- TAOIST BELIEFS, PRACTICES AND DEITIES
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- ___ Taoism, Daoism (Chinese: 道教; pinyin: Dàojiāo)
- Tao Guide to the Law of Attraction (1/4) - Wu Wei Wisdom
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However, we are not certain whether this means that whomever was the source of this material in the Zhuangzi knew the Daodejing and quoted it, or if they both drew from a common source, or even if the Daodejing in some way depended on the Zhuangzi. In fact, one theory about the legendary figure Laozi is that he was created first in the Zhuangzi and later became associated with the Daodejing. There are seventeen passages in which Laozi a. Lao Dan plays a role in the Zhuangzi and he is not mentioned by name in the Daodejing.
Based on what we know now, we could offer the following summary of the sources of early Daoism. Stage Two: The essay in Chs. In the late s Western and comparative philosophers began to point out that an important dimension of the historical context of Daoism was being overlooked because the previous generation of scholars had ignored or even disparaged connections between the classical texts and Daoist religious belief and practice not previously thought to have developed until the 2 nd century C.
We have to lay some of the responsibility for a prejudice against Daoism as a religion and the privileging of its earliest forms as a pure philosophy at the feet of the eminent translators and philosophers Wing-Tsit Chan and James Legge, who both spoke of Daoist religion as a degeneration of a pristine Daoist philosophy arising from the time of the Celestial Masters see below in the late Han period.
Chan and Legge were instrumental architects in the West of the view that Daoist philosophy daojia and Daoist religion daojiao are entirely different traditions. Actually, our interest in trying to separate philosophy and religion in Daoism is more revealing of the Western frame of reference we use than of Daoism itself. Daoist ideas fermented among master teachers who had a holistic view of life.
TAOIST BELIEFS, PRACTICES AND DEITIES
These daoshi Daoist masters did not compartmentalize practices by which they sought to influence the forces of reality, increase their longevity, have interaction with realities not apparent to our normal way of seeing things, and order life morally and by rulership. They offered insights we might call philosophical aphorisms.
The masters transmitted their teachings, some of them only to disciples and adepts, but gradually these teachings became more widely available as is evidenced in the very creation of the Daodejing and Zhuangzi themselves. The anti-supernaturalist and anti-dualist agendas that provoked Westerners to separate philosophy and religion, dating at least to the classical Greek period of philosophy was not part of the preoccupation of Daoists. Accordingly, the question whether Daoism is a philosophy or a religion is not one we can ask without imposing a set of understandings, presuppositions, and qualifications that do not apply to Daoism.
But the hybrid nature of Daoism is not a reason to discount the importance of Daoist thought. Quite to the contrary, it may be one of the most significant ideas classical Daoism can contribute to the study of philosophy in the present age. In its received form from Wang Bi see below , the two major divisions of the text are the dao jing chs.
- Daoist Philosophy.
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Actually, this division probably rests on little else than the fact that the principal concept opening Chapter 1 is dao way and that of Chapter 38 is de virtue. The text is a collection of short aphorisms that were not arranged to develop any systematic argument. But the text is actually a composite of collected materials, most of which probably originally circulated orally perhaps even in single aphorisms or small collections. These were then redacted as someone might string pearls into a necklace. Although D. Lau and Michael LaFargue had made preliminary literary and redaction critical studies of the texts, these are still insufficient to generate any consensus about whether the text was composed using smaller written collections or who were the probable editors.
For almost 2, years, the Chinese text used by commentators in China and upon which all except the most recent Western language translations were based has been called the Wang Bi , after the commentator who used a complete edition of the DDJ sometime between CE. Although Wang Bi was not a Daoist, his commentary became a standard interpretive guide, and generally speaking even today scholars depart from it only when they can make a compelling argument for doing so.
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Based on recent archaeological finds at Guodian in and Mawangdui in the s we are certain that there were several simultaneously circulating versions of the Daodejing text as early as c. Mawangdui is the name for a site of tombs discovered near Changsha in Hunan province.
37 Best Taoism quotes images | Quotes, Taoism, Lao tzu quotes
Some word choice divergencies are present. The order of the chapters is reversed, with in the Wang Bi coming before chapters in the Mawangdui versions.
More precisely, the order of the Mawangdui texts takes the traditional 81 chapters and sets them out like this: 38, 39, 40, , 80, 81, , , 24, 22, 23, Robert Henricks has published a translation of these texts with extensive notes and comparisons with the Wang Bi under the title Lao-Tzu, Te-tao Ching The Guodian find consists of inscribed bamboo slips found near the village of Guodian in Hubei province in There are 71 slips with material that is also found in 31 of the 81 chapters of the DDJ and corresponding to Chapters It may date as early as c.
These slips contain more significant variants from the Wang Bi than do the M awangdui versions. A complete translation and study of the Guodian cache has been published by Scott Cook Dao is the process of reality itself, the way things come together, while still transforming. All this reflects the deep seated Chinese belief that change is the most basic character of things. In the Yi jing Classic of Change the patterns of this change are symbolized by figures standing for 64 relations of correlative forces and known as the hexagrams.
Dao is the alteration of these forces, most often simply stated as yin and yang. It takes the taiji Great Ultimate as the source of correlative change and associates it with the dao. The contrast is not between what things are or that something is or is not, but between chaos hundun and the way reality is ordering de. Yet, reality is not ordering into one unified whole. It is the 10, things wanwu.
The Daodejing teaches that humans cannot fathom the Dao, because any name we give to it cannot capture it. It is beyond what we can express in language ch. Wu-wei is a difficult notion to translate. Those who wu wei do act. Wu-wei should be our way of life, because the dao always benefits, it does not harm ch. What causes this natural embedding of good and benefit in the dao is vague and elusive ch. But the world is a reality that is filled with spiritual force, just as a sacred image used in religious ritual might be inhabited by numinal power ch.
A central theme of the Daodejing is that correlatives are the expressions of the movement of dao. Correlatives in Chinese philosophy are not opposites, mutually excluding each other. As one approaches the fullness of yin , yang begins to horizon and emerge and vice versa. Its teachings on correlation often suggest to interpreters that the DDJ is filled with paradoxes. For example, ch. Those who are bent will be straight. Those who are empty will be full.
Well, sages wu-wei , chs.
___ Taoism, Daoism (Chinese: 道教; pinyin: Dàojiāo)
In this respect, they are like newborn infants, who move naturally, without planning and reliance on the structures given to them by culture and society ch. Sages concentrate their internal energies qi. They clean their vision ch. They manifest naturalness and plainness, becoming like uncarved wood pu ch. They live naturally and free from desires rooted in the discriminations that human society makes ch. The DDJ makes use of some very famous analogies to drive home its point.
Sages know the value of emptiness as illustrated by how emptiness is used in a bowl, door, window, valley or canyon ch. They preserve the female yin , meaning that they know how to be receptive to dao and its power de and are not unbalanced favoring assertion and action yang ch. They shoulder yin and embrace yang , blend internal energies qi and thereby attain harmony he ch.
Those following the dao do not strive, tamper, or seek to control their own lives ch. They do not endeavor to help life along ch. Indeed, the DDJ cautions that those who would try to do something with the world will fail, they will actually ruin both themselves and the world ch. Sages do not engage in disputes and arguing, or try to prove their point chs. They are pliable and supple, not rigid and resistive chs.
They are like water ch. Sages act with no expectation of reward chs. They put themselves last and yet come first ch. They never make a display of themselves, chs. They do not brag or boast, chs. They leave no trace ch. Because they embody dao in practice, they have longevity ch. They create peace ch. Creatures do not harm them chs. Soldiers do not kill them ch. Among the most controversial of the teachings in the DDJ are those directly associated with rulers.
Tao Guide to the Law of Attraction (1/4) - Wu Wei Wisdom
Recent scholarship is moving toward a consensus that the persons who developed and collected the teachings of the DDJ played some role in advising civil administration, but they may also have been practitioners of ritual arts and what we would call religious rites. Be that as it may, many of the aphorisms directed toward rulers in the DDJ seem puzzling at first sight. According to the DDJ, the proper ruler keeps the people without knowledge, ch. A sagely ruler reduces the size of the state and keeps the population small.
Even though the ruler possesses weapons, they are not used ch. The ruler does not seek prominence. The ruler is a shadowy presence, never standing out chs. This picture of rulership in the DDJ is all the more interesting when we remember that the philosopher and legalist political theorist named Han Feizi used the DDJ as a guide for the unification of China. Han Feizi was the foremost counselor of the first emperor of China, Qin Shihuangdi r. The second of the two most important classical texts of Daoism is the Zhuangzi.
This text is a collection of stories and remembered as well as imaginary conversations. The text is well known for its creativity and skillful use of language. Within the text we find longer and shorter treatises, stories, poetry, and aphorisms.