Welcome to The Path of Water

This site is dedicated to exploring the Tao and Philosophical Taoism; and how it relates to everyday modern life in the 21st Century. It also includes posts relating to how I feel Taoism can provide insights for dealing with the problems of everyday living.

The process of writing out my thoughts helps me to explore what I believe and why, so these posts will probably develop over time. I hope that you'll find this site interesting and, for those of you new to the Tao and Taoism, I hope that it can provide you with a first step on the path to a rich spiritual life. If you want to post comments relating to a post or the site as a whole I'd be grateful as all feedback is helpful.

Enjoy your visit - In Tao - Woody

Who would follow the Way must go beyond words.
Who would know the world must go beyond names. *

No man ever steps in the same river twice,
for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. **

Monday, 28 September 2009

Osho - Tao: The Pathless Path

Following a recommendation on the New Taoist Community forum I bought a copy of Osho's book Tao: The Pathless Path My understanding is that the book has been created by collecting together the transcripts of several talks given by him.

The book takes several of the parables of Lieh-tzu - the third of the trio of great Taoist philosophers alongside Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu. Osho then discusses the meaning of the parable and explores its subtleties. At the end of the book is a short section addressing some particular questions - such as the relationship between the Tao, Confucianism and Science.

Generally I've been really impressed with this book so far. Some of the flow is a bit weird, but I believe that's probably because it's a transcript of a talk rather than a collection of reasoned essays. Some of the examples Osho gives, particularly in relation to Christianity, I find of little worth - but possibly they were included as part of tailoring the talks for a particular audience. Opinions on Osho seem to vary but I think this book is well worth a read, particularly if, like me, you've only had very limited exposure to the writings of Lieh-tzu.

Friday, 18 September 2009


It's surprisingly easy to go off track when trying to pursue a Taoist life. Recently I've found that I've veered off into one of the most common traps that Taoists face - engaging in Taoism as an intellectual exercise rather than living it. My post "Difficult questions" is a good example of this.

Chapter 56 of the Tao Te Ching reads...

Those who know don't talk.
Those who talk don't know.

Close your mouth,
block off your senses,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.

Be like the Tao.
It can't be approached or withdrawn from,
benefited or harmed,
honored or brought into disgrace.
It gives itself up continually.
That is why it endures.

TTC Ch. 56 (12)

...this is not just a warning about those who would preach their idea of the Tao, it is also a guide towards finding the Tao for yourself - and yes I do appreciate the irony of me writing about this!

Personally I've found I've been spending more time engaging in discussion about the implications and meanings of Taoism rather than just living it. It's strange how it creeps up on you - you think you're cruising in the zone only to suddenly realise that you left it a long time ago. Nobody said that it was supposed to be easy but it's surprising how quickly complacency can set in.

One of my favourite writers, William Martin, in his book "A path and a practice: Using Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching as a guide to an awakened spiritual life" sums the approach up really neatly with the question....

Are you living right now,
or are you thinking about living?

Monday, 7 September 2009

Difficult questions - part 2

After a lot of struggling in an attempt to answer the question I posed in "Difficult questions" I have come to a realisation...

I have been struggling to reach an answer to the question because I've asked the question.

I need to re-evaluate my whole approach to Taoism over the last few years.