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.


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The Crow said...

Hey nice picture!
Is that a Trent class lifeboat?
Now all you need is to dig up a Watson class, and my happiness will be complete.
I so nearly bought a retired Watson 42.

It's hats-off boys, to the RNLI.

JM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JM said...

I came to this post rather late, but better late than never. :-D.

Tao The Pathless Path is one of the early great books on philosophical taoism, of which until very recently there were very few. By "early," I mean anything prior to 2000. Prior to that date, most books on taoism were really about religious taoism.

Osho himself was never the ideal incarnation of a religious teacher, but many times, he warned his students not to regard him as a paragon of perfection. Whatever his flaws, he was a great teacher of, among other things, philosophical taoism, which not many people taught in great depth. There were the pithy enigmatic aphorisms of Lao Tzu that entered popular culture as instructions or advice for living, but Osho taught taoism holistically, mining it for its deep implications as to the nature of reality and the nature of people in that reality, toe-tapping at the doorway of metaphysics, for which he expressed an aversion to crossing.

He was not anti-christian as much as he was against the direction of modern christian practice. Osho admired and taught Jesus. There are volumes of his Jesus lectures.

For students of philosophical taoism (something of a misnomer, as Russell Kirkland says, because philosophical taoists can have their own metaphysical beliefs based in tao), Osho's teachings are nothing less than monumental given the little scholarship (in English at least) that exists. There are collections of his lectures on the Lao Tzu, the Chuang Tzu and the Lieh Tzu (Tao The Pathless Path is a selection of his Lieh Tzu lectures, I believe). All are worth reading.

JM said...

In my last post, I said that Osho was never the ideal incarnation of a religious teacher. I should add that as he followed a taoist stream and embraced life as it came, he was as perfect a religious teacher as he could be under tao. If things seemed to spiral out of control at the end of his life, it could be because he lost his balance in the strong and turbulent currents in which he flowed. But if he had not braved those currents and drew to him the legions of students and followers, his teachings might have been lost, might never have been collected.