My reading fast is over! And I bought myself this to celebrate, which is where I got that painting from for last post BTW.
This is such a good book! It’s like instant favourite book ever. Basically short hagiographies (that means spiritual biographies in English) of weird Taoist folks over a thousand years of Chinese history. You can learn so much about a tradition from the way it talks about itself!
These guys are crazy! But not exactly Avadhoot crazy… it’s just… very Chinese… :) And in that wonderful terse style.
Thought I’d share one with you:
Lu Tong was the madman of Chu called the Carriage Grabber.
When Confucius was going to Chu, the Carriage Grabber passed Confucius saying, “Oh phoenix, oh phoenix, hwo virtue has declined! Those who are gone cannot be admonished, those yet to come can still be pursued. Stop, stop! Those who participate in government now are in peril.”
Confucius alighted, wanting to talk with him, but he ran away, so Confucius didn’t get to talk with him.
Now isn’t he a Cynic in some ways? (Ancient version I mean.) I hear the Cynics had connections with the Pythagoreans too. Of course Cynics in the literature would be less oracular in their pronouncements. :)
But what really lets you know this is China is a part I missed out, it should read:
Lu Tong was the madman of Chu called the Carriage Grabber. He liked nurturing life and would gather and eat radishes, fruits, and turnips. He traveled around to famous mountains, and people saw him for several hundred years.
When Confucius was going to Chu…
Nourishing life (yangsheng)? Visiting mountains? Living for hundreds of years? That can only be a Taoist! A very different way from anything Abrahamic — and so much variety in these characters.