2 thoughts on “Hold No Rank: Daoism & Anarchism

  1. So! I’ve binged through your talks on Taoism over thanksgiving break. Now that you have moved on to Zen, I have to get all my thoughts out:

    I was wondering if you had a preferred translator when it came to the Tao-Te-Ching. I’ve really only read Addis, but sometimes his translations prove to be more poetic than what seems helpful.. Though I do like a bit of room…

    Personally, I’m happy to hear that the Yin-Yang stuff was added later (along with some of the more metaphysical parts of the Tao-Te-Ching). I think it’s a really neat symbol and has a lot of practicality to it, but I always fancied myself a fan of the purely practical/philosophical aspects of Taoism.

    The early works of Taoist masters, specifically the psuedo-koans from the Liezi was some good fuel for the fire for my peers and my discussion about Taoism potential influence on Zen… Or framing.

    I am not sold one way or another… It seems like if Taoism was so integrated into the culture of the Chinese that saying it influenced Chan is redundant? Or another way to put it: Is Zen Buddhism mixed with Daoism? Or is Zen just Buddhism mixed with the rhetoric and stylistic temperment of the Chinese? Both?

    There’s a lot more stuff that comes to mind – it feels hard to determine that the meaning behind words like Dao and the ‘Way’/’dharma’ in Chan is similar enough to the Taoist’s use of the word to point to a concrete influence. The hell do these words really mean, anyway? A few of my peers see Zen masters quoting Taoist ideas/phrases no more significant than quoting confucian ones. I think the strongest link is the rhetorical styles, the mean teacher, etc etc… but I don’t know enough about the history of religion in china to have a strong opinion.

    Anyway, I could go on forever, great talks. Any thoughts is greatly appreciated. I am very excited about the Zen talks. No one talks about the cool parts of Zen… I.E. the chinese patriarchs.

    1. I think the strongest connection, the one that became clearer to me as I had to present the material over the years, is the repeated Daoist quotes, often the Zhuangzi, that we find in the central patriarchs, like Huineng, Joshu and Linji. I also have found myself drawn to the clear, Daoist message of Joshu, that there is no extinguishing or losing of anything, which fits a Daoist perspective more than early Indian Buddhism. Hopefully the talks continue to show that, to the extent I can. I do think you are right to say it is almost redundant to say that Chinese culture would bring Daoist influence as well.

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