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A Daoist story at Lambeth

Dr He Xiaoxin of ARC at Lambeth 2005:

I would like to tell a little story about a Daoist philosopher called Chuang Tzu.

Chuang Tzu’s wife had just died. His friend came to console him but found Chuang Tzu sitting, bashing a tub and singing loudly.

“This isn’t right,” his friend said. “You should be crying.”

"No I shouldn’t!", Chuang Tzu answered. "When she first died I cried like everyone else. But I then thought back to her birth, and to the time before that. And I thought about how she was given her life through the wonderful mystery of change. Her body went through a transformation and she was born. Now there is another transformation and she is dead. She is like the four seasons in the way that spring, summer, autumn and winter follow each other. If I cried then it would seem like I could not understand the ways of destiny. That’s why I stopped."


"If all things grow well, then a society is affluent. If they don’t, then the kingdom is in decline. This view should encourage both governments and people to take good care of nature."
As you know, Daoism went through very hard times during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Many temples were demolished, many priests killed, and some of the teachings were lost. We cannot understand the ways of destiny, or why this happened, we only know that it did, and we will move on, because we have to.

That is the major reason that ARC and WWF are creating the Taibaishan Black River Daoism and Ecology Centre on the site of one of the destroyed monasteries. This will be China’s first religious ecology centre. But more than that, we hope it will be a way that China will use the Daoist message to give it strength in making wise decisions about its future.

Daoists believe that the origin of creation is a pathway – a pathway which we cannot know or understand, but which we can see happening. This idea has always inspired a love of nature in Daoism. If all things grow well, then a society is affluent. If they don’t, then the kingdom is in decline. This view should encourage both governments and people to take good care of nature.



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Basic teachings of Daoism
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