The practical Taoism
What use is Taoism? Many people will be inclined to say, “Why should we take Taoism so seriously which has merely described the opinions and the concept, held by a number of Taoist in the past? No doubt this has some interest, like a history of fairy, witchcraft or astrology, but it isn’t much use, particularly at the troubled present moment.” There are a great many reasons for studying what Taoist have said in the past. One is that we cannot separate the history of Taoism from that of humanity. Taoism is largely discussion about matters on which few ancient Taoist masters are quite certain, and majority of the world hold opposite opinions. As knowledge increases, the sciences get greatly developed. The study of Taoism should make our own ideas flexible. We are all of us apt to take certain general ideas for granted, and call them common senses. We should learn that Taoist have held quite different ideas and that our own have started as very original guesses of Taoism. But the Taoism is really a vital key in the process of the survival of the fittest. A scientist of modern day is apt to think that all the problems of human today we confronted will ultimately be solved by science. I think in a Taoist view of point to say this is not true for a great many of the questions on which scientists still struggle at. For example human deadly diseases still perplex us across the whole world while the machinery already reaches an unprecedented level of progress. There will still be too many fields of which they don’t know, namely the future. But from now on we have got to prepare for the future, and we cannot do so rationally without some Taoist guidance. Some people say we have only got to do the duties revealed in the past, and laid down by religion, and God will look after future. Some others say that the course of future is certain, whatever efforts we may make. Taoist believes that the future depends on ourselves, even though we are part of the historical process. This comprehension certainly does inspire people to very great achievements. Whether it is true or not (and I think it is absolutely true) it is a powerful guide to action. We need Taoism, then, to help us to tackle the future. Agnosticism easily becomes an excuse for laziness and conservatism. Whether we adopt Taoism or any other believes, we cannot understand it without knowing something of how it developed. That is why the knowledge of the history of Taoism is an important to modern people, even during this well developed science new age.
By © Master Dongyang