Nature, Man and Woman by Alan W. Watts

Alan Watts is the most articulate scholar I have ever been blessed to come upon. He is a masterful speaker and author, and navigates the implications of Tao with his typically divine touch. This is one of the rare books where virtually every paragraph touches me with the grace of god. It is inspiring, invigorating, therapeutic.

Watts uncurls the nuances of the East in comparison to the West. An unbiased translator, he also articulates imperfections in Eastern tradition as well.

I plan on typing up much of his insight later, but here’s just a small sample, a page opened at random:

Though not strictly accurate, it is less misleading to think of liberation as the depth of spiritual failure–where one cannot lay claim to vices, let alone virtues. For in seeing fully into his own empty momentariness, the Bodhissatva knows a despair beyond suicide, the absolute despair which is the etymological meaning of nirvana. It is complete disillusion from every hope of safety, or rest, or gain, suicide itself being no escape since “I” awakens once more in every being that is born. It is the recognition of final defeat for all the artfulness of the ego, which, in this disllusion, expires–finding only emptiness in its most frantic resistance to emptiness, suffering in escape from suffering, and nothing but clinging in its efforts to let go. But here he finds in his own dissolving the same emptiness from which there blazes the whole host of sun, moon, and stars.

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