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Friday, June 19, 2009
Relax, You're Already Home
Fortunately Dr. Barnett toned it down a bit after the introduction. Just a bit though, you have to be prepared for a bit of didactic content if you make your way through this book. Dr. Barnett seems to have a lot of musts but I seem to think that the Tao doesn't.
So yes I would recommend this book it was a nice education into Taoism and into Chinese life and I'm glad that I read it.
But anyway, this was a good peek into Chinese life and Taoist philosophy/religion for me. I had always rejected the religious aspects of Taoism, I'm not really into pantheons of multiple heavenly hosts myself and I'm a long way from shamanism. Dr. Barnett did a great job explaining the reasons for the traditions and ways to understand them. I'm not as much of an objector now. For example "ancestor worship", it's not as much worship as it is showing respect for people that have come before you, and the worship part is more about trying to harness the energy of those that have come before you. We have similar traditions here in the US with for example President's day. I don't see any harm in honoring George Washington and hoping that I can show the same level of humility, restraint, and ability to give up power when it could become corrupting. I guess I see the wisdom in honoring your ancestors a little more and it actually helped me to want to connect with my ancestry a bit more.
I also liked the chapters on traditions like letting things go in the new year and settling past business. I think I'll make that a tradition as well. I'm within striking distance of being out of debt (except for my mortgage dammit), so it would be nice to get a new start by the time Chinese New Year rolls around in a few months.