Confucianism & Taoism Essay

1534 words - 6 pages

Confucianism And Taoism Take Home Exam (Essay Topic #2) Confucianism & Taoism Exam (Essay Topic #2) Taoism is 2,500 plus year old philosophy, a religion, and also the basis for Traditional Chinese Medication, which was inspired by the rhythms of the natural phenomena. It represents the wisdom accumulated over 5,000 years of ancient Chinese history.The main text, or source, of the Taoist way of life is the Tao Te Ching, written in part by Lao Tzu. The central themes present in this and other Taoism texts are grouped around a few essential ideas: Tao, Emptiness, Nondoing (wu-wei), and adaptation to the external conditions.When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly.When people see some things as good, other things become bad.Being and non-being create each other.Difficult and easy support each other.Long and short define each other.High and low depend on each other.Before and after follow each other.Therefore the Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything.Things arise and she lets them come; Things disappear and she lets them go.She has but doesn?t posses, acts but doesn?t expect.When her work is done, she forgets it.This is why it lasts forever.The above passage is chapter 2 of the Tao Te Ching. And like the rest of the Tao Te Ching the central concept dealt with is the Tao. The word Tao literally means ?the way? or ?the path.? In Taoism the Tao refers to the supreme or ultimate truth and is beyond words or any conceptual understanding, but when asked to name this ultimate truth, Tao is the name given to it. The Tao is the great unity of all things that exist. The only thing that is constant in the Tao is change. It is the totality composed of all things and all people. If even one of the components is missing the totality is lost and the Tao is no more.The Taoist associate the Toa with a circle within which all things exist and move. This constant movement, or change, of the Tao is divided into two parts; yin and yang. These two parts (yin and yang) are represented by the widely known ancient Chinese yin and yang symbol, also known as the Tai Chi symbol (as pictured above). The dark (yin) portion, seen as the shady side of a mountain, represents everything that is feminine, dark, withdrawn, receptive and passive and things moving down and in. The light (yang) part, seen as the sunlit side of a mountain, represents the masculine, bright, forceful and expansive, and movement out and up.While the yin/yang symbol is one of the best know symbols in the world, very few people understand its true meaning and what it really represents. As stated earlier the yin/yang symbol is an essential part of Taoism, and knowledge of what the symbol illustrates makes the above passage (along with the rest of Taoist philosophy) much easier to understand and in turn more rewarding.There are four major ideas/beliefs of Taoism that are present in the yin/yang symbol: (1.) The circle symbolizes the wholeness and...

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