Below are excerpts from the Abode of the Eternal Tao’s (Solala Towler, publisher of The Empty Vessel Magazine) essay on “What is Taoism?”:

What, Then, Is Taoism?

…a unique and extremely interesting combination of philosophy and religion, incorporating also ‘proto’ science and magic.

Joseph Needham

Taoism represents everything which is spontaneous, imaginative, private, unconventional…

A.C. Graham

A Taoist laughs at social conventions, and eludes or adapts himself to them.

Lieh Tzu

Taoism is not an “ism.” It is also not an ideology, or a New Age movement. It is a living philosophy. It is a way of thinking, a way of looking at life, a way of being-being with change rather than against it. Life is made up of cycles, say the Taoists, cycle upon cycle. The only constant is change. Change is inescapable. We have no control over it. The only thing we have control over is our own responses to the changes life has to offer. For really, what else can we do?

Actually, there’s plenty we can do. Rant and rave, complain, whine, procrastinate, fight back, resist. But to what avail? To resist only weakens us. To the Taoist, resistance is a joke. It is utterly futile and without honor. To resist only makes that which we are resisting stronger. Lao Tzu speaks over and over again of the principle of the soft overcoming the hard, the weak overcoming the strong.

Yield and overcome;

Bend and be straight;

Empty and be full;

Wear out and be new;

Have little and gain.

Later on he says:

The softest thing in the universe

Overcomes the hardest thing in the universe.

–Lao Tzu


To read the entire article, please visit “What is Tao?”

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