Taoism 2 Essay, Research Paper
It is always present in you. You can use it anyway you want. Lao-tzu. Taoism is one of the philosophical and religious modes of thought that originated in early China. Taoism began at about around the sixth century B.C. The one dominant idea in Taoism is the belief in some form of reincarnation. The idea that life does not end when you die is an important part of this religion and the culture of the Chinese people. This religion has a different way of applying this concept to its beliefs. Ignorance of these beliefs is a sign of weakness in the mind. To truly understand your own religion, you must understand the concepts of the other religions of the world. This will be enlightenment on the reincarnation concepts as they apply to Taoism and Buddhism. The goal in Taoism is to achieve Tao, (to find the way). Tao is the ultimate reality, a presence that existed before the universe was formed and which continues to guide the world and everything in it. Tao is sometimes identified as the Mother, or the source of all things. That source is not a god or a Supreme Being as with Christians, for Taoism is not monotheistic. The focus is not to worship one god, but instead on coming into harmony with Tao. Tao is the essence of everything that is right, and complications exist only because people choose to complicate their own lives. Desire, ambition, fame, and selfishness are seen as hindrances to a harmonious life. It is only when one rids himself of all desires can Tao be achieved. By shunning earthly distraction, the Taoist is able to concentrate on life itself. The longer the one s life, the closer to Tao one is presumed to have become. The hope is to become immortal, to achieve a state of Tao, to have reached a deeper life. This is the heaven for a Taoist to be in harmony with the universe. To understand the relationship between Taoism concept of life and death and the origin of the word Tao must be understood. The Chinese letter for Tao is a combination of two letters that represent the words head and foot. The letter for foot represents a person s direction or path. The letter for head represents a conscious choice. The letter for head also means a beginning, and the foot, an ending. Thus the letter for Tao also means the continuing course of the universe, the cycle of heaven and earth. Finally, the letter for Tao represents the Taoist notion that the eternal Tao is both moving and unmoving. The head in the letter means the beginning, the source of all things, or Tao itself, which never moves or changes; the foot is the movement on the path. Taoism holds the belief in the life of the spirit after death. To have attained the human form must be always a source of joy for the Taoist. It is truly a reason to rejoice because despite whatever is lost, life always endures. Taoists believe birth is not a beginning and death is not an end. There is an existence without limit. There is continuity without a starting point. Applying reincarnation theory to Taoism is the belief that the soul never dies, a person s soul is eternal. It is possible to see death in contrast to life; both are unreal and changing. One s soul does not leave the world into the unknown, for it can never go away. Therefore there is no fear to come with death. In the book The Tao Te Ching , Tao is described as having existed before heaven and earth. Tao is shapeless; it stands alone without change and reaches everywhere without harm. The Taoist is told to use the light that is inside to induce to the natural clearness of sight. By
Cleansing yourself of all external distractions and desires, one can achieve Tao. In ancient days, a Taoist that had transcended birth and death and achieved Tao was said to
have cut the Thread of Life . The spirit does not die at death. The soul is not reborn; it migrates to another life. This process, the Taoist version of reincarnation, is repeated until Tao is achieved.
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Ó1983 EP Dutton, Inc.
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Ó1993 Hackett Publishing Company Inc
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