This is chapter 1 of the book zentao, a lifeway by D. L. Keur with F. W. Lineberry. Please note that this book, each of its sections and chapters, is still under revision until we formally send it to publication under its ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-0692369104 ISBN-10: 0692369104
1 – zentao
Over the years, Forrest and I have received more requests for books about our zentao lifeway than I care to think about. Though I’m a writer and he’s a teacher, each request made us both cringe at the very idea of trying to present, through words and images, the thoughtway and lifeway, never mind the cosmic viewpoint or worldview of zentao. Even were audio-visual utilized, the task is fraught with limitation, and zentao, which isn’t even an –ism, is about unlimiting thought, freeing self, and stepping beyond (or, at least into) infinity — not something easily encapsulated in any available media.
zentao isn’t something one can formalize, pouring it into some concrete format or set of principles and precepts. It isn’t something that can be localized, defined, and isolated. It isn’t a formula. Yet, its understanding, its practice, is fundamental to a true sense of assuredness in being-doing—in living, in embracing all (and none) …in ‘allowing’ and accepting self and others.
Sometimes, it’s easier to talk about what something isn’t, than to talk about what something is:
zentao isn’t a belief.
zentao isn’t a religion.
It is not a theology.
Nor is it a philosophy.
The religious, the theologians, and the philosophers will argue with that, and I can agree with their every argument… because they’re right… from their own perspective. But their perspective, in and of only itself, doesn’t describe or embrace, …is not, zentao. And that’s how I can agree with them while maintaining my own assuredness of what zentao isn’t.
Each religion, each theology, each philosophy is a set of founding principles and precepts comprised of subsets of more principles and precepts that define what is, and each one of those sets and subsets excludes other sets and subsets. zentao does not exclude. It embraces. All. And nothing. And every possibility between that all and nothing. That’s why it’s so difficult to define and formalize “what is zentao.”
zentao is a state of being, not believing. It’s a state of knowing, not denying. It’s a state of relief and release, of recognition and understanding, of realization and allowing.
You don’t have to know or practice anything. You don’t have to ‘believe’ anything, either. You can be an atheist, a Christian, a Moslem, a Jew, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Taoist, a Shintoist, a Pagan, a Wiccan, an agnostic, something else, or nothing at all. You can be a realist and a pragmatist; a skeptic; you can be spiritual. It doesn’t matter. What matters is knowing what matters and letting go of what doesn’t.
zentao is an understanding that embraces, rather than battles, the seeming disparate—a way of thinking, living, and doing …of perceiving.
So that, in a rather large nutshell, is zentao.