Intellect - 智力 - Zhìlì
A scholar, intoxicated by words and meanings,
attempts to weave an insightful web of truth-
the simple practice life offers fails to occur to him-
Sometimes, one must close the book,
and open one's eyes.
~Inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
Many seek Tao through intellect. They revel in abstractthought, seeking similarities amongst the world's religions, and may conduct scholarly discourses amongst a learned, rapt audience. And yet, they would reach truth more quickly if they looked upon experience as well.
Intellect is inherently dualistic. It makes distinctions, creating new connections between concepts, and calls the result meaning. This type of analytical approach is extremely limited when applied to Tao, which is not fully rational, quantitative, or even entirely describable. Though most followers of Tao are learned, they also realize that the intellect is but one reflection of the multifaceted approach to Tao.
The sages once said that we must give up education; they do not mean for us to become dumb. They believe we must seek a level of consciousness that the intellect cannot reach. We must study, but not to the point that experience and meditation are subdued in the process. The intended goal is to combine intellect with direct experience, in our meditative mind. Only then will there be no barrier between our world, and the wordless perception of reality.