The Old Taoists asked, "What do we get from enlightenment?" The Old Buddhists replied, "Escape from this world of suffering and sorrow!" The Old Taoists responded, "Om mani padme hummmm!" And walked away laughing. "Om mani padme hum" translates as "The jewel is in the lotus," which is a call with the unstated but implied response being, "The lotus is in the slime at the bottom of the pond. There is no escaping the world just as it is. The Taoists know that in a visceral way, the Buddhists recognize it in an intellectual way. Buddhists can talk about knowing. Taoists know without talking about it in a "Those who know know they cannot say what they know" kind of way. Conversations among Taoists amount to a lot of silence with occasional outbursts of laughter. Conversations about theology draw the most laughter. Then come conversations about morality and ethics. It is like this: The Dali Lama talks about compassion and his body guards carry automatic weapons. What is said is negated, or heavily restricted, by what he is prepared to do. All religion is burdened with this same canceling out of talk with actions. Churches talk about "Alms for the poor!" and spend more money on organ repair and parking lot expansion than on help for the poor. Contradiction is inherent in language. Words and action cancel each other out. So Taoists do and don't say. And what they do is a natural, un-thought, un-planned, un-contrived, response to the unfolding situation in the moment, in an "eat when hungry, rest when tired" kind of way. Taoism cannot be taught, it can only be "caught," and lived out moment-to-moment. The best book I know on the subject of "No books, just seeing, just knowing," is Ray Grigg's "The Tao of Zen." I understand he is still laughing about having written it. I laugh every time I read it, because it can't be and is.
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