The Tao of Turd

Feb 18, 2018 | Tao du Jour

Trying to explain the ethereal, elusive ubiquity of Tao in a way that makes literal sense is a challenge on a good day.

That the “tao of turd” can render the abstract nature of the ancient Chinese philosophy otherwise known as Taoism so comprehensively concrete is one of life’s greater mysteries. Below features a ket excerpt from Chuang Tzu, a text believed to have been at least partially authored by a man of the same name roughly 2,300 years ago.

“Master Tung Kwo asked Chuang Tzu:

“Show me where the Tao is found.”

Chuang replied:

“There is nowhere it is not to be found.”

The former replied:

“Show me at least some definite place where Tao is found.”

 

“It is in the ant,” said Chuang.

“Is it in some lesser being?”

“It is in the weeds.”

“Can you go further down the scale of things?”

“It is in this piece of tile.”

“Lower?”

“It is in this turd.”

At this, Tung Kwo had nothing more to say.

But Chuang continued: “None of your questions are to the point. They are like questions of inspectors in the market, testing the weight of pigs by prodding them in their thinnest parts.

Why look for Tao by going ‘down the scale of being’ as if that which we call ‘least’ had less of Tao?”

-“Where Is Tao?” as seen in Chuang Tzu (aka Zhuangzi) translated by Thomas Merton

The Tao of Turd

Feb 18, 2018 | Tao du Jour

Trying to explain the ethereal, elusive ubiquity of Tao in a way that makes literal sense is a challenge on a good day.

That the “tao of turd” can render the abstract nature of the ancient Chinese philosophy otherwise known as Taoism so comprehensively concrete is one of life’s greater mysteries. Below features a ket excerpt from Chuang Tzu, a text believed to have been at least partially authored by a man of the same name roughly 2,300 years ago.

“Master Tung Kwo asked Chuang Tzu:

Show me where the Tao is found.

Chuang replied:

“There is nowhere it is not to be found.”

The former replied:

“Show me at least some definite place where Tao is found.”

 

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

“It is in the ant,” said Chuang.

“Is it in some lesser being?”

“It is in the weeds.”

“Can you go further down the scale of things?”

“It is in this piece of tile.”

“Lower?”

“It is in this turd.”

At this, Tung Kwo had nothing more to say.

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

But Chuang continued: “None of your questions are to the point. They are like questions of inspectors in the market, testing the weight of pigs by prodding them in their thinnest parts.

Why look for Tao by going ‘down the scale of being’ as if that which we call ‘least’ had less of Tao?”

-“Where Is Tao?” as seen in Chuang Tzu (aka Zhuangzi) translated by Thomas Merton

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