Sunday, September 10, 2006

What is Taoism? -- torridgirl

borrowed from torridgirl

I recently had someone ask what Tao was. Since I put a chapter from the Tao Te Ching in most of my posts I figured more of you might be curious. So here we go....

Tao (pronounced "Dow") can be roughly translated into English as path, or the way. It is basically indefinable. It has to be experienced. Taoism resembles modern Physics in that it describes the nature of the universe, the laws that govern it and the ideal ways that a person might place themselves in harmony with those laws. As the oldest surviving book, it shows that the simpler and more in tune with the laws of Nature something is, the longer it will endure.

The founder of Taoism is believed by many to be Lao-Tse (604-531 BCE), a contemporary of Confucius. Taoism started as a combination of psychology and philosophy but evolved into a religious faith in 440 CE when it was adopted as a state religion.

Taoism is about seeking the middle path through life; avoiding extremes, threading a surefooted way between opposites so lightly and so reasonably that no act is followed by a reaction. The middle path means there no need to suffer the consequences of an act. In terms of the doctrine of Karma, it means knowing how to avoid bad reactions (bad karma).

The practice of Taoism is basically about discovering who you are, learning to sense the world around you directly. To contemplate your impressions deeply. It advises against relying on ideologies because to do so will rob your life of meaning and cut you off from your intuition. It is intuition that should be cultivated because this is the only way to really know the world. By having an intuitive understanding of the world you are in a position to predict the future and be able to position yourself so as to achieve your goals.

The Tao Te Ching is a challenge. It challenges you to see the world as it actually is by accepting the stark truth of the physical laws that control existence and evolution. It challenges us to discover intellectual independence wherein we have complete trust in our own perceptions and instincts. It challenges you to reject force and rely rather on the steady force of your attitudes to influence others.

Well, That is a basic summary of the life I am learning to live.


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