taoism dissertation

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Through history, Taoism has been one of the influential

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beliefs of Far eastern culture. This is certainly one of the most exclusive

of all beliefs. Many Taoists, in fact , will not even consider it a

religious beliefs, and in many ways it is not. Taoists make simply no claim that the

Tao is present. 1 That is what essentially separates Taoism from the rest of

the world beliefs: there is no heated up debate or battle above Taoist

cortège, there have been zero crusades to spread the religion. The

essence of Taoism is fairly the opposite. Taoisms uniqueness and

open-endedness possess allowed the religion to flourish nearly undisturbed

and unchanged for over two thousand years.

The founder of Taoism was a man named Lao Tzu, who lived around the

yr 604 N. C. At the. According to Chinese star, Lao Tzu was a great archivist

inside the imperial selection at Lo Yang was known for his knowledge, although

he under no circumstances taught. a couple of When Lao Tzu kept his position at the catalogue, he

went to the Chinese province of Chou. On the border, however , he was

ended and forced to jot down his teachings. During this time, he

wrote the Tao Te Ching, difficulties scripture of Taoism. a few

After Lao Tzus fatality, a man named Yang Chu (440-366 B. C. Electronic. ) took up

his theories. 4 A naturalist and philosopher, Yang Chu believed highly

in self-regard and survival since the primary of being human and path.

His beliefs were personal integrity and self-protection, and said that this individual

was reluctant to pluck one locks from his head regardless if all humanity were

to benefit from this. 5

The next influential Taoist philosopher was Chang Tzu, who existed from

350-275 B. C. E. This individual defined existence using Lao Tzus theories. 6 This individual

wrote fifty-two books in answer to the Tao Te Ching, thirty-three of

which continue to survive today. 7 Applying exaggeration and fantasy, this individual

illustrated Lao Tzus teachings and how the Tao served in mother nature. His

theories spoke of your cosmic oneness which involves all reality and

courses it naturally, without power, to the proper end. 8

The Yin and Yang theory became element of Taoist idea around three hundred

B. C. E. after they were pointed out in the Hsi tzu, a great appendix for the I

Ching. 9 Yin and Yang are understood to be the two forces in nature. They are

known as the two breaths or chihuahua. 10 Yin is the feminine

principle, representing darkness, greatness, and wetness, Yang may be the

masculine rule, representing illumination, warmth, and dryness. eleven

Not principle great or awful, they are not opposites, yet each is

necessary to maintain stability in the world. 12 This kind of belief retains that

almost everything is defined through level of resistance, consequently, the virtues of

balance and understanding are quite valued. 13

Taoism became an official faith between 95 and two hundred C. At the. 14 Because of

competition coming from Buddhism, Taoists adopted many Buddhist philosophy.

In this pivotal reason for the beliefs history, looking for

self-knowledge and wisdom were replaced by searching for approaches to

sorrows and other physical problems. 15 Becoming and irrational belief became

highly popular during this time period of time, because Taoists tried to escape

actuality rather than to manage the artificial and abnormal. Many

Taoists used magic and the idea of Tao to try to extend the physical

existence rather than to pay attention to the the grave. 16 Steadily the religious beliefs

becomes more difficult, with a extensive pantheon of gods and a judgment

hierarchy. 17

The leader Chang Ling had taken the title Divine Teacher in 200 C. E. This individual

created a dynasty of high priests who manipulated Taoism to back up a

irrational doctrine of magic and mysticism. 18 Seizing higher power

as being a religious leader, he started a joining of Taoism and

Zoroastrianism into a program called Five Bushels of Rice Taoism.

Sooner or later this progressed into a society based on Mazdaism, a

Zoroastrian sect, where every who trust was incurred five bushels of

grain. 19 Even though the believers used the basic Zoroastrian worship

formatting, they worshipped different gods: the Tao instead of Ahura-Mazda

and the various Chinese folk gods rather than the Persian Angels. twenty

Three hundred years later, the philosopher Honen moved away from

Mazdaism and combined Taoism with Yoga. This basic religion this individual

created started to be known as the Real Land Institution, or Amidaism. Gradually

yet , Taoism again became tied to magic, and it failed as a

religion. 21 Today, only the original philosophies survive and there are

very few fans of Taoism, mostly found in Taiwan. twenty-two Although

Taoisms religious techniques deteriorated with advancing Traditional western

influence, it is philosophical aspects have outlasted those of

Confucianism and Yoga Buddhism. twenty three

For centuries, Taoism has been referred to as Way of A harmonious relationship. 24 This is certainly

because Taoists believe that the Tao leads all nature toward an organic

balance. The Tao, nevertheless , is certainly not considered to be a deity or possibly a ruler:

it could reign nonetheless it does not regulation. 25 This can be reflected in seven simple

statements. 26 The 1st states the Tao is definitely nature. This means that

the Tao is the way of everything, the motion of everything in nature

and everything existence. The 2nd statement is usually that the Tao is usually knowledge

which means that the Tao is the greatest form of understanding and wisdom and

that to understand it implies to understand almost all. The third statement says

which the Tao can be Goodness. This indicates that the Tao is the route

toward virtue, and the greatest virtue of such is contouring to the

Tao. The fourth statement is that the Tao is impending. This means that

the Tao is definitely the source of almost all reality and the Tao can be inseparable.

The 6th statement tells that the Tao is being, and also the process of

turning out to be, which characterizes reality. The sixth holds that the Tao is

experienced in passiveness, not in activity. The final statement asserts that

the Tao can be individual and unique for all. Therefore , no person

can truly know the Tao outside themselves. As the Tao Te Ching declares:

The ways that could be walked are generally not the timeless way.

What they are called that can be named are not the eternal term.

The mysterious is the origin of the numerous creatures.

The named is a mother with the myriad animals.


Continually be without desire

in order to notice its marvelous subtleties

Also have desire

so that you will may notice its indications. 27

Basically, the galaxy is a routine which are unable to exist without the

part of it. Therefore , aiming to alter the Tao through action is

essentially trying to damage the balance with the universe. 28

Taoists have got a simple definition of virtue, known as Teh. For the

Taoist, the sole virtue is usually to find unity with the Tao. 29 This

contradicts Western religious believed because Americans believe in

tranquility and salvation through action. Taoists, however , believe that

unity with the Tao requires zero effort but rather passive living

without job, by obtaining unity with the Tao, one can possibly therefore locate

heaven. This is certainly explained in Lao Tzus doctrine with the three pieces

those becoming love, harmony, and humbleness. 30 Like stems from and results

in kindness and consideration for others. Balance can be found through

self-control and moderation. Humility comes from self-esteem and

happiness in ones position.

The Taoist path to salvation is called Wu Wei, which means the principle

of nonaction. 31 The best way to attain unity with the Tao involves not any

effort, desire, discipline, or education. Therefore , each person provides

an equal opportunity to attain balance. It consists of a give up to

characteristics: since every person is by explanation part of the Tao, there is no

will need or reason to seek that elsewhere. Furthermore, everyone has direct

access to the Tao as the Tao can be connected to fact, and everyone

is actually a part of reality. 32 In summary, there is no need to seek answers

beyond oneself. Through non-action the answer is revealed through

ones individual existence.

Taoism is different via any other Eastern religion. According to

Lawrence Durrell, Taoism is such a happy brand of east

philosophy that a person would be right to regard this as an aesthetic look at of

the universe rather than a purely institutional one. thirty-three Thus, because Taoism

is actually a religion of non-action, Lao Tzu and his followers frustrated the

practice of traditions. As a result, Taoism has no tangible rituals.

Early Taoists, in fact , were far more focused on everyday life than

with celebrations or praise. 34 Taoists prefer to leave the question of

God unanswered. 35

Taoist rituals would flourish, however , around and during the 900s. 36

During this time lavish temples had been built, intricate rituals had been

practiced, and colorful conventions were famous. 37 The closest

long-term action in Taoism to rituals may be the idea of wu-hsing. 38 This can be

the set of notions known as the five phases (wu-hsing) or forces

(wu-te): drinking water, fire, solid wood, metal, and earth. 39 This concept help

philosophers build a system of correspondences and participations which

hyperlink all macrocosmic and microcosmic phenomena. Hence all months

colors, guidelines, musical colors, animals, and also other aspects of character

correspond to the five main inner internal organs of the human body. 40 Mainly because

of this, a large number of Taoists thought that the principe relating to their very own

respective phases nourished the organs with the body, this supposedly led

to durability. 41

Many sects of Taoism appeared during the eleventh and twelfth

centuries. Included in this were: the Tai-i (Supreme Unity) sect, founded simply by

Hsiao Pao-chen in roughly 1140, the Chenta Tao (Perfect and Great

Tao) sect, founded by Liu Te-jen in 1142, as well as the Chan-chen (Perfect

Realization) sect, founded in 1163 simply by Wang Che. 41 The Chan-chen

became very popular, and small categories of monks from this sect made it through

until the 20th century. 42

Taoism have been affected mainly by Confucianism, and the other way round. The

two religions spent my youth together and compose a Yin-Yang themselves.

Confucianism works to get the public welfare, Taoism problems the

specific. 43 Confucianism emphasized feeling and gentility, while

these encouraged impulse. 44 As the two beliefs are

fundamentally different, that they rely upon the other person to create a equilibrium

of their distinctions. Because of this, various people believe in and

practice both Confucianism and Taoism. Neither probably would have

survived if the various other had was never available.

Taoism is itself an extremely difficult faith to determine. Little is usually

known of its owner or the origins, and it has no clear règle or

way of worship. 45 The whole idea of Tao is quite abstract and

therefore may not be fully discussed, only comprehended. The religious beliefs may

hold a completely several meaning for every personit could possibly be a form of

viewpoint, religion, or perhaps magic. 46 The religious beliefs has led countless

individuals through life and toward union together with the Tao. Since it has

influenced the past through its writings, Taoism may possibly influence the earth

for generations more with its wisdom.


1 . Bettencourt, Jerome: Relative World Made use of: Notes. Oxnard:

Fall season

Semester 1994-95.

2 . Durrell, Lawrence: An endearing smile in the Brains Eye. Ny: Universe



a few. Goetz, Philip (Ed. ): Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th Model, Vol. twenty eight.

Taoism. Chicago, il: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1991.

4. Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching. New York: Bantam Books, 1990.

5. Pastva, Loretta: Superb Religions on the planet. Winona, Minnesota:


Marys Press, 1986.

6. Smullyan, Raymond: The Tao Is usually Silent. Bay area: HarperCollins

Publishers, 1977.

7. Watts, Alan: Tao: The Watercourse Approach. New York: Pantheon Books



one particular Alan W, Tao: The Watercourse Method (New You are able to: Pantheon Catalogs

1975), l. 5.

2 Jerome Bettencourt, Comparative Universe Religions: Records (Oxnard: Fall season

Semester 1994-95).

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

9 Philip Goetz, Male impotence., Encyclopaedia Britannica 15th Model, Vol. twenty eight:

Taoism (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1991), p. 399

10 Ibid., p. 398

11 Bettencourt.

12 Goetz, p. 398.

13 Bettencourt.

14 Ibid.

15 Loretta Pastva, Wonderful Religions worldwide (Winona, Mn:

Saint Marys Press, 1986), p. 117.

16 Ibid.

17 Bettencourt.

18 Ibid.

19 Ibid.

20 Ibid.

21 Ibid.

22 Goetz, p. 407

23 Bettencourt.

24 Ibid.

25 Joe Watts, Tao: The Watercourse Way (New York: Pantheon Books

1975), p. fifty-one.

26 Bettencourt. 7

28 Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching (San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers

1977), p. 59.

28 Watts, p. 51.

29 Bettencourt.

30 Ibid.

31 Ibid.

32 Ibid.

33 Lawrence Durrell, An endearing smile in the Brains Eye (New York: World

Books, 1982), p. 18.

34 Pastva, p. 117.

thirty five Durrell, l. 19.

36 Pastva, g. 117.

37 Ibid.

38 Goetz, s. 399.

39 Ibid.

forty five Ibid.

forty one Ibid., p. 404.

42 Ibid.

43 Pastva, g. 115

forty-four Ibid.

forty five Ibid.

46 Ibid.

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