Asking abou the Dao

Now is the time to ask him something about Taoism, I decided, and I poured out my questions. He looked up at me with his innocent, childish eyes, his smile gentle but, I thought, slightly ironical.

‘Take time, observe and learn,’ he said simply. ‘Words spoken in haste will not stick; a cup of water splashed into a parched field will do it no good. It is only a slow and gentle rain that will saturate the soil and produce life.’ He became silent ready to resume his work.

 His rebuke abashed me. I saw what he meant. He probably thought I was an idle tourist, or worse, a young writer, who wanted to learn something about Taoism in an hour or so, and then write a smart article, boasting of the mysteries revealed to him. Seeing my obvious confusion, the old man relented. His face was all smiles now, but his eyes became thoughtful.

  ‘If you want to learn about the Eternal Tao, do not be casual and in a hurry. Don’t glean too much from too many books, for each book is full of opinions, prejudices and corruptions.

Read only one book and only one—our Old Master’s Taoteking, and then try to understand it, not by juggling the words and meanings, but intuitively, through your heart and spirit. Don’t ask too many questions, but patiently watch what we Taoists do, and perceive the hidden motives of our actions, and not that which is only for display.

Do not be guided so much by your intellect as by faith, love and your heart, which is another name for understanding and compassion. What you need is wisdom, and not knowledge; for if one has wisdom, knowledge will come naturally. Always remember that the Eternal Tao is Infinite Wisdom, Infinite Love and Infinite Simplicity.’ And with this the old man took up his pickaxe and resumed his hoeing of the bush.

From: Peter Goullart. The monastery of Jade Mountain. 1961

More posts on Chinese culture

Jiayuguan Pass – the Great Wall on the Silk Road
Jiayuguan Pass – the Great Wall on the Silk Road

Jiayuguan Pass - the Great Wall on the Silk Road Jiayuguan Pass or Jiayu Pass, as guan means pass in Chinese is one of the most remarkable monuments on the Silk Road and one of its most popular sights. Built at the end of the Great Wall, showing the desolation of the...

Springtime in a Small Town: The best film in China’s history
Springtime in a Small Town: The best film in China’s history

Springtime in a Small Town: The best film in China's history All the rankings made in recent years, place a film, unknown to the general public, as the best film in China. It is called "Springtime in a Small Town" and was directed by Fei Mu in 1948. I had been wanting...

The Character and Function of Music in Chinese Culture
The Character and Function of Music in Chinese Culture

The Character and Function of Music in Chinese Culture In 1946 Bliss Wiant finished his Doctoral dissertation . The subject was “The character and function of Music in Chinese culture.” Some of his reflections are so interesting that I share with readers here some...

History of Dunhuang, crossroads of cultures on the Silk Road
History of Dunhuang, crossroads of cultures on the Silk Road

History of Dunhuang, crossroads of cultures on the Silk Road Dunhuang is one of the most fascinating cities on the Silk Road, although it now appears to be asleep, in the sleep that the improvement of communications in recent centuries has brought to the great...

Kyzil Grottoes – Primitive Buddhist art on the Silk Road
Kyzil Grottoes – Primitive Buddhist art on the Silk Road

The Kyzil Grottoes - Primitive Buddhist art on the Silk Road The Kizil Grottoes are located on the cliffs of Minya Dag Mountain facing the Muzhati River, 7 km southeast of Kizil Township, Baicheng County, and about forty-three kilometers west of present-day Kucha,...

All you need to know about the ox in the Chinese horoscope
All you need to know about the ox in the Chinese horoscope

All you need to know about the ox in the Chinese horoscope The ox is a very beloved animal among the Chinese, despite its size, it is tame and peaceful, often in the villages, it is the youngest children who take it to the field to play, it rarely acquires the fierce...

More posts on China ethnic groups

Life of Milarepa, the hermit poet
Life of Milarepa, the hermit poet

Life of Milarepa, the hermit poet. MiIarepa is one of the most beloved religious leaders of Tibet. His story, full of unique facts, has been told again and again over the centuries, and if the publishers did not warn that this is the autobiography written by the holy...

The first description of the Religion of the Yi
The first description of the Religion of the Yi

The first description of the Religion of the Yi By Father François Louis Crabouillet in 1872. The religion of the Lolos[i] is that of sorcerers: it consists only of conjurations of evil spirits, according to them, the only authors of evil. Without being devout like...

Tibetans, the people who descend from the monkey
Tibetans, the people who descend from the monkey

Tibetans, the people who descend from the monkey According to an ancient myth, the Tibetans originated from the union of an ogress (raksasi) and a monkey. The monkey was sent by Avalokitesvara, Mother Buddha, to sow the seed of Buddhism in these lands. One day, an...

The sung funeral of the Kucong of China
The sung funeral of the Kucong of China

The sung funeral of the Kucong Among the Kucong, one of the peoples who have most persistently maintained their isolation in the mountainous areas on the border of China and Laos, the different stages of the funeral are celebrated through music, which gives the...

The magical world of Yao painting. Jean Pierre Cormerais
The magical world of Yao painting. Jean Pierre Cormerais

The magical world of Yao painting. Jean Pierre Cormerais The Yao ceremonial paintings, the masterworks of the Yao people, nowadays are spread across much of Southeast Asia, increasingly fascinated art lovers worldwide after the apparition of the first paintings in...

The main characteristics of the Yao culture according to W. Eberhard
The main characteristics of the Yao culture according to W. Eberhard

The main characteristics of the Yao culture according to W. Eberhard The main characteristic of this Yao culture was its productive system, namely slash and burnt dry-agriculture in the mountains. The main products were tuberous plants, apparently cultivated...

Pin It on Pinterest