lao-tzu

Legacy of Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu Waterfall Scene

According to legend, Lao Tzu, an elderly 5th-century-BC archivist, tired of the Zhou dynasty’s increasing corruption and left the empire to live a more honorable, hermetic life in the far-west mountains.

Whether this tale is true — and whether it’s true that Lao Tzu, at the behest of the last mountain sentry, gave the guard his Tao te Ching, his poetic collection of ancient Chinese wisdom — is of no importance.

No matter the myth of the Tao‘s inception — though the more charming the myth the better — what matters is the Tao itself.

And if, despite any evidence, generations have believed this tale, we might as well follow the Tao and be like water, going with the flow, waving farewell to old Lao Tzu as he wanders off toward sunset.

 

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The Book of the Way

Tao te Ching

After seeing the Dalai Lama speak in 1989, I browsed the books for sale outside the university auditorium and first discovered the Tao te Ching.

That was Stephen Mitchell’s translation, and I took it home and read it,  bending like a stem to its soft humor and smiling guidance.

The 81 poems comprising the Tao provide a map to a spiritual territory, a land far from the pages of a book, closer perhaps to the heart of all our deeds.

Click the image above to get your own copy.  Then read it for yourself with a warm cup of tea.  Begin to grin as you slowly unravel its riddle…

 

China’s Gen Zen

 

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Looks like Chinese millennials are equally apathetic as their western counterparts.  That’s according to China’s Global Times.

Rather than focus on capitalistic careers or communist-party dogma, China’s so-called Zen Generation is turning away from money and Mao and looking farther back in history, back to Buddha himself and his image of inner peace.

Sounds like these twentysomething Chinese are lacking a little Confucian structure.  They prefer to lounge around in Lao Tzu’s Tao, waiting for wu wei to woo them off the couch.

Actually, this bodes well for China’s future.  If she can detach from imported ideologies, if she can return to her own ancient wisdom, the rest of the world would be wise to follow.

 

Zen Man Who

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Back mid-90s, in the days of AOL, I logged in as ZenManMe.  Sometime around 2000, I got on with Google.  By then, I was teaching college in the Bay Area and learning the local vernacular.

Thus, Zen Man Yo!

On paper, I’m hardly a Zen Man.  No meditation in any organized way.  No dharma-talk attendance.  No shaving my head to show I’m not attached to my hair.

Instead, I’m more of a Tao Man — one who follows Taoism, the native Chinese influence on Siddhartha’s rising Buddhism.

Like legendary Lao-Tzu, a Taoist follows the middle path through the Tao te Ching, rides each wave of universal oomph, acting only when nature acts within.

Looking back, Tao Man Yo might’ve been a better login.  But something inside me went with Zen, so I went with the Tao, riding that wave till now.