The Chicago Tao Cultivators seeks to explore the ironic, absurb and penetratingly insightful gentle "way" of wisdom - and hopefully in the process reach the end of logic and enjoy a really good laugh. Taoism can signify an unknowable and emphemeral cosmology - the "Void" - out of which every experience and being is born. But it can also reflect the smaller notion of understanding one's own nature as captured by the concept of "the uncarved block." Seemingly both simple and enigmatic, the writings point to a commonsense appreciation of the here and now - with no attempt to make oneself useful (or useless); but rather embodying a spirit that abandons struggle and intentioned design. The two main works explored are the Tao te Ching and the Chuang Tzu. Yet, the group is opened to any ideas that touch on the essence of the writings.
Tao (pronounced "dao") means literally "the path" or "the way." It is a universal principle that underlies everything from the creation of galaxies to the interaction of human beings. The workings of Tao are vast and often beyond human logic. In order to understand Tao, reasoning alone will not suffice. One must also apply intuition.
Taoism tends to be roughly divided into two broad categories: philosophical taosim and religious taoism. Our group is concerned mainly with the philosophical. Religious taoism tends toward practices involving the augmenting of longeivity and increasing ones hopes for immortality. In that regard it seems to violate the concepts of uselessness that philosophical taoism appears to embody/eschew. Still, we are interested in anything that increases our understanding and appreciation of the tradition. The irony contained within the writings is enough to inspire one to keep returning for more.
In our study of Tao, our source material is the Tao Ta Ching (pronounced "Dao De Jing" by the ancient sage Laozi, a.k.a Lao Tzu. There are thousands of translations of the Tao Te Ching available but the main work we will be using is the work of Derek Lin. He is the author of the Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, The Tao of Daily Life, The Tao of Success, and The Tao of Joy Everyday: 365 Days of Tao Living.