I was reminded of Chapter 22 of the Chuang-Tzu. It tells the story of the unfortunately named man, Knowledge, who travelled north in search of the Tao. He didn't find the Tao. What he found was another unfortunately man named Do-Nothing Say-Nothing. So Knowledge travelled South. But again, all he found was a man with an odd name, this time it was All-In-Extremes. So Knowledge tracked down the Yellow Emperor and complained. The Yellow Emperor set him straight, telling him that the Tao can not be searched for. It only appears through non-doing.
Today, of course, we all know about the Tao. But 2500 years ago, when Chuang-Tzu was kicking around, this was all relatively fresh information.
So there was a guy, Tung Kuo Tzu, who asked Chuang-Tzu, "What you call Tao, where is it?". You know? That's a fair question. I want to know about this amazing thing called the Tao. Where is it? Show me.
Chuang-Tzu said, "There is nowhere where it is not."
But Tung Kuo Tzu wanted specifics. None of this new age spiritual crap. Give me an actual example where I can find the Tao.
So Chuang-Tzu said, "It is in the ant."
Now, if I were Tung Kuo Tzu, I'd probably leave it there. It's in ants. Fine. I'll go check out some ants and observe the Tao. But I'm not as smart as Master Tung Kuo. So he wanted an example of the Tao's presence in things even lower than ants.
Chuang-Tzu obliged. "It is in a tare". Tare is a weed that kills wheat. It's also mentioned in the Christian bible.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted tare among the wheat.
-- Matthew 13:24-25
So pretty good. The Tao can even be found in a parasitic plant that destroys a nourishing harvest crop. But Tung Kuo Tzu wanted an even lower example.
Chuang-Tzu said, "It is in a potsherd". A potsherd is a piece of broken pottery. Also mentioned in the Christian bible.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death
-- Psalms 22:14-15
Bowel reference as well. Sorry for the spoiler.
Because you see, Tung Kuo Tzu was still discontent. He was told that the Tao was everywhere. Can this truly be so? How can something be everywhere? So he wanted an example of where the Tao can be found that's even lower than the lowliest of broken earthenware.
So Chuang-Tzu went full on. "It is in ordure". Ordure is known by many names but for these purposes, we can call it faeces.
Tung Kuo Tzu had nothing left to say. If the Tao is even in poo, it truly must be everywhere. Nothing lower than poop.
Then Chuang-Tzu goes on about how the very question is faulty and goes back to how the Tao is formless and our finite intellect can not hope to ever comprend the infinite Tao. The Tao can only be experienced through non-doing.
The great thing about the Tao is that nobody cares if you believe in its existence or not. More than that, if everybody did believe in the Tao, it would not be the Tao that they were talking about. It would be something else. The true Tao will never be believed by everyone. "Inferior people" (a oommon and accurate phrase in Taoist literature) will never believe in the Tao. And that's the way it has to be.
This is why there aren't Taoists knocking on your door trying to convert you. Where are all the Taoist missionaries? The true man of the Tao is sitting quietely at home, doing nothing.
Recently, I saw a black man giving the business to those Jehova's witnesses that you see at the train stations. They're sitting out there in front of a display stand with Jehova literature.
So this black guy is loudly explaining his religious beliefs to these Jehova's witnesses. It sounded like Christian stuff. The guy's probably an evangelical Christian. Baptist or something.
And these Jehova's witnesses were just smiling and looking at him like he was a crazy man. They didn't engage at all. They just stood there with this smug expression and thought to themselves, "Look at this crazy man yelling about God in front of a train station."
The irony was totally lost on them. That man was talking about Jesus of Nazareth, a person who we all know existed. Whether or not he did some amazing stuff, it's neither here nor there.
These Jehova's witnesses are out there in front of that train station day after day after day. They can't possibly have jobs. And they're there in their magic underpants trying to get people to join their spirit baby cult.
Any religion that believes that God is married isn't for me. I want a God who's a swinging bachelor. "If you're really good in life, one day you can be a god too and have your own planets and spirit babies". Oh really. Yeah. Who came up with that shit? I'll tell you where that nonsense is expressly disputed: the bible. Which part? All of it.
And these polytheist, bigamist, lunatics have the nerve to call themselves Christian.
So this black guy was trying to set them straight. They weren't having it. Of course, they belive that dark skin is a curse by one or more of their gods and that if you behave really, really good, one day you'll become white.