Monday, December 31, 2012

The Church of Zhuangzi

Scott Bradley


The second church of which I am a member is the Church of Zhuangzi. If the Church of Pernicious Oneness was pure irony (and thus almost entirely positive), this church might be described as ironic with a sardonic twist. It speaks to the ever-present danger of taking all this blabber about Zhuangzi and his (and my) philosophy too seriously. I say I am a member, but I am the sole member, and one who continually excommunicates himself.

It is true that Zhuangzi presents a dao, and that this dao can be studied, discussed and followed. But in the end, it is a dao without substance, without anything to believe in. If we begin to cling to some truth we believe ourselves to have discovered therein, we have left his dao and begun a church. What Zhuangzi truly offers is an invitation to explore the possibilities of human experience "beyond the boundaries" that we have imposed upon ourselves. And this can only be a very personal journey. Zhuangzi points to “the vast wilds of open nowhere”, and we leave him behind with our very first step.

I had a teacher who claimed to have been walking with Robert Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) in Greenwich Village and, seeing a club advertising an open-mike, nudged him to give it a try. Zhuangzi is that teacher; we are the potential Dylan. Clearly, it is not he who nudges, but he who responds to that nudge, that is the party responsible for whatever 'success' that follows.

And this brings us to The Church of Me.

You can check out Scott's writings on Zhuangzi here.

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