Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spotlight on Pure Mountain Tao

One of the real challenges to authoring a blog that focuses on philosophic themes -- Taoist or otherwise -- is to keep the posts fresh. There are only a certain number of fundamental topics out there and so, if the blog exhibits any longevity, the main concepts and ideas will be discussed again and again and again.

Roshi Alan Hogan of Pure Mountain Tao is a master at utilizing different metaphors and illustrations to bring to life the subjects that human beings have discussed and debated for thousands of years. It's one of my favorite Taoist blogs and he inspires me daily.

One of the things I'd like to draw your attention to his is creative One Sentence TTC. As he explains in the introduction,
I wrote the one sentence Tao Te Ching to help beginners understand and memorize the TTC much easier. It is not meant as a complete translation, but I believe it gives the main idea of each of the 81 verses.
For me, I think he well captures the essence of the Tao Te Ching. It really does provide a good starting point, both for the novice and those of us who've read over the TTC several times. If nothing else, it provides tremendous food for thought!

To give you an idea of the kind of posts you will find on Pure Mountain Tao on any given day, I offer the following examples.
I do quite a bit of travel up and down Interstate 95 and around this time of the year you begin to see many people pulling trailers with motorcycles on them heading south. This is the time of the year when Bike Week takes place in Daytona Beach, Florida. A gathering of bikers there to celebrate bikes, party, and take in the warm sun. I was wondering how many of these faux bikers come to Daytona. If you were really a biker, would you not just ride your bike down to Florida? Instead people load up a trailer and often pull it behind a large, comfortable RV. Once here, I surmise that they roll the bikes off of the trailers and then portray themselves as being real bikers. The world is full of such people wearing masks, pretending to be one thing when they are really another. Seek to be genuine. Do not just read and talk about the Tao, live it, even if it means being seen as living on a different plane. One who understands the Tao is embraces the simple so much so, that they are seen as being complicated. Profound understanding of greatness generates misunderstanding by the masses. Ride your bike of Tao, do not pull it on a trailer.

Bridge Over Flowing Water
Those who have wisdom know when to get out of the way, know when to act, know when to fade into the shadows, know when to come out into the sunlight. The Tao rains, snows, and shines. All is a result of being natural and not being contrived. Let the days go by gently like flowing water. Stand on the bridge watching the wonders of the Tao. The Way is a bridge which neither the coming of death or the passage of time can destroy.

Various Roads
We should strive for nothing nor strive to reach anyplace including the Tao. Striving for anything including the Tao can actually become a hindrance in becoming one with the way. Let the Tao within you flow out naturally and without undue force. Once we find the way, do not be alarmed if you lose the way. Remember that your way is the Tao and you can always find it again. Even though we may travel various roads and find ourselves in strange lands, the Tao never goes anywhere.

Economic Times
It is all too common an occurrence to hear bad news fronted by the phrase, “In today’s tough economic times”, or “Due to the economic conditions that exist…” This is true in some cases but I wonder how many times it is simply a convenient excuse to fire people from jobs, refuse to spend money that needs to be spent, or increase the profits of a company or a combination of the three. We may find ourselves making the same kind of ‘convenient‘ statements. “I meant to be mindful but….”…”I try to follow the Tao, however…” or some other excuse. Sometimes a condition becomes a barrier whether it truly is or not. It may be real or artificial. If the front door is locked, maybe the back door or a window is not. Go around and check. Do not just stand on the porch trying to justify not getting in the house.
I hope these four examples have whetted your appetite for more. If you're looking for daily inspiration, this blog is a great place to start.

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

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