Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Moment of Tao

In Zen Buddhism, as I understand it, there are certain moments -- moments of Zen -- when things become clearer. These moments tend to occur when we least expect them. In Christianity, such moments often are referred to as epiphanies.

This got me to thinking what would be a comparable experience for a Taoist -- a moment of Tao? I thought I would relate to you my understanding of the concept through a little story.

The sage and his student had been walking in silence for some time when the student asked, "Master, it is said that a person should learn to master a craft or a discipline. If a person is ever mindful and practices his/her craft diligently, could we say that person was embracing a moment of Tao?"

"Yes," the sage said. "That would certainly be a moment of Tao."

They walked in silence again. After awhile, the student asked, "Master, it is said that the movements of Tai Chi Chuan help to bring a person into a state of mental clarity, calmness and balance. If a person practices Tai Chi Chuan, could we say that person was embracing a moment of Tao?"

The sage nodded. "That would certainly be a moment of Tao."

They walked several miles more saying nothing. The student then asked, "Master, they say that meditation is a way to center oneself and to be like an open vessel to receive the mystery of Tao. If a person meditates, could we say that person was embracing a moment of Tao?"

"Yes," the sage said. "That too would certainly be a moment of Tao."

The student became excited. "Oh thank you, Master. I think I now understand all things. If I work at my discipline diligently, practice Tai Chi Chuan, and meditate frequently, then I will always be in a moment of Tao."

The sage stopped and looked at his student. "You do not understand at all. While all the things you mentioned certainly are moments of Tao, the list is not exhaustive."

"What other activities should I commit to?" the befuddled student asked.

"Brush your teeth every day," replied the sage.

Even more befuddled, the student asked, "Brushing my teeth will bring me closer to Tao?"

"Yes, brushing your teeth or washing dishes will be a moment of Tao," the sage replied. "In fact, everything we do every second of the day is a moment of Tao because Tao is part of us and we are part of Tao."

2 comments:

  1. Yup. It's much more inclusive than zen...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tao is not to be learned or practiced. Tao is lived.

    Tao is not "part" of us. We are not "part" of Tao.

    Tao is all.

    ReplyDelete

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