that having skimmed through a few random pages I took a notice of images showing the poses taken for different meditations; though from what I heard it seems this may be just a New Age book in disguise with Lao Tzu’s teachings to cover it.

Anyways I took the few days to think it over, and I realized that this passed week I had been the most optimistic about remerging into the Catholic faith. I wouldn’t call myself a secure Catholic and I’ve had a dry spell religious wise that has lasted at least a year (and still going more or less) Though recently I’ve felt the desire to go to Confession and attend Mass. So with that occuring I think it would be best not to sabotage it with a disguised New Age book. Maybe once I consider myself more confident in my faith I’ll take a look at the real teachings of Taoism.

The ancient Chinese people did worship ancestors and practice divination, so you might want to forego the alter in your bedroom built to Grandmother as a practicing, secure Catholic.

I don’t have a altar to my Grandmother in my bedroom; though I do have a ‘shrine’ of sorts to Pope John Paul II. (basically an upright Times Magazine that had him on the cover)


#10

:smiley:


#11

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