Exploring Daoism: The Orign Of Faith And Philosophy

1254 words - 6 pages

When considering the origin of the faiths and philosophies of the world, it is judicious to take into consideration the culture and religious practices of the period. For instance, Daoism developed out of the political climate of the time and the religious beliefs and practices and that existed in China in the preceding centuries. In order to gain a greater comprehension of the creation Daoism, the theory, philosophy, and practices, it necessitates a journey to China in the distant past.
The first part of the journey begins; five thousand years ago with the tribal people who established residence along the shores of the Yellow River in China. (Wong 404). The tribal people believed that their chieftains had extraordinary powers, such as the powers: to control the elements, move the rivers, communicate with plants and animals, travel across the sky, and beneath the earth. (Ibid, 409) Initially, it was due in part to the tribal people’s belief, in the ability of particular individuals to possess inconceivable abilities, that shamanism came into practice in Ancient China. In fact, according to Eva Wong, “In ancient Chinese society, there was a class of people, called the wu.” (Wong 436). As a result, over the centuries, the importance of the wu or shaman continued to develop and by the twelfth century, the rulers of the land employed shamans as an integral part of their advisors. Thus, the shaman held political positions and were able to influence the governing of the nation. An equally important aspect of the ancient religion in China was the reverence of their ancestors’.
The second part of the journey visits, ancient China in 1500 BCE, a thousand years prior to the formation of the Daoism school of thought. (Brodd, Little and Nystrom, Chinese Religions: Confucianism and Daoism 265). Included, in Chinese beliefs, was that the afterlife was a continuation of a duplicate life experience in the spiritual world; even included was the same bureaucracy as on earth. In addition, the deceased did not vanish completely from the earthly plane; their spirits were able to assert influence in both planes of existence. Therefore, the families of the deceased continued to seek the advice of the spirits of their ancestors. Conveniently, during the period of the Shang dynasty, the ruler of the afterlife was also an ancestor of the ruling house. (Ibid, 266). Consequently, the above-mentioned religious tradition is known as, ancestor worship. Indeed, deeply ingrained in the lives and culture of the Chinese people were their religious beliefs and practices.
Significantly, the primal religion practiced in China in the preceding centuries heavily influences, Daoism, the school of thought that emerged nearing the end of the Chou dynasty. (Wong 441) For instance, a continuation of ancestor worship is present in Daoism. Continuing, along the theme of ancestor worship with the spirits transferring to another plane of existence, is the ability of enlightened individuals...

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