Some of you already know or at least suspect that I’ve really–REALLY–gotten into Taoism lately. Not the religion which developed from this understanding of ultimate reality, but the original teachings of Lao Tzu and Chaung Tzu. It’s a profoundly simple and uncomplicated understanding of all that is, complicated only by it’s rejection of so much of what we regard as basic and true. That being said and me rereading what I’ve written so far, it’s clear that nothing about this is particularly clear. Whatever…
There is another book also alleged to be the work of Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu, by the way (that’s btw for those who speak only text) may or may not have existed, an idea which somehow imparts the essence of Taoism–which, of course, is not pronounced tow-ism but dow-ism. Go figguh. That book is called The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu, Hua Hu Ching. Now get this–and this part will be no surprise to those of you who like to have fun–Hua Hu is pronounced whahoo! (the exclamation point is mine, but what did you expect? Ching is pronounced Jing. Whoopee.
All that aside, on page 21 of Brian Walker’s translation of this tome, talking about the “mature person”who seeks understanding of the Tao, he says this:
Gently eliminating all obstacles to his own understanding, he constantly maintains his unconditional sincerity.
His humility, perseverance, and adaptability evoke the response of the universe and fill him with divine light.
All that is fine and respectful and such, but there’s something else, something utterly essential. At the heart of the Tao with it’s constant rejection of all we westerners and most easterners regard as reality is it’s ability to laugh at both us and itself. Really! There may be no other body of take-this-seriously-’cause-we’re-ultimately-spiritual-and-divine literature with such a wonderful and instructive sense of humorous self-deprecation. Humility, perseverance and adaptability are nice–don’t get me wrong–but if you can’t laugh, you don’t stand a chance of understanding Taoist understanding or truly loving this life.
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Disclaimer: Just in case I prove to be following in the footsteps of the late and sorely missed Emily Litella in all of this,