Oriental Spiritual Cotton Candy

Oriental Spiritual Cotton Candy

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Increase your appreciation for the down-to-Earth-ness of the Old and New Testaments by studying Far Eastern esoteric, religious texts like the Dao De Jing! Some sentences from it sound so philosophically yummy. But when you try to analyze their actual meaning, you’ll find that all its sugary goodness is void of any meaningful nutrition. But it sure sounds “smart”! As always, the figuratively obese people of the West rush off to buy it to satisfy their sweet tooth. As with Buddhism, they usually only eat what they want and throw the rest away.

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4 thoughts on “Oriental Spiritual Cotton Candy

    • Here’s the first half of the first sentence from of few of the hundreds of translations:

      “A Tao that can be tao-ed is not lasting Tao.” – P.J. Maclagan (1898)

      “The way that may be traversed is not the Eternal WAY.” – T.W. Kingsmill (1899) (emphasis in original)

      “The Providence which could be indicated by words would not be an all-embracing Providence…” – E.H. Parker (1903)

      “The Tao that is the subject of discussion is not the true Tao.” – Walter Gorn Old (1904) (Kinda defeats having a book on it, no?)

      “The Principle that can be enunciated is not the one that always was.” – Léon Wieger (1913) / Derek Bryce (1999)

      “The Reason that can be reasoned is not the eternal Reason.” – D.T. Suzuki and Paul Carus (1913)

      “God (the great everlasting infinite First Cause from whom all things in heaven and earth proceed) can neither be defined nor named.” – G.G. Alexander (1895) (Note the extensive parenthetical insert. That’s pretty bad translating tactics, no?)

      “The way that can be defined to death is not the Way to Life.” – Benjamin Hoff (1981)

      Rhetorical question: So is the “dao” a principle, a path, a [g]od, reason, a way, a (fill in the blank)?

      Now, imagine enduring that for several chapters. That is, essentially, the Dao De Jing. Far Eastern religions in general seem to delight in the mysterious and the incomprehensible. In fact, some, like Zen Buddhism, appear to delight in it.

      By the way, I own several copies of it in English and Chinese. One Chinese translator, in his unintentional ignorance or pious zeal, tries to claim that the “dao” is “Christ”, apparently not knowing that the claim would be disputed by the very first verse of the Dao De Jing when compared with chapter 1 of the Gospel of John.

      Just some thoughts there for everyone’s consideration…

      Joshua

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  1. I had a friend recommend it to me one day. He brought it into work so I read it on my break. The thing is that it is self-referentially contradictory.. Furthermore, there is no reason to follow “the way” whatsoever.

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