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Huston Smith On Tao And Taoism

 Huston Smith  student and practicioner of "religions" diied last month at age 97.


I did not take notice of his passing, but i did happen this afternoon to pick up a copy of hi The Religions of Man which includes a briief chapter on Taoism.  A summary of that chapter can be found atI 05 Taoism, but i wish i could give you the entire 28 page chapter.  It is a work of art and the best
short discussion of Taoism i have seen.  Written 60 years ago from lecture notes, it still stands out.I have never had any interest in popular Taoism which i is what i consider the Taoist "religion."

I was unaware of the distinction between "Esoteric" and "Philosophical" Taoism, but i have, without being able to name them, struggled between them with my mind.  The esoteric version is more mystical and more in the spirit in which the Tao Te Ching seems to have been written.  Philosophical Taoism is more practical and more democratic.  The Taoist sages (and Smith) assumed that the average person is not capable of understanding or using the mystical version.  My experience in  12-Step programs suggests to me that the "gap" between mysticism and "practical spirituality" is not so great as has been assumed.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
maadmike
Jan. 10th, 2017 12:39 am (UTC)
I want but I am afraid child to do it. Can you write about your everyday life experience with the connection to Tao, Buddhism, Christianity...
I want to start myself and I'll do in the end but... I need some inspiration if you will be pleased to help me. With all my love, your sincerely, maadmike... oh...

Edited at 2017-01-10 12:41 am (UTC)
bobby1933
Jan. 10th, 2017 03:50 am (UTC)
I think it is simple, and one can start anywhere. But i am afraid that if i try to answer you in this ciois comment, it will get very long. I need some time to organize my thoughts. Sometime soon i will post an essay called: "How i am coming to see Reality" Please note that it will be intended as an reply to your comment.

In the meantime: Here are three Eastern Orthodox Christian poets and six of their poems. Two of the poets were Russians.

Symeon The New Theologian (949-1025)
"What is this awesome mystery"
"Oh Totally Strange and Inexpressible Marvel"

Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894)
"Images, however sacred...."
"Descend from your head into your heart"

Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900)
"If desires fly away like shadows"
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

Each of these poems express exactly what i get out of Buddhism and Taoism (and from lots of other places).
maadmike
Jan. 10th, 2017 05:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you for book's names, and I am waiting for your experience description in a way...
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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