bobby1933 (bobby1933) wrote,

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.

Tags: 12-step programs, mysticism, perennial philosophy, personal life, spirituality, tao te ching, taoism
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