Posted: August 12th, 2013
Taoism: Harmony with the Cosmos
Taoism: Harmony with the Cosmos
Taoism or Daoism is a religious and philosophical tradition that emphasized existing in accord with the Tao. Tao refers to a principle, a path or a doctrine found in Chinese philosophies and religions besides Taoism. In Taoism, the Tao aspect indicates something that is both the foundation and the motivation behind things that exist. Taoism was developed from the philosophical doctrines of Lao-Tze that is the demonstration of a method of livelihood that men should nurture as the utmost advancement of their nature. Due to the holistic nature of Taoism, some scholars have also aptly called it naturism.
Taoism has approximately 225 million followers with a large portion originating from Eastern Europe and Asia. Most of these followers also associate themselves with Confucianism and Buddhism. Taoism popularity was brought to the front by the 1949 persecution in China as well as the Cultural Revolution in 1966. In general, there are two kinds of Taoism: religious and philosophical Taoism. Philosophical Taoism has features such as rationality, thoughtful, and nonpartisan, and it recognizes death as a natural destination to Tao. Conversely, religious Taoism has a magical sense that is characterized by cults and is highly sectarian. This religion stresses good physical condition and healing as methods of attaining long life and immortality.
The unique aspects of Taoism lie in the assumptions that their perspective of ethics does not teach people the proper way to live but describe the result of applying certain behaviors on four principles of nature that are selflessness, moderation, embracing mysteries and being non-contriving. Wisdom traditions refer to supernatural features of a religious tradition that are devoid of the flaws of sectarianism and power structures that are connected to formalized religion. World wisdom traditions are global in nature and apply to more than one community, region or religion.
Religious quotations from Lao Tse and Taoism
Taoism captures all of its quotes whether religious or secular in a major work of literature called the Tao Te Ching. This literature offers many quotations on the best way to deal with people, mystery quotes and quotes on wisdom and conflict. One particular set of quotes in the Tao Te Ching holds great meaning for those who comprehend it correctly. The quote says “…In dwelling, be close to the land. In meditation, go deep in the heart. In dealing with others, be gentle and kind. In speech, be true. In ruling, be just. In business, be competent. In action, watch the timing…”
This quotation is subdivided into seven parts and each section holds important directives that together contribute toward individuals considering themselves well lived. In dwelling, be close to the land refers to being at the most suitable location to do something and refers to the selection of a house site as being level ground. The next parts, in meditation, go deep in the heart directs all people to have depth in whatever they engage in and this gives them stillness and tranquility. The quote that when dealing with others, one should be gentle and kind focuses on benevolence as an important aspect in everyday life.
The next part of the quote directs rulers to be just in their decisions. This part specifically concentrates on good governance and order in the society. The Tao Te Ching also directs business people to maintain competence in the activities. It also urges traders to be efficient in their transactions. Lastly, in the actions of people, they should conscious of the time. These quotes are interconnected in that if the advice in one is followed, the rest come naturally to some extent. It would also suffice to mention that in Taoism, abiding by these and other principles within the Tao Te Ching would contribute toward a life well lived. Once again, there were no strict guidelines to follow and the sayings only gave a rough framework that would be implemented by each man as he saw fit.
The Tao Te Ching makes use of various words that possess inner meaning and requires one to think deeply at length before fully understanding the statement. Within the literature, five vocabulary words stood out as having the most significance and depth. These are contentment, oneness, non–interference, camouflage and artificial values. Of the five, contentment stood out as a pertinent element in Taoism and other forms of religion. Contentment refers to the level of acknowledging and becoming satisfied with the standard that one has achieved. Contentment is unique in that it varies according to the individual’s traits and the standard that was set by them.
Content has been mentioned in Judaism and specifically the Mishnahic that commented that rich people are those who are happy with their portions. The idea of contentment was replicated through the Jewish generations during the Middle Ages where poets mentioned on the importance of seeking what one needed and giving away what was not being used. In Taoism, contentment clarifies how the world works and how to chart the best path in life. To that extent, Taoism becomes a realistic philosophical guidebook with ethics for accomplishing contentment on a daily basis.
In a world filled with absurdity, suffering and chaos, it may be difficult for an individual to be contented but using the teachings of Lao Tzu, it is possible. Lao Tzu defined contentment as the only criteria for gauging personal achievement, and that could be used to define a society’s values. By holding fast to this strict trial, dysfunctional desires like prominence and wealth can be keeping at bay. Finally, the religious features of Taoism instruct people that a satisfied physical status will best train the soul for that time when the body is cast back to the Tao. Physical, metaphysical and mental contentment therefore is crucial among Taoism believers.
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