Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 17, 2012 5:26 pm

Frank wrote:almost all chan influenced schools have very close literary similarities to what is written in the tao te ching and chuang tzu. the same cannot be said about many other writings from china around that era. it's not like everybody wrote the same style across the whole country.


Writing in vague and nebulous terms about spiritual ideas or experiences is to be found in Chinese literature regardless of it be Buddhist or otherwise.

Like I said, I have never seen any strong specifically "Daoist" influence in Chan literature. What I mean is that I have never seen references to the Daoist pantheon or citations of Daoist scriptures in Chan literature of the Tang Dynasty. Laozi and Zhuangzi are not necessarily "Daoist" in the strict sense as I outlined above as they are part of the common literary heritage of China which everyone studied.

What you are speaking about is more likely a result of that common heritage than anything else.

Also, if you want to draw parallels between Daoist and Chan literature you will have to put aside thematic comparisons and look at the original Chinese itself. If you can find Chan texts directly sourcing or plagiarizing Daoist texts in a positive way (as opposed to ridicule or attacking it) then you have evidence of strong influence, but I have never heard or seen this.
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Frank » Thu May 17, 2012 9:01 pm

Huseng wrote:
Frank wrote:almost all chan influenced schools have very close literary similarities to what is written in the tao te ching and chuang tzu. the same cannot be said about many other writings from china around that era. it's not like everybody wrote the same style across the whole country.


Writing in vague and nebulous terms about spiritual ideas or experiences is to be found in Chinese literature regardless of it be Buddhist or otherwise.

Like I said, I have never seen any strong specifically "Daoist" influence in Chan literature. What I mean is that I have never seen references to the Daoist pantheon or citations of Daoist scriptures in Chan literature of the Tang Dynasty. Laozi and Zhuangzi are not necessarily "Daoist" in the strict sense as I outlined above as they are part of the common literary heritage of China which everyone studied.

What you are speaking about is more likely a result of that common heritage than anything else.

Also, if you want to draw parallels between Daoist and Chan literature you will have to put aside thematic comparisons and look at the original Chinese itself. If you can find Chan texts directly sourcing or plagiarizing Daoist texts in a positive way (as opposed to ridicule or attacking it) then you have evidence of strong influence, but I have never heard or seen this.

thanks, good points.
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Huifeng » Fri May 18, 2012 1:45 am

Frank wrote:
Huifeng wrote:In the literary sense, pointing to Rujia (= "Confucian") style yulu (= "analects" / "records of sayings") literature, would probably have a greater influence on Chan literature. But again, this is just common Chinese heritage when it boils down to it.

Other ideas, paradoxes, riddles, etc. can already be found in Indian Buddhism, particularly some early Mahayana works. Similarity does not necessitate influence.

~~ Huifeng

why don't we see such consistent similarities in non chan influenced schools? i have seen... actually i give up, this is exactly what i didn't want this to turn into. again, my fault, no one elses. and my problem, no one elses, these are great posts, just not what i personally want. thanks so much for all the awesome info guys!!! i l learned a lot! you are all great! :twothumbsup: and with that i bow out :smile: :bow:


But we do see similar things in non Chan influenced schools.
Random example, the great Pureland practitioner Master Guangqin's "Analects" 廣欽老和尚《語綠》, published a couple of decades ago.

Now, again, I'm not denying any influence, just saying that the influence is not really that great, and what influence there is is hard to categorize as "Daoist" (whatever that English word really means, which still hasn't been clarified really).

Now, I'm kind of curious as to what contact and involvement you have with Chan... or, to be more traditional about it: Who's your Shifu?

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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Ikkyu » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:52 pm

It's my personal belief that the Tao is easily equatable with Dharmakaya, and that Lao Tzu may very well have been a bodhisattva. The Daojia of the Tao Te Ching is easily one of the most sophisticated philosophies.
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Jikan » Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:58 pm

This is among the more interesting books I've encountered on the subject:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Penumbra-Unbo ... 812&sr=1-3



FWIW, I thought Chuang-tzu was a more interesting and subtle thinker than Lao-tzu. :shrug:
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Adumbra » Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:48 am

Coexisting religions cannot help but influence one another, even if they are at war (observe the Pagan influence on Christianity). Buddhism has a goal: the end of suffering. So it is a very practical religion. But it's hard to say if there is any such goal in Taoism. It's much more speculative. More like a philosophy really...

Also, we would have to define what Buddhism and Taoism are. By Buddhism do we include Mahayana or only old school Theravada? By Taoism do we mean the philosophy advocated by Lao Tzu and Chaung Tzu or do we include the later developments like magical rituals and alchemy? I think Mahayana Buddhism has a lot more in common with Taoism then Therevada. We've got to define our terms.
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:38 am

Adumbra wrote:Coexisting religions cannot help but influence one another, even if they are at war (observe the Pagan influence on Christianity). Buddhism has a goal: the end of suffering. So it is a very practical religion. But it's hard to say if there is any such goal in Taoism. It's much more speculative. More like a philosophy really...

Also, we would have to define what Buddhism and Taoism are. By Buddhism do we include Mahayana or only old school Theravada? By Taoism do we mean the philosophy advocated by Lao Tzu and Chaung Tzu or do we include the later developments like magical rituals and alchemy? I think Mahayana Buddhism has a lot more in common with Taoism then Therevada. We've got to define our terms.


Theravada never appeared in China, apart from a single text, so not much to say on that issue. Though, if one refers to Sarvastivada, Sautrantika, etc. material, then that was a powerful force through the first few centuries into China.

The very term "Taoism" is now kind of accepted by scholars as a Western idea (esp. with that "T"!). In China, the construction of "Daojiao" or "Daojia" was in a sense only in the face of Buddhism (esp. in the Tang, the Li family and all that). And this construction took the "magical rituals and alchemy" that were very standard in a lot of Chinese thought, welding it with Lao-Zhuang philosophy. So, it's kind of hard to say that the "magical rituals and alchemy" were necessarily "later". More like the fusion of two streams.

So, yes, we have to define our terms.

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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:47 am

While I'm writing, this may be worth a read for that "Dao" definition to begin with (wanted to upload file, but it's too big, so here is a copy of paste of pp. 300-305; garbled letters are from Chinese characters that don't copy-paste from the file):

On the Very Idea of Religions (In the Modern West and in Early Medieval China)
Author(s): Robert Ford Campany
Source: History of Religions, Vol. 42, No. 4 (May, 2003), pp. 287-319
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3176635

2. "WAY" OR "PATH" (DAO [m] AND ITS COMPOUNDS)
In early medieval Chinese discourse, probably the most ubiquitous way
of nominalizing what we would call "religions" was to speak of one or
multiple "ways" or "paths"-one or more dao [L]. I begin with the treatise,
in dialogue format, known as the Mouzi lihuo lun [4-i ftfi 3e]
("Master Mou's Treatise for the Removal of Doubts"), by an unknown
author.46W hen, as rarely in this text, it is a matter of the foreign whatwe-
would-call-religion nominalized, and it is uncertain what its particular
practices, values, or scriptures are, the term used in every case is "the
dao-way or path-of Buddha" (fodao [fiJ$]). The term first occurs in
the question: "If the dao of Buddha is so venerable, why did not Yao,
Shun, the Duke of Zhou, and Confucius practice (xiu [f1]) it?"47 (John P.
Keenan renders fodao here as "the Way of the Buddha"; Erik Ziircher
simply translatesi t as "Buddhism,"a n understandablec hoice, but one that
masks the Chinese metaphor and its difference from the Western "ism.")48
Elsewhere the interlocutor asks why, since the people who constituted
the intellectual and cultural paragons of society at the time-the "forest
of classicists" (rulin [{ft$t], ru being a designation often translated as
"Confucians" [a habit that merits reconsideration])49-did not regard the

"dao of Buddha" as venerable during his visit there, Master Mou holds it
in such high esteem.50
The term dao is also used to summarily nominalize multiple "ways" in
the following passage:
"Inb otht he daos it is a single 'intentionlessa ction.'W hy thend o you discriminate
and rank them, saying they [the daos] are different?"51
Or, in the moder Western idiom: both Daoism and Buddhism employ
the concept, value, and terminology of "intentionless action" (the famous
wuwei); why then do you assert that Daoism and Buddhism are different
paths and that the latter is superior? The implied author, Master Mou,
goes on to pose analogies with the uses of the terms "vegetation" and
"metal": things may belong in common to these genera, but they differ at
the level of species. He then clinches the analogy with this line: "If this
is so of the myriad things, how can daos alone [be different]?" (Keenan
renders dao in the first question above as "teachings," while rendering
the latter one as "doctrines," both of which hide the Chinese metaphor
implicit in dao and set up a too-easy equivalence between it and the familiar
Western tendency to reduce religions to "doctrines.")52
In Wei Shou's treatise we find such usages as the following:
"This,t hen,w as them odestb eginningo f thei nfluxo f theW ayo f the Buddha."53
"In the time of EmperorH uan,[ XiangK ai] spoke of the Way of Buddha,t he
Yellow Emperora, nd [Laozi]."54
"[He] had always honored the Way of Buddha."55
Of course, fodao was also the expression of choice for denoting more
specifically the path to enlightenment established by the Buddha, a set of
teachings and practices more delimited than the more general usage seen

above, where fodao is clearly being used to nominalize the entirety of
what we in English would refer to as "Buddhism."56
In the year 340 C.E., the officials Yu Bing [J 7<Jaun] d He Chong [fiJ C]
debated the issue of whether the Buddhist sangha was autonomous with
respect to the polity.57 Both He, defending the pro-Buddhist position, and
Yu, arguing that monks were obliged to perform obeisance to the ruler,
use the term shendao [Lt$iE] (divine path, or path to divinity, or way of
spirits) in both the singular and plural to nominalize bodies of practice
that seem analogous to what is meant by "religion(s)." (Ziircher, again ignoring
the metaphoric structure of such an expression, renders shendao as
"spiritual doctrine.")
"Them yriadq uartersd ifferi n theirc ustoms;t heirs hendaoa re hardt o distinguish."
58
"Moreoverf, rom its first appearancein Han times down to the present,a lthought
he Law [see the sectionb elow on this metaphorh] as alternatelyfl ourished
andd ecayedi t has not been spoiledb y bogus and wanton[ practices]A. s
a shendao it has lasted longer than any other."59
Again, as in the case of fodao, these uses of shendao are exceptional.
The term's more standard meanings in religious discourses include the
paths of rebirth as spirits as opposed to humans,60 the way of serving
spirits, a way of characterizing a religious path or method as superior,61
or the inscription-lined pathway leading to a prominent person's tomb.
In the fifth-century Celestial Master scripture Inner Explanations of
the Three Heavens (Santian neijie jing [-_ I rt /g ]), which offers a
mythic "history" of what we would term "religions" in China up until its

own time, religious plurality is similarly a matter of various daos, and
central to the scripture's agenda-as we will see below-is to narrate the
history of these daos' interrelationships so as to clarify their respective
statuses and identities (and so as to privilege the one championed by the
scripture's authors). We find such statements as the following:
"At this time, he [Lord Lao] issued the Three Ways to instruct the people of
heaven.... At that time, the rule of the Six Heavensf lourisheda nd the Three
Ways and Teachings were put into practice."62
These "Three Ways" are not the "Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism"
familiar from textbooks on Chinese religions over the past century but
"the Great Way of Intentionless Action" (wuwei dadao [,, :,tk ]),
"the Way of Buddha" (fodao [f M-]), and "the Great Way of the Pure
Contract"( qingyue dadao [- K,t X ]).
Later, after narrating the Buddha's birth, the text observes:
"Att his, the Way of Buddhaf lourishedo nce more."63
Then, in its version of the most common story of how the "way of Buddha"
was introduced to China-that of the dream of Han Emperor
Ming-the scripture observes:
"His officials interpreted this dream to mean that this was the perfected form of
the Buddha, so they sent envoys into the Western Kingdoms to copy and bring
back Buddha scriptures. Then [or: because of this] they built Buddha stiipas
and temples, and so [the Way of Buddha?B uddhas tuipasa nd temples?]c overed
and spread across the Central Kingdom, and the Three Ways intermingled
and became confused. As a result, the people became mixed and disordered;

those of the Center mingled with outsiders, and each had his own particular
object of veneration."64
There is an odd vagueness as to the intended subject of the second sentence:
perhaps it is the "way of Buddha," or perhaps the "Buddha stupas
and temples," that are said to have "covered and spread across the Central
Kingdom." In any case, flourishing, covering and spreading an area
(perhaps), intermingling and becoming confused: these are the actions,
and the only actions, attributed to daos.65
Elsewhere, in a passage lamenting people's tendency to continue "revering"
or "upholding" (feng [I]) daos for which there is no longer any
need, we read:
"Todayt, hought here are some who reveret he "Wayo f Five Pecks of Rice,"
therea re othersw ho upholdt he "[Wayo f] IntentionlessA ction"a ndt he "Way
of Bannersa ndF lowers,"w hichf ollows the Wayo f Buddha.A ll of these [deviant
ways] are old matters of the Six Heavens. All have been abolished!"66
Finally, when this scripture wants to indicate that multiple "ways"
have a common source, it resorts to a different metaphor commonly used
in Chinese discourses for this purpose: that of trunk or root versus
branch.
"Now the three Ways are but different branches extending from the same
root.... These three Ways are equally methods of the Most High Lord Lao,
thought hey differ in their teachingsa nd transformativeef fects. All threef ind
their source in the true Way."67
What are the implications of the dao metaphor? Although many scriptures
of Celestial Master, Shangqing, and Lingbao provenance personify
dao as an ultimate cosmic deity or force with wishes and commandments
for humanity, such is not its sense in the contexts under survey here; it is
used rather to nominalize things that seem analogous to what we would

call "religions." It does so by imagining them as paths. Imagined as the
objects of human agents' actions, paths may be issued, set forth, laid
down, upheld, followed, strayed or deviated from, or lost,68 or the wrong
path may be taken; imagined as agents, they may deviate or be correct,
they may flourish or decline, or they may remain distinct or become intermingled
and confused. These are very weak senses of agency, and they
are nonorganic. "Path" metaphors are, however, rather holistic in at least
two senses: a path, unless broken, runs continuously from beginning to
end, whether it divides or rejoins, and it is not possible for an individual
to walk-practice (the double sense of a common verb in such contexts,
xing [f]) more than one path at a time unless the paths have merged to
form one. But note, finally, that people's relation to daos is not one of passive
containment, membership, or sheer belonging. People seek, travel,
follow, abandon, or deviate from daos, rather than simply being contained
in them; the verbs are verbs of doing, not copulae.69


~~ Huifeng
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:28 am

There is in existence a Buddhhist interpretation of the I Ching The Buddhist I Ching by Chih-hsu Ou-i published by Shambhala. It's available on Scribd at http://www.scribd.com/ for free download. So obviously there was a cross-fertilisation happening.
:namaste:
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One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:05 am

gregkavarnos wrote:There is in existence a Buddhhist interpretation of the I Ching The Buddhist I Ching by Chih-hsu Ou-i published by Shambhala. It's available on Scribd at http://www.scribd.com/ for free download. So obviously there was a cross-fertilisation happening.
:namaste:


May I inquire: In what way is the Book of Changes "Daoist", exactly?

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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:10 am

gregkavarnos wrote:There is in existence a Buddhhist interpretation of the I Ching The Buddhist I Ching by Chih-hsu Ou-i published by Shambhala. It's available on Scribd at http://www.scribd.com/ for free download. So obviously there was a cross-fertilisation happening.
:namaste:


And... Zhixu Ouyi was a Jingtu ("Pure Land") patriarch, not a strictly Chan school patriarch (though he studied pretty much all schools).

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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:09 pm

Huifeng wrote:May I inquire: In what way is the Book of Changes "Daoist", exactly?
Now that is a good question! I guess at first glance the I Ching may have an aura of Confucianism to it. The constant references to the Imperial model of order and society, for example: the military overtones, the identification of natural order with imperial social/political structures, the need to define each situation in terms of conflict, etc...

But for me, no expert on either Daoism or Confucianism, it seems that the dependence on a random or arbitrary methodology (coins, reeds, etc...) couched within the model of an overarching natural order based on the existence opposites seems VERY Daoist. It seems too fluid to be purely Confucian.
And... Zhixu Ouyi was a Jingtu ("Pure Land") patriarch, not a strictly Chan school patriarch (though he studied pretty much all schools).
I wasn't trying to purposefully tie it into Chan, I was more throwing it out there as an example of the cross-fertilisation between indigenous Chinese culture and (Indian) Buddhism.
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Astus » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:01 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:seems VERY Daoist. It seems too fluid to be purely Confucian.
... I was more throwing it out there as an example of the cross-fertilisation between indigenous Chinese culture and (Indian) Buddhism.


That's the point, it is just Chinese, old Chinese. A tarot deck is not Kabbalistic, Thelemic or Christian just because it shows some connection to each of them.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
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Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:24 pm

In China, the Yi Jing (or Zhou Yi) is generally known as one of the five great classics (jing). As such, it is a classic of Chinese culture in general. For a long time, it's been regarded as Ru (= Confucian), but this is due to later particular interpretations, rather than having Ru / Kong origins itself.

Ancient Chinese use of forms of divination is very common, the Yi Jing is one means, as are the cracks on the turtle shell, yarrow stalks or bamboo strips, inverted bowls, etc. So, this is not indicating some particular line of influence, either.

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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:27 pm

I don't understand what you are trying to say Astus, I know the I Ching is Chinese (whatever that term means, really...) I was commenting on the book by Zhixu Ouyi which attempts to wed Buddhism (Indian, another ambiguous term) with the I Ching (Chinese). Unless you are saying that Pure Land Buddhism is "purely" Chinese?
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One will not attain the real result
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:30 pm

Huifeng wrote:In China, the Yi Jing (or Zhou Yi) is generally known as one of the five great classics (jing). As such, it is a classic of Chinese culture in general. For a long time, it's been regarded as Ru (= Confucian), but this is due to later particular interpretations, rather than having Ru / Kong origins itself.

Ancient Chinese use of forms of divination is very common, the Yi Jing is one means, as are the cracks on the turtle shell, yarrow stalks or bamboo strips, inverted bowls, etc. So, this is not indicating some particular line of influence, either.

~~ Huifeng
So you are saying that the I Ching is a "trend", "system", or "branch" in it's own right, independent of Daoism?
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Indrajala » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:38 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:There is in existence a Buddhhist interpretation of the I Ching The Buddhist I Ching by Chih-hsu Ou-i published by Shambhala. It's available on Scribd at http://www.scribd.com/ for free download. So obviously there was a cross-fertilisation happening.
:namaste:


The Yijing is part of the common Chinese intellectual-literary heritage. Anyone with a thorough education would have studied it, including most Buddhists.

The Yijing also existed long before anything called Daojiao (Daoism) came to exist. It appears even as far back as the Shang Dynasty (11th century BCE), if not earlier, as they had standard divination methods from which the Zhou Yi (Yijing) was born.
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:40 pm

Okay, I understand now! Would it then be more correct to say that the I Ching influenced Taoism and Confucianism?
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby Indrajala » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:48 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Okay, I understand now! Would it then be more correct to say that the I Ching influenced Taoism and Confucianism?
:namaste:


The Yijing influenced every level of Chinese society from the emperors down to the common man on the street paying for a divination to be done from a soothsayer.

Confucius himself practised divination via the Yijing and even wrote the commentary work on it (the "Ten Wings" Shi Yi 十翼) used in the contemporary edition.

As such an educated man would have been quite familiar with the text.
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Re: Taoism in general, specifically it's connections with Ch'an

Postby LastLegend » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:05 pm

Confucius spoke of original face as neither good or evil. That is what Buddha spoke of.

Confucius spoke of personal perfection (cultivation of virtues), family, country, and peace. So in order to have peace, the country must be managed successfully. In order to manage country successfully, family must be managed successfully. A family is a unit of society or country. If there is peace within families, there will be peace within a country. But personal perfection/cultivation of virtues must be there in order for the whole structure to work. For example, we cannot respect the elders if the elders are not good role models that they they possess no moral virtues. This is a very important point in transmitting moral teachings. That's why Buddha talked the talk, and walked the walk. Another example is when the government is cruel, by submitting to it, people suffer.

America's political structure is "God, country, family, and community."

Out of all Chinese dynasties, ones that had lasted longest were the ones that adopted/honored moral teachings.

My understanding is Confucianism and other similar teachings have sowed the basic foundation of basic moral teachings on which Mahayana Buddhism stabilized itself later on in China. That is to say because of Confucianism and similar teachings, Mahayana has been doing very well in China. While in countries such as Cambodia and Laos, Theravada has been doing well.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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