Kung Fu of Religion

Over at The Stone, philosopher Peimin Ni explains what kung fu is and how it applies to contemporary life.  Anything can be kung fu, so long as it is carefully cultivated, deliberately practiced, and artfully pursued:

[A]ny ability resulting from practice and cultivation could accurately be said to embody kung fu. There is a kung fu of dancing, painting, cooking, writing, acting, making good judgments, dealing with people, even governing.

During the Song and Ming dynasties in China, the term kung fu was widely used by the neo-Confucians, the Daoists and Buddhists alike for the art of living one’s life in general, and they all unequivocally spoke of their teachings as different schools of kung fu.

This broad understanding of kung fu is a key (though by no means the only key) through which we can begin to understand traditional Chinese philosophy and the places in which it meets and departs from philosophical traditions of the West.

As many scholars have pointed out, the predominant orientation of traditional Chinese philosophy is the concern about how to live one’s life, rather than finding out the truth about reality.

Is there a kung fu of religion?  If so, it is unquestionably eclectic, inclusive, and tolerant.  My sense, however, is that any kung fu of religion would be mostly anti-metaphysical and any exclusivist religion would be outside the existential ambit of kung fu.  Verstehen Grasshopper?

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