December 24-B, 2022

Ferry, from Springer’s Point 10/28/2011, Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Pamlico Sound, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
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.


Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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