A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF RELEVANT SOURCES AND THEMES OF PHILOSOPHICAL DAOISM VII

IMAGINATIVE MEDITATION

Though Zhuangzi often alludes to what appears to be some form of Daoist mediation, he never actually advocates for such a practice. We take this to suggest that it was a practice among his contemporaries about which he remained relatively neutral. As suggested above, much of this practice involved belief in metaphysical presuppositions which he would have considered a hindrance to an authentic response to our irremediable not-knowing. This does not imply that some forms of meditation are not compatible with this existential given, however. What Zhuangzi seems to suggest by way of example—for he was generally careful to avoid prescriptive advocacy—is a form of imaginative mediation that makes use of broadening perspectives that make no appeal to objective truth. This is really little different from the folk wisdom suggesting that we (imaginatively) walk a mile in another’s shoes before judging them. Only Zhuangzi suggests we further broaden this to cosmic proportions.

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