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Sensual Lao Tzu

December 10, 2011

This post is a short summary of the more sensual aspects of Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu’s book Wen Tzu, translated by Thomas Cleary.

In the ancient days, we are told humans were guided by the mind of the world through the interaction of their bodies with the environment. Today we only talk to ourselves through our ego, trapped in our heads.

Lao Tzu says “To know what is good for the senses and the body and roam in the harmony of the vital spirit is the roaming of the sage.”

This book contains much of the accumulated Taoist wisdom imparted to Lao Tzu, wisdom that was already ancient in his day. Wen Tzu describes how “society deteriorated with the dawning off deliberate effort, people slowly left their innocent mind in an attempt to understand the world instead of learning from it. Their minds became compartmentalized and segregated, no longer unified.” The Taoist have discovered ways to return to the innocent mind of the body.

“Sages let their mind be and do not think, abandoning intellectualism they return to utter simplicity, they adjust to their real conditions.”

Lao Tzu also discusses the process of listening, which is of utmost importance in building strong relationships: “The general principles for listening are to empty the mind so that I is clear and calm: discount moods and don’t be full of them, have no thoughts and no rumination.”

Pre-dating Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception by 2,500 years, Wen Tzu claims “What is felt in the mind emerges from the body. The attainment of enlightenment may be contacted physically but cannot be sought.” Here the Taoist Master could be mistaken for a phenomenologist!

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2 Comments
  1. Awesome post.

  2. Touche. Great arguments. Keeep up the good effort.

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