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Benefit of Practicing Tao/Taoism

"Since the moment I read Tao-te ching, my life had radically changed", wrote someone in a Taoist forum. And he continued: "I became more... and more... etc."

I remembered a short discussion with Master Lu. It was the discussion that every disciple has with a master: "What do I gain from your teaching (on Taoism)? Do I become more... and more... ?"

Superman pictureThe interest of the disciple is always to accumulate an increased force (as compared to others), a flawless sexuality, perfect health, long life and mental ability in order to paralyze his opponents. The emphasis put on aggressiveness towards the out world should not be neglected. Does Taoism, Tao-te ching offer such advantages? Will we be more efficient in our relations with others, more competent, if we study Taoism?

Master Lu once said: "The advantage of following Tao is purely individual. You become more astute according to your ideals and wishes, maybe, more efficient when you set a goal that you want to attain because it makes you happy".

In other words, you gain something but only on a subjective level. The relations with others may be transformed too, but not necessarily in order to place you on a privileged position as opposed to them. You won't get stronger, tougher, by all means; you won't be able to dominate the others. Perhaps, quite the opposite, you will be "softer", as the momentary tendency dictates. But you will try to make peace with yourself, with your inner self!

Nowadays, one can find everywhere on the Net stories of people who are very enthusiastic about their practice and accomplishments. But these accomplishments are illusory. Nobody gets some power or virtue when dealing with others but a continuous adjustment to the challenges of the moment.

Perhaps, in the end, you will attain the imponderable state described by Lieh-tzu when he says: "I was swayed like a straw in the wind. And I don't know if the wind was carrying me, or I was the one carrying the wind".

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Paper by Jhian

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