Tradition was once function.
But today there is no tradition.
Where is there a true path?
In the past, people didn’t question the teachings of Tao. There was a living tradition, and if one followed it, one could reasonably expect to walk a good path. But today the traditional teachings of Tao have been dimmed by civil wars, political persecution, and the death of masters. Wealth and technology hold the attention of most people, and few have time for Tao. Adopting arcane methods will not lead to success.
We must discover Tao for ourselves. Seeking it in the here and now means fulfilling the spirit of tradition instead of merely copying it. How can we ape the past? The old ways are gone.
Tao means different things to different people in different times. Indeed, we might say that the Tao of today leads in unprecedented directions. We have to adapt, but being contemporary should not be an excuse for adulteration and shortcuts. Once we find the true path of today, we must walk it with the same determination as the ancients.