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April 25, 2015


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The photograph looks like someone from a lunatic asylum.

What exactly is Daoisit enlightenment, Brian? It may be no more than just a wild story with no basis in fact, but what exactly is the story?

Daoism is something I know little enough about. Mostly what I’ve read in your blog here.

I do know by now, I think, what enlightenment is supposed to be, per most major traditions. At least the outline of it. Also the means by which one seeks such enlightenment per these traditions. At least the outline of such means. (And I’m just talking about the “narratives” that those traditions follow, without going right now into the validity of such narratives.)

You’ve studied Daoism and written about it extensively enough, but as far as I remember you’ve never actually spelt this part of it clearly. Could you tell us now? (a) What exactly (in concrete terms) is Daoist enlightenment? (b) How exactly does one attain to it? And (c) What is the point of it, why do it?

[You know, like Catholic Christian salvation is getting awoken after a long sleep by Jesus and his friends, and taken up to his palace in the skies, there to have the mother of all holidays. In perpetuity. And how you do this is by believing in Jesus, through “works” (like the Jesuits, for example), by kowtowing to the Church and its clergy, by paying a tenth of your income to fund the Pope’s palace, et cetera. And why you do it, is because lolling on a cloud in heaven and listening to angels playing the lute is in every way preferable to the alternative, which is being roasted by the devil and being subjected to other similar torture. Like Theravadin Buddhist Nirvana is total cessation : and such cessation does not happen automatically on death, but is to be consciously sought by the eight-fold path and by methodically removing all desire and all identification with the self through a fairly structured process of meditation, et cetera. And why you do it, is because this is the only way to escape suffering that otherwise has no end. Even Zen, vague though it is, shares that definition of Nirvana, and that basic rationale, and also does have a fairly structured means (non-processes/non-practices like Zazen and Koans, as well as the occasional blow to the head, et cetera) of approaching it. What about Taoism?]

Appreciative Reader, I responded to your comment with a blog post:


This should answer all questions about Taoist enlightenment for all time. But, of course, it won't.

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