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« Winter Solstice - reprise | Main | Is the US "Surge" in Iraq Working? Sun Tzu would not be impressed »

December 24, 2007

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I think Daoists would celebrate Christmas, because Christmas is a Pagan holiday. In ancient times, many Pagan holidays marked the transitions of time, so that people could live in harmony with nature. This is certainly a Daoist ideal.

Furthermore, Daoism promotes idyllic local customs. Christmas is a local custom. For most people, the theological implications are irrelevant. (In fact, many "real" Christians don't celebrate Christmas, because it is a custom without biblical basis.)

Lastly, the word God is very ambiguous. Many Pagan writers used the word God (or its Greek and Roman equivalents) very much as Confucians and Daoists used the word Dao.

But there is nothing wrong with personalising the vision of Dao. Many Neo-Daoists understand Dao as a mere philosophical concept. This is because they base their interpretation of the Daodejing upon Wang Bi's commentary. But earlier commentaries, such as Heshanggong and Laozi Xiang'er Zhu, indicate that Daodejing was surviving remnant of an ancient mystery tradition. This mystery tradition has similarities with mystery traditions worldwide, including references to the divine feminine (Xuanpin).

Many rationalists viewed philosophy as something opposed to religion, spirituality, and mysticism. Therefore, they said that Heshanggong and Laozi Xiang'er Zhu are debased interpretations. But archeological evidences, as well as a public more and more receptive to ancient ideas, increasingly vindicate Heshanggong and Laozi Xiang'er Zhu.

But really archeological evidences are irrelevant. A good teaching is like a seed. The more you pay attention to it, the more it flourishes. When it flourishes, it has many flowers. Each flower is as beautiful as the rest. We should not say, Daodejing affirms such and such, but it denies such and such. Instead, we should say, go read the Daodejing and see if it inspires you.

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