Year of the Fire Rooster

Around this time last year I wrote a post welcoming the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Fire Monkey, in which I considered what might lie ahead according to the Daoist Astrological traditions of ancient China.

It proved to be prescient in many ways – and also ended up being one of the most popular posts of the whole year! For a general introduction to Chinese astrology before reading on, it is worth looking back.

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“The Lunar Tao”

Regular readers will have seen that I sometimes quote from the contemporary Daoist (Taoist) author Deng Ming-Dao, and as we rapidly approach the Chinese New Year it gives me pleasure to recommend his most recent book “The Lunar Tao”, published by Harper-Collins in 2013.

According to the publishers:

“The lunar calendar is a main pillar of Chinese culture, encompassing many stories and festivals. Deng Ming-Dao looks to the lunar calendar and highlights where these festivals and stories coincide with Taoism, giving readers a renewed and original way into this ancient philosophy.

Each day of the lunar year is represented with a reading meditation, original translations, illustrations and illuminating facts about festivals and traditions, providing readers with the context that gives Taoism such depth and resonance.”

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3 Basic Lifestyle Questions

Lifestyle Reflection

My battered copy of Deng Ming-Dao’s classic ‘365 Tao Daily Mediations’ has been a remarkable gift over the years, but even now I find myself reading passages as if they are brand new.

I was recently struck by the personal relevance of its very simple, practical advice in the following passage, which deals with the reasons we sometimes feel “out of sorts”.

From a Daoist (Taoist) perspective this has to do with being disconnected from “Dao” – which we might take in this instance to mean our basic path, or the substance of our lives.

I thought it worth sharing, so here’s the passage:

Continue reading 3 Basic Lifestyle Questions

Year of the Fire Monkey

The Chinese New Year officially starts on February 8th 2016, marking the start of the Year of the Fire Monkey. So what is the background to this ancient tradition, and what (if anything) might it mean for the year ahead?

Continue reading Year of the Fire Monkey

Dao: a meditation

What is Dao?”

It’s a question that has preoccupied people for millennia. And it is right that we should address it again at regular intervals.

As we enter a new month, and as autumn takes hold in the northern hemisphere and spring returns to the southern, what better time to consider again the eternal question?

Continue reading Dao: a meditation

Happiness

“Humanity grows more and more intelligent, yet there is clearly more trouble and less happiness daily.
How can this be so?
It is because intelligence is not the same thing as wisdom.”

Lao Tzu: Hua Hu Ching
translated Brian Walker

The big question for us all is this: what do we do with our knowledge?

Do we accumulate knowledge simply to “fight back”, to be “better” and more “successful” than the next person?

Or does our own self-improvement and development go hand in hand with generosity towards other people?

There are many possible responses, but it’s important to recognise the priority of wisdom over knowledge, because this leads to happiness and peace.