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Aramai Embraces Elements of Chinese Spirituality

Published by Peter Ramster in May 2012 · 28/5/2012 13:57:46

Confucianism.

Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–478 BC). Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period that roughly relates from 771 until 476 BC (or by some authorities until 403 BC). Confucianism became the official state ideology of China, until the establishment of the Republic of China.

The core of Confucianism is humanism, the belief that human beings are teachable, improvable and perfectible through personal and communal endeavour especially including self-cultivation and self-creation. Confucianism focuses on the cultivation of virtue and maintenance of ethics, including an obligation of altruism and humaneness towards other individuals within a community, the upholding of righteousness and the moral disposition to do good, and a system of norms and propriety that determines how a person should properly act within a community. The values of altruism and humanness towards other individuals is something we embrace, and adopt, along with the ideal of doing good for others.

Taoism

Taoism was an academic school in pre-historic China, in the pre-Qin Dynasty. Taoism stresses the doctrine of spontaneousness and nature. It also advocates external and internal tranquility as well as peace.
It is divided into two segments: Confucianism's social criteria and talent as well as Taoism's self-cultivation to be a saint with extraordinary understanding to see the social world and natural truth. Taoism is about an individual's internal self and spirituality which is characterised by one's external personality. Confucianism is inclined to the development of social harmony. Spontaneousness indicates freedom from unnecessary inhibition, freedom to be oneself. This was considered a healthy component of psychological makeup.

Taoism and Nature

Taoism has its own way of exploring the oneness of both humanity and nature and also the harmony of spirituality and materiality, while it satisfies the inner needs of individuals. Taoism also advocates the harmonious co-existence of humans with nature. Taoist are environmentalists. In their classics, nature is regarded as the mother of humanity!

The natural world, of course, also involves sexuality. So Taoism also involved sexual arts, and with this, linked ideas related to energy and yin and yang. Sexuality was considered a natural part of life and was not confined to monogamous marriage, or even marriage at all. It was seen as a path to higher spirituality. Taoism developed sexual arts which included promiscuous social interactions, which were publicly discussed and expressed. Similar to Tantric practices, sexuality was not out of alignment with spirituality. Later Confucian beliefs reversed some of the earlier trends related to sexuality and sexual practice, though Taoist organisations still remain. Taoist belief also accepted male and female homosexuality including associated sexual acts which were considered socially normal.

Taoism and China Today

Taoist beliefs are still held by some. In one part of China today there remains a culture run by women, where women choose sexual partners, which may constantly differ. Men there also have more than one partner. Large parts of China today have more contemporary views, but for the Taoist, it is an aspect of nature and the natural world. Sexual harmony and fulfilment are also in line with the Taoist belief of the importance of an inner peacefulness. This cannot be found in situations of sexual frustration, and we might compare this with Christianity of the past, where, instead of finding peace, religious people whipped themselves and put themselves through other tortures to try to kill off their sexual needs. This religion based suppression and sexual fear of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, associated with the Christian morality of the time, constituted the most common cause of psychological problems.

Taoism and Aramai

For Aramai, the concept of gaining extraordinary understanding and insight into the world and oneself is seen as valuable, as is understanding nature and the important psychological benefits of spontaneity. Spirituality is also important, however when one looks at the different philosophies that have existed throughout history to the modern day, spirituality might be seen as a diamond, cut with different facets, with different civilisations and cultures adopting one facet or another for their beliefs. The overall philosophy of Taoism seems to have been to gain spirituality through simplicity, honesty with self and acknowledging nature. As a philosophy it holds an honesty and insight some other philosophies don't inherit. However, its development over time was like all things, not all perfect, so at Aramai we look to its overall philosophies that are positive and contribute to the well being of both the individual and society. Such can be found especially in the seeking of inner harmony, in being at one with nature while at the same time, seeking higher ideals in the pursuit of spirituality and insight.   

China and Buddhism

Buddhism was also important to China. Between 202BC and 9BC, Buddhism came into China from ancient India. After a long period of spread and development, Buddhism gradually became a nationalised religion in China. Chinese Buddhism formed three distinct branches: Han Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism. It was widely accepted by many people, including the emperors. To a great extent, Chinese philosophy is based on the development of Buddhism. Chinese literature and the political system absorbed much from Buddhism. Many branches appeared such as Zen and Theravada Buddhism. Chinese Buddhism additionally also has a locally born Buddha, Kwan-yin, who is the Chinese people's own Buddha.

Buddhist Philosophy

Beginners to Buddhism are given certain doctrines under the heading, The Four Noble Truths (1. The truth of suffering 2. The truth of the cause of suffering 3. The truth of the end of suffering 4. The truth of the path that frees us from suffering) The Five Skandhas (1. Form 2. Sensation 3. Perception 4. Mental formations 5. Consciousness) the Eightfold Path (1. Right view 2. Right Intention 3. Right speech 4. Right action 5. Right livelihood 6. Right effort 7. Right mindfulness 8. Right concentration. The Path is divided into three main sections: wisdom, ethical conduct and mental discipline). Different branches of Buddhism differ.

One is told to understand the teachings and practice them, however, "believing in" such doctrines about Buddhism is not where it is at. What the Buddha taught was a method for understanding oneself and the world, so the doctrines are not meant to be accepted on blind faith. Buddhist systems of thought are a guiding means; they are not absolute truth, because it is felt that absolute truth cannot be contained in words and concepts. Thus, merely believing in words and concepts is not the Buddhist path. However, to say that doctrines and teachings shouldn't be accepted on blind faith doesn't mean they aren't seen as important. The teachings of Buddhism are considered to be maps to follow on your spiritual journey. It doesn't mean there are no Buddhist beliefs, however, over the centuries, Buddhism has developed diverse schools with distinctive, and sometimes contradictory, doctrines.

Buddhism and Personal Growth

Again, like the Taoist path, Buddhism is about personal growth and development that translates to following the right path in life, which also results in right actions. In this way it is both a psychological and philosophical doctrine for personal development. However, it is also about self exploration through life, through various practices and through meditation.

Buddhism and Aramai

We concur with Buddhism in the belief that the most important path for each individual is self exploration and knowledge. Much of this comes from the exploration of life. Much comes from education. Much must also come from self examination in association with meditation and philosophical discussion. There are elements of traditional Chinese belief that Aramai has adopted. These include parts of Confucianism, parts of Taoist philosophy and aspects of Buddhism, though we also include some Indian Buddhist belief, as well as aspects of Indian traditional spiritual teachings. The path to wisdom is not indoctrination, but experience, careful thought, examination of philosophy, and awareness of self at a deeper level than most people ever gain, along with an understanding of the important, and sometimes obscure, aspects of life. Wisdom cannot come through blindly following a path or a philosophy depicted by others. Wisdom cannot come from ignoring yourself, or not taking an in depth look at yourself. Wisdom comes from a balance of many things and it is up to the individual to find the truth for themselves through their own exploration and development. In this we concur with Buddhist philosophy. We also concur with Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, in that an important aspect of life and self development, is seeking higher ideals and a greater wisdom in your thoughts that lead to a better and happier society, and a more enlightened you.



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