In previous years I have aimed to provide what are now known as content warnings when my posts contained swear or curse words. But just in the years since LoAW began, English swear words have undergone a striking shift; the formerly shocking F-word has become relatively unremarkable, while a six-letter derogatory term for black people is now regarded with horror. In keeping with the likely shift in audience expectations, in future posts I will be warning only about the new crop of swear words rather than the old. I use this post as an occasion to make this transition because the F-word appears in it quite frequently, as the title indicates. That title is probably the last time I will mark that word with asterisks; the word is uncensored in the text.
My wife’s previous round of cancer treatment, in 2015, was one of the most difficult periods in my life. Near the beginning of it I started describing myself as a Buddhist, based on a mere passing question in her hospital survey. But by the end I had become a practising Buddhist, having derived a great deal of support and comfort from Buddhism and its practices.
In the middle, though, I was still experimenting with a variety of ideas and practices from different traditions. The Neo-Confucian Zhu Xi reminded me of the spiritual benefit of practising scriptural reading, and I turned to multiple traditions for help in that regard. Buddhism proved the most valuable by the end, after a long period of learning from other traditions. Among these, I had a particularly powerful reaction to Daoism – perhaps I should say, against Daoism.