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« Zhuangzi consoles Democrats on Republican control of the US House of Representatives | Main | Confucian-Manqué »

November 10, 2010

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I think a Taoist "success" story like this invites the question whether such a person would be just as content were he to lose it all in one fell swoop. If not, it doesn't seem genuine.

That occurred to me too! But it was also interesting to see the reporter describing him as "boasting that he would spend any amount of money on Taoism" (paraphrase). If Zhu simply means that the money he has made means so little to him that we will happily give it all to promoting Taoism, it's not really a boast, I don't think.

It's natural to be suspicious of a very rich man who professes to be a dedicated Taoist, but perhaps Zhu is just following his natural skill as a businessman rather than being driven by greed.

Shouldn't there be a distinction made between the Daoism of Zhuangzi and Lao Zi (and for that matter, between the thought of Zhuangzi and Laozi) and those of later popular religions, frequently modeled on Buddhist lines?

Actually, in the West, there seems to be a dearth of information or rather knowledge about Daoism as a popular religion. From a cursory glance it seems to be a partial knock-off of Buddhism, although I'm personally peeved that they took out the part where Daoist nuns (wasn't there a 16-year-old celebrity in the Tang dynasty?) are expected to sleep around in order to absorb men's Yang energy...

@Inst

yes I was surprised that the writer claimed that the old distinctions between philosophical and religious Taoism are evaporating... I don't what's happening on the ground in China though. I think philosophical Taoism will continue to quietly thrive in the West though.

I think the problem with 'religious versus philosophical' is evidenced here by Manul Im's point: religious Daoism is happy to get results, while Im's reading of Zhuangzi suggest genuine Daoism, or at least a Zhuangzi-ian reading of Daoism, cultivates equanimity. Well, I doubt the 'daoist' in this story is like the latter. Most self-professed Daoists I meet in China or Taiwan do believe in 'do nothing/be natural'; however, they also think that prosperity or advantageous results will happen as a consequence. In this their Daoism is to Zhuangzi what Soka Gakai International is to Zen.

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