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About redfarmer

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  1. Alex Anatole on Politics and Social Action

    I don't think it's an opinion some of these activities are necessary. It is much easier to follow the Tao if I am not being oppressed by the government. It is not impossible to follow the Tao, but Anatole himself says the person of the Tao expends energy to remove things blocking them from following the Tao. If I or others are being oppressed, then following the Tao might actually mean removing those obstacles.
  2. Alex Anatole on Politics and Social Action

    You actually misquoted me. I said he all but says this. In "The Truth of Tao", he makes a sharp distinction between "classical Taoists" and "popular Taoists". Popular Taoism would be basically most of what is taught in the west: Qi Gong and Tai Chi divorced from their Taoist contexts, people who claim to be Taoists without going through actual teacher training, etc. He seems to hold a disdain for these popular Taoists and believes that, as with the Buddhists, they are not doing justice to the tradition. He believes that something of value may be going on, but that it's not Taoism.
  3. Alex Anatole on Politics and Social Action

    While what you say is definitely true, I ask in this thread because I want to make sure I'm being fair to the guy. He seems to hold a very exclusivist attitude: the way he's been taught is THE authentic way to be a Taoist. And, while he definitely seems genuinely like the real thing, he all but says he's the only real Taoist teacher in the USA. Not to mention he views on other religions--he basically says American Buddhists are being disrespectful to the Buddhist tradition because they aren't monastic. I like the responses I have gotten though.
  4. Alex Anatole on Politics and Social Action

    I agree it takes wisdom to know when to commit to what action, and I certainly wouldn't advocate being an open social activist in Nazi Germany. But it seems to me that, if you are in such a situation, you can still do what you can. Oskar Schindler and Corrie ten Boom didn't stop the Holocaust, but they impacted individual lives, which is sometimes all we can do. To me, this is more the route of the Tao than what Anatole advocates, especially since neither Schindler or ten Boom sought fame, fortune, or power for their acts. Thanks for this. It does indeed help to see these verses from the Tao Te Ching laid out in such a way. I like your interpretation of wu-wei and, while it does not seem to agree with Anatole's, it seems more in line with these passages.
  5. Hi, all. I've been reading Alex Anatole's book The Truth of Tao. Not knowing much about him other than he supposedly studied under a Chinese master, I was excited to read one of his books and, while I like the book overall, I'm finding two major problems I'm having. One is off topic here, an extremely faulty understanding of Buddhism. The other is his interpretation of wu-wei as telling us to basically be passive in society, to not engage in politics or social action as they distract us from the tao. And, while I agree with him that politics and social action can certainly be a hindrance to following the tao, He seems to be advocating that we shouldn't get involved in societal matters at all. In his own words: I question whether this is really the intention of the principle. For instance, isn't it in an African-American or gay person's interests to engage in political and social action to secure rights that would allow them to live the tao more comfortably? Does he mean that, were we to live through a regime as brutal as Nazi Germany, we should simply be passive and not involve ourselves with the indignities being wrought on our neighbors? I'm curious if any of you have read Anatole enough to have an opinion on this matter. I'm finding myself frustrated with this as it seems to preclude any form of social engaged Taoism and it seems to sacrifice compassion, love, and generosity to a selfish narcissism that seems unhealthy. If I'm interpreting him wrong, I welcome correction.
  6. New from Louisville area

    Thanks that is really helpful!
  7. New from Louisville area

    Hi, all! My name is Chris. I'm in my early thirties and a ministerial candidate with the Unitarian Universalists and a practicing Zen Buddhist. I've recently become interested in expanding my breadth of eastern philosophy/religion into Taoism, and love what I have found, so much so that I'm planning on getting back into tai chi (I was a practitioner with the Taoist Tai Chi Society for a short time but I found their teaching methods extremely hard for beginners and I've read they don't practice a traditional tai chi style). I look forward to discussions here! I would love to find a Taoist teacher but the genuine thing seems to be few and far between in the western world. I commute frequently between Chicago, so if anyone is aware of anything there, please be sure to let me know as well!