Sanur, Bali, Indonesia – the Tao

We are in Sanur (Bali, Indonesia). Each day, we hike on the pathway by the ocean. I read online that the most common question googled about God is “Who made God?” People also ask why God allows so much suffering, about good and evil, and why God created and allows evil.

Here is a verse from the Tao te Ching (chapter 7):

“The Tao is infinite, eternal.

Why is it eternal?

It was never born;

thus it can never die.

Why is it infinite?

It has no desires for itself;

Thus it is present for all beings.”

The hike is physically demanding due to the heat.

Lao tsu, author of the Tao te Ching, portrays the Tao as eternal, like God, but an earlier verse suggests that God emerged from the Tao.

We look at a Hindu shrine — Bali has thousands of these sites. This one was constructed so a visitor could reach it during the wet season.


The Hindus on Bali conceive of a One God from whom all other gods emerge. Hinduism, on Bali, has a monotheistic quality — but with Hindu characteristics. God has many forms.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims conceive of a God who desires their specific form of worship. God, within each theology, wants to be called by His correct Name.


People argue about God’s desires. Lao tsu states that the Tao is free of desire.


Lao tsu suggests that the Tao, free of desire, is available for everyone.

Here is what I say:

You can look inside. The Tao is available to you — inside.


Although the Lao tsu text may seem obscure, you can look inside yourself, seeking insight.


Here is what I say: there is a pathway inward that leads you toward psychological health.

You can follow this pathway through meditation. There are many methods — find a method that suits you and follow it diligently.


The way inward involves “non-doing.”

Lao tsu’s teachings differ from most religious doctrines. Within most religions, the practitioner performs supplicating rituals.

This woman presents her “sacrifice” (a tray with food, flowers, incense, and maybe a drink and a cigarette) for the deity.

The deity is thought to grant benefits to the supplicant. There is a kind of exchange — the sacrifice brings about benefits.

Here is what I say: the benefit occurs through focusing the mind. By doing the ritual, you focus your mind — this benefits you.

Lao tsu’s Tao has no desires — supplicants empty their minds.


I watch a Hindu funeral ritual.

The priest does rituals; people play musical instruments and chant.

The body is cremated — freeing the person’s soul so that it can be reincarnated.



Many sacrifices


We look at a particularly fierce shrine area — a demon slays children.

A demon kills a woman — beyond, a deity stands before winged angels.

People ask about God. Who made God? Why is there so much suffering and evil?

I think about Lao tsu’s text:

“It has no desires for itself;

Thus it is present for all beings.”

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