I came to Zen via an early interest in philosophical Taoism (as opposed to the Taoist religion that sprang from it with all its metaphysical trappings). And on what seems to be a cyclical basis, I tend to embrace one over the other in my reading and thinking.
I believe I’m entering a Taoist cycle.
Meditating lately on just the first two lines of the Heart Sutra has only served to remind me of Bodhidharma’s disdain for scripture, and even the Buddha’s warning against trusting the written word. Well, he actually was against blind devotion to scripture and traditions, teaching instead that we each investigate and decide for ourselves if these things are worth embracing.
Right now, the sutras seem heavy, like those things I left behind when I rejected the Roman Catholicism in which I was raised. I long for simplicity.
As a result, I keep going back to the Tao Te Ching. Which is also funny, because one of the stories about Lao Tzu describes his reluctance to set his experience of the Tao into words, knowing that the words will ultimately fail.
It could be I’m just impatient. One of my favorite Buddha stories compares religious teaching to a raft needed to cross a river. Once you have crossed the river, best to leave the raft behind. Maybe I’m just leaping off the raft thinking I can swim faster.
And then my Zen experience gently reminds me to just be with my impatience. So I will.