A Taoist Dilemma

Over some cab­bage roll and peach juice, I asked a sage, “Taoism teach­es me to accept every­one and cast aside my purist ways. Yet how can I do this if it’s in my nature to refuse to accept peo­ple’s flaws? I must accept myself as I accept oth­ers”.

He told me, “If you are hap­py with your­self and the deci­sions you make, then there is noth­ing to wor­ry about”.

Then he took my bowl, washed it, and we played Warcraft III for eleven straight hours.


  1. Let me take a shot.
    Balance exists only when there’re oppos­ing forces.
    Only when one reach­es the bal­ance will one tru­ly feel hap­py with one­self. Only when one tru­ly feels hap­py with one­self will one be able to enjoy the ways of oth­ers.

    No ??

  2. That reminds me of a log­i­cal­ly quandry. If Goethe is right and you see the world not as it is, but as you are, then would the corol­lary mean that self-image must be cor­rect. (Poor log­ic I know, but amus­ing)

  3. @Uncle Joe — I agree with your expla­na­tion in most cas­es, but it does­n’t quite apply to mine. Before I found the Way, I tried to change my expec­ta­tion of per­fec­tion from oth­er peo­ple — which came from the same expec­ta­tion of myself — as I believed it was get­ting in the way of my life. It’s only recent­ly I’ve real­ized that I’m a per­fec­tion­ist by nature, and it’s very dif­fi­cult for me to change this. So instead of going against it, I should embrace it, as is part of the Way. However, I used to believe that if I accept this “flaw” in myself, I should accept the flaws in oth­er peo­ple as well. Perhaps not so much a dilem­ma as an effort to not be hyp­o­crit­i­cal — a log­i­cal quandary, as Pearl has said.

    My sage-friend has taught me that it does­n’t mat­ter either way, as long as I’m hap­py with my deci­sions. And I am. I know that I’m bet­ter off alone than with some­one I don’t like, bet­ter off with­out a moth­er than with a moth­er who hurts me. Perhaps it can be said that even with­out this bal­ance of which you speak, I’m con­tent, which is what con­tra­dicts one of the fun­da­men­tal points of your expla­na­tion.

    Your com­ment has made me reflect some more, caus­ing me to real­ize that I do accept the flaws of oth­ers, but only the few whom I love, such as my friends. Only recent­ly (in the last year or two) have I begun to love myself, and per­haps this is why I have start­ed accept­ing my own flaws. There’s enough to talk about here for a whole oth­er entry.

    @Pearl — That’s an inter­est­ing idea. I think of absolute truth com­pared to a rel­a­tive truth, and the fact that they’re incom­pa­ra­ble. Of course, as a Taoist, I don’t believe that biased and lim­it­ed human minds are made to com­pre­hend such quan­daries. :)

  4. war­craft III ?

    WoW is way more enter­tain­ing.…

  5. I agree. And that’s exact­ly the prob­lem. I know that if I played WoW, I would nev­er stop, hence the nev­er start­ing.

  6. Then he took my bowl, washed it, and we played Warcraft III for eleven straight hours. man im switch­ing to tao to play wow im sick of play­ing tuck and ticke with my catholic priest and wow dont hurt my bum

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