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What is taoism?

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.philosophy.taoism,talk.religion.misc
From: (xiwangmu)
Subject: Re: What is taoism?
Date: 12 May 1997 14:40:48 -0700

49970512 AA1  Hail Satan!

Andrew :
>little time to outline in terms as vague as necessary what taoism is?

there was a 'FAQ' floating around, though it is disputed.  here is a
seed core for another:

	this ('what is taoism?') is a common question here, and
	deservedly so.  it seems a central and obvious issue
	which, despite the name of the newsgroup, is not at all
	easy to discern when surveying its contents.  and this
	is perfectly in line with traditional knowledge presen-
	tation of some Eastern forms.  we begin with tangental
	issues and only later, perhaps mid-way, do we begin to
	enter into what many Westerners would call 'the meat'.

	the reason for this style is in part because some topics
	are impossible to condense to a sound-byte and present

	upon a platter for sumptuous and convenient assimilation.
	instead TIME must be taken in becoming familiar with
	terminology, expression: the appearance of the meal, the
	aroma, the layout of the utensils and decore, the bouquet
	of the accompanying refreshment, an appetizer, a first or
	preparatory course, a palate cleanser, etc.

	in this way 'what is taoism?' should not be seen as a
	PRELIMINARY question within alt.philosophy.taoism, and by
	its long-time participants who have some feel for the topic
	it is not so considered.  indeed, the essence of the query,
	'what is tao?' is an extremely advanced and beautiful focus
	of contemplation for those who walk along the Way and come
	into the presence of the Supreme.  

	therefore, before asking 'what is taoism?', instead read
	peripheral discussions, such as that on 'wu-wei', 'p'u', 
	'jen', or even 'teh'.  get a feel for what kind of character 
	the master Lao might have been, the stories told of the 
	origins of the texts which are ascribed to him, and the 
	same for the master Chang Tao-ling.  peer into the misty 
	valleys of hermits who huddle around tea in their secluded 
	huts clucking, amused by the perplexity of esoteric 
	expression.  reside a while in the natural world where 
	currents and polarities inspire a visceral understanding 
	of the beauty of the 10,000 Things.

	when you have done all these things, when you have sat
	and listened to the masters tell their stories and
	pondered carefully their subtlety and their wry humor,
	when you have wrangled with them as to their meanings
	on details of courtly and mystical orientation, then come
	again and ask 'what is taoism?'.  perhaps there will
	be no answer.

>OR perhaps suggest some useful literature that's noso hard to find

try _Tao Teh Ching_, by the master Lao Tse (various translations,
probably best to try a number of them), or _The Tao is Silent_,
by Raymond Smullyan, or _The Watercourse Way_, by Alan Watts.
these are adequate introductions to the study of tao and teh.

literature is only one facet of the study of tao.  it is very
abstracted and therefore can take one outside presence.


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