For many Westerners Taoism has seemed an elusive and in- scrutable path, best exemplified by the oracular mysteries of the I-Ching and the wisdom of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tsu, the nature philosophers of “The Way”. For those interested in the Oriental healing or martial arts there are disciplines as Macrobiotics or Tai Chi Chuan, but the nature of this relationship is far from clear. To suggest a connection between these and other practices and anesoteric core of Taoism is to confuse matters even further. In fact, the concept of an esoteric or inner core of Taoism is itself a new idea for New Age audiences. What sense are we to make of anesoteric foundation for a tradition that already seems so difficult to comprehend, especially in its practical ramifications? By contrast, we are reasonably comfortable with the major concepts and methods of the various Indian meditation and yoga systems which began to find a place in our society in the 1920’s. We have also come to appreciate the powerful systems of Buddhist thought and practice, especially Zen and Tibetan Buddhism which began to emerge into popular consciousness in the 1960’s. But what about Taoism? What do we really know about this tradition other than a few fragments of the wisdom of the I-Ching, the TaoTeh Ching and a few other pieces of disconnected fragments of practical knowledge contained in the systems of Chinese medicine and martial arts?


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