Who can do Daoism?

I wrote earlier about a lunch I had with He Jing-Han, the Baguaquan Master.  It was a lively lunch.  At one point he challenged me to give a definition of jing.  I probably gave him 12 definitions which he rejected before I got around to the standard medical definition:  An essence which is extracted from fresh air and food which is then distilled and stored through rest, sleep and stillness.  He Jing-Han believes that storing enough jing to do Daoist practices requires extraordinary discipline and solitude.  Thus it is impossible to cultivate Dao in the city with a family and a job.  So he says we should just focus on being good people.

Most Taiwanese have little idea where they would get knowledge about Daoism if they wanted it.  He Jing-Han's sources like writer Nan Huai Jin have put a filter on access to that knowledge.  In effect they appear to stop most people from further inquiry.

Daoism does not have an open door.  But that doesn't mean no one ever comes in or out of the door.  If He would have accepted some of my earlier definitions of Jing he might have accepted my declaration that the story of the Eight Immortals (Ba Xian) is precisely to let people know that there are as many ways to cultivate Dao as there are people.  The point of the Talisman (fu) of the 60 Cloud Fates is the same, that there are many ways to become an immortal.  Everyone has Jing.  Every being's jing is already pure and perfect.  It is reproduced by our healthy habits, and it also reproduces us.  The differentiation of Jing and Qi happens in stillness, it has no special requirements, it requires no effort.

Han Wudi, was known as the Martial Emperor and he lived during the last part of the first half of the Han Dynasty (2000 years ago).  He was said to have a solid gold practice room, and Xiguanmu (The Queen Mother of the West) as his private tutor.  Yet he was unable to cultivate Dao because he was haunted by the ghosts of all the people he had killed in the process of expanding and then consolidating the Empire.

The point?  If you deal with your ghosts you can cultivate Dao.  If you don't, even a solid gold practice room and Xiguanmu as a teacher will not be enough.  Conflating the process of Cultivating Dao with Purification leads to elitism, an Earthly Hierarchy--and there are no true earthly hierarchies.  Hierarchy is a process of imagination--thus the only true hierarchies are of Heaven.

I know this can sound obscure, but it's not that hard to get.  The most basic act of Chinese religion is to make sacrifice.  The sacrifice to Heaven, as a totality, was always performed by the emperor.  Everyone else sacrified to their little piece of heaven, that is, their ancestors and their local gods.  Hierarchies are maintained by acts of subordination and dominance, which are made real through ritual.

Daoist Priests are forbiden by precept to subordinate.  Every other choice will eventually lead to freedom, it just takes longer.  Daoism is a short cut.  Freedom has a physiology.  That physiology is our true nature and it is revealed through the cultivation of weakness, stillness, openness, and lacking pretence.