Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Better Than Religion II

According to Ninian Smart, the member of the Taoist Trinity (the Three Pure Beings) who controls yin and yang was Tao Chun. (1) I think that this image represents the Three with the Jade Emperor between Tao Chun and the deified Lao Tzu, this last being the mythical founder of Taoist philosophy though not of Taoist religion, although, as agreed in "Better Than Religion," religious stories and beliefs present philosophical ideas, in this case the interdependence of and interaction between opposites, in popular forms.

Since Tao Chun is subordinate to an Emperor, it is easier to equate him with Hegelian than with Marxist dialectics although, again, since all things have their ultimate origin from the Jade Emperor who is explicitly a projection of the Chinese Emperor, thus irrelevant to any society without an Emperor, it is easy to see the Three as personifications of impersonal realities:

the Emperor is matter;
Tao Chun is interaction;
Lao Tzu is wisdom in a human being, not in a deity although, mythologically, he is deified.

Interactions from ancient times transmit practical philosophies:

Jainism + ancient Indian materialism = Buddhism.
Buddhism + Taoism = Ch'an.
Ch'an + Shinto nature mysticism = Zen.

Dialectics + materialism = dialectical materialism.
Economics + socialism = scientific socialism.
Dialectical materialism + scientific socialism = Marxism.

Zen + Marxism = Zen Marxism?

By "Zen Marxism," I mean only simultaneous practice of Zen meditation and of Marxist politics, not a compromise between philosophical idealism and materialism.

(1) Smart, Ninian, The Religious Experience Of Mankind, London, 1971, p. 231.

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