I’m not a religious man. Christianity taught me early on that religion is just another bullshit way to control people, and while I still lean more agnostic than straight atheist (if only in acknowledgement of the finite nature of human understanding of existence and the cosmos), I would not join a formal religion for any reason.
That said, I’m drawn to certain aspects of religious theory. I like Jesus teaching people to be nice. I like the Buddha’s sense of presence. I admire the hopefulness of prayer and the stillness of meditation.
And I love the Tao. If anything, I would consider myself an informal Taoist. I’m certainly no scholar, but I do my best to understand.
I generally work off the Stephen Mitchell or Ursula K. Leguin translations. I try to read a passage each day, to remind me of the closeness the Tao tends to hew to my own beliefs about what life is and could be.
I am going to attempt to explain my attachment to each stanza going forward, not all at once, but in pieces. I will undoubtedly anger some Taoist scholars who will scoff at my understanding, but this is about a personal understanding and connection. If it helps someone else, who gives a shit if some academic somewhere disagrees with the interpretation?
Target: 1100 words
Written: 325 words, novella: The Mungk