taoism

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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DJT: Taoist Non-Confucian

Trump & Qin

A common complaint about Donald Trump is his brassy, raw demeanor:  his flip remarks and dismissive one-liners.

“He doesn’t act presidential,” some say.

That’s a very valid Confucian concern – the preference for clear and expected social roles.

Tweeting at 3am is not the expected behavior of a world leader.

Still, his unstoppable impetus, his surprising inner drive, illustrate the Taoist urge of wu wei — the authentic, the real, the very heart of a beating Tao.

Trump is simply more Taoist than Confucian.  Buddhists simply breathe.

 

Dalai Lama Yo

 

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On October 5th, 1989, the Nobel Peace-Prize winner was announced —  his holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

That very night, I held a ticket to attend a lecture at UC Irvine, a lecture to be delivered by — his holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

During his talk, in response to an audience question, the Dalai Lama said something that struck me.

“If Dalai Lama mad at China,” the Dalai Lama said, “China feel no pain.  Only Dalai Lama feel pain.  Dalai Lama no eat.  Dalai Lama no sleep –“

Then, pausing momentarily to confer with his robed Tibetan translator, the Dalai Lama continued:   “Dalai Lama feel up tight.”

 

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.