At some level everything is a matter of semantics and therefore meaningless.
But that doesn't mean that we should just disregard everything...or does it?
At any rate, here's my take on the question. If Tao
is to be thought of as God, then yes, certainly it is not a personal type of being like the Benevolent Grandfather
image of God that some Christians subscribe to. And it's not Shiva
, either--like Brian said, it's an impersonal type of God, like the amorphous and impossible-to-get-your-rational-mind-around concept of Brahma
. It's also similar to Nirvana
, which isn't a God so much as the Ultimate State of Things
. Tao is also the Ultimate State of Things
, ever present but elusive
. I think this word elusive is key.
To me, Tao seems very playful, always running away from people when they think they are close to it. It doesn't seem to be available so much by a systematic approach, as in Hindu or Buddhist meditation, but seems to be spontaneously occuring. You just suddenly get it in a flash of insight, and you're not sure why or where it came from--BAM!
It hits you. And then it giggles and dissolves back into ordinary reality. Again, it seems elusive, unable to be held. In this way it seems to share some qualities with Zen
Like I said, this is just my take on it, and is surely limited. I think that there are methods and techniques that ancient Taoists used, like Taoist alchemy. But those things, to me, seem like hollow and superficial rituals that aim at the goal but somehow miss the point
. And Tao, like Zen, seems to be to me all about getting the point, those sudden epiphanies.
Anyhow, I don't think I even came close to answering the question. Is Tao God or can it be likened to God? Hm. If I were to compare Tao to God, then God would have to be a prankster atheist God
My kind of guy.