- Количество слайдов: 136
A Glimpse of Philosophy and Religion in China Lecturer : Qin Xiaohui Tel: 13972515350 QQ: 626520231
Contents: • Session 1 Schools of Philosophy in China • Session 2 The Main Ideas of Philosophical schools in China • Session 3 Religious schools in China • Session 4 Confucianism and Taoism (2 periods of classes for each session)
Session 1 Schools of Philosophy in China 1. General Introduction of Chinese religions and philosophies 2. Schools of Philosophy • 1] Confucianism • 2] Taoism • 3] Legalism • 4] Naturalists • 5] Mohism • 6] Logicians • 7] Agriculturalists
RELIGION IN GENERAL • A number of religious and philosophical systems are practiced in China. • Traditionally Taoism and Confucianism provide ethical guides to the proper behavior of individuals and officials. Both of these systems originated in China during the socalled Golden Age of Chinese thought, several centuries before the beginning of the Christian era.
• Taoism seeks to promote the inner peace of individuals and harmony with their surroundings. • Confucianism, based on the teachings and writings of the philosopher Confucius, is an ethical system that sought to teach the proper way for all people to behave in society: Each relationship--husband-wife, parents-children, ruler-subjects --involves a set of obligations which, if upheld, would lead to a just and harmonious society. • Following his teachings would also promote a stable, lasting government.
• Buddhism, which came to China from India as early as the 1 st century AD, is a more conventional religion. Its followers attend occasional services, practiced rituals, and supported a temple on a regular basis. • It has been estimated that more than 68 million Chinese consider themselves Buddhists. Prior to 1949, practices that may best be called folk religions were common throughout China. Although they incorporated elements of Buddhism and, especially, Taoism, these religions were usually local, often based on local gods, and served the local people.
• Christian missionaries have been active in China since Roman Catholics belonging to the Jesuit order arrived in the early 17 th century. Protestant missionaries first appeared in the early 19 th century. • Islam came to China mainly from Central Asia, where it was practiced by many of the Turkic peoples. Today there are believed to be more than 4 million Chinese Muslims. One autonomous region, Ningxia Huizu, has been designated for Islamic adherents.
THE AGE OF PHILOSOPHIES • CONFUCIANISM • CONFUCIUS is a latinized form of the honorific title K'ung-fu-tzu (Master K'ung), given to a wandering scholar from the state of Lu in Shandong Province in northeastern China. Although little known in his lifetime, Confucius was revered as the greatest of sages throughout most of China's history. His teaching, Confucianism, was the state teaching from the beginning of the Han Dynasty in 202 BC to the end of the imperial period in 1911.
• Disturbed by constant warfare among the states, Confucius taught that most of the ills of society happened because people forgot their stations in life and rulers lost virtue. He advocated a return to the golden antiquity of the emperors Yao and Shun, when rulers were virtuous and people knew their places. Therefore, Confucius' primary concern lay in social relations, proper conduct, and social harmony.
• Confucius defined five cardinal relationships: between ruler and ruled, between husband wife, between parents and children, between older and younger brothers, and between friends. Except for the last case, all of the defined relationships are between superiors and inferiors. • He emphasized the complete obedience and loyalty of the inferior to the superior but also mentioned the benevolence of the superior to the inferior. • The ideal Confucian family was an extended one of three or four generations, in which authority rested with the elderly male members. Filial piety (obedience to parents) was one of the most important virtues emphasized by later Confucians.
• Confucius reportedly spent his last years editing and completing some of the books that came to be known as Five Classics. These include the `Classic of Poetry', `Classic of History', `Spring and Autumn Annals', `Record of Rites', and `Classic of Changes', or `I Ching'. Memorized by scholars for generations in China, these books and four other works, including the `Analects', a compilation of Confucian teachings, were the subjects of civil service examinations for over 2, 000 years. (See Confucius) • Confucianism commanded a greater following some 200 years later, during the time of Mencius, or Meng -tzu (371 -289 BC).
• Mencius was second only to Confucius himself in shaping Confucianism. • His three main tenets were the basic good nature of human beings, the notion of society with a distinct distribution of functions, and the ruler's obligation to the people. On the last point, Mencius elaborated on the concept of the mandate of heaven, which allows that rulers lose support of heaven when they cease to be virtuous. The concept served as the basis of revolts in China and the succession of new rulers.
MENICIUS MENG-TZU • The `Meng-tzu', meaning "Master Meng, " was written by the philosopher Mencius (a Latinized form of the name Meng-tzu) in the 4 th century BC. The work earned for its author the title of "second sage" in China. The book deals with government and asserts that the welfare of the people comes before all else. When a king no longer is good to the people, he should be removed--by revolution if necessary. Mencius, like Confucius, declared that filial piety was the foundation of society. One unusual doctrine that Mencius supported was that of the natural goodness of mankind, for which he found proof in the natural love children have for their parents.
• Two other philosophies that have had an enduring influence on Chinese thought are Taoism and Legalism. • Taoism gave the Chinese an alternative to Confucianism--passivity and escape to nature-while Legalism provided the Chinese state with one of its basic doctrines.
TAOISM • In the Chinese language the word tao means "way, " indicating a way of thought or life. There have been several such ways in China's long history, including Confucianism and Buddhism. In about the 6 th century BC, under the influence of ideas credited to a man named Lao-tzu, Taoism became "the way". Like Confucianism, it has influenced every aspect of Chinese culture. • Taoism began as a complex system of philosophical thought that could be indulged in by only a few individuals. In later centuries it emerged, perhaps under the influence of Buddhism, as a communal religion. It later evolved as a popular folk religion.
• Philosophical Taoism speaks of a permanent Tao in the way that some Western religions speak of God. • The Tao is considered unnamed and unknowable, the essential unifying element of all that is. Everything is basically one despite the appearance of differences. Because all is one, matters of good and evil and of true or false, as well as differing opinions, can only arise when people lose sight of the oneness and think that their private beliefs are absolutely true.
• This can be likened to a person looking out a small window and thinking he sees the whole world, when all he sees is one small portion of it. Because all is one, life and death merge into each other as do the seasons of the year. They are not in opposition to one another but are only two aspects of a single reality. The life of the individual comes from the one and goes back into it.
• The goal of life for a Taoist is to cultivate a mystical relationship to the Tao. Adherents therefore avoid dispersing their energies through the pursuit of wealth, power, or knowledge. By shunning every earthly distraction, the Taoist is able to concentrate on life itself. The longer the adherent's life, the more saintly the person is presumed to have become. Eventually the hope is to become immortal.
LAO-TZU (604? -531? BC). • Some people believe that only one man, Laotzu, wrote the most translated work in all the literature of China, the `Lao-Tzu' (also called `Tao-te Ching'). The book is the earliest document in the history of Taoism ("the Way"), one of the major philosophicalreligious traditions that, along with Confucianism, has shaped Chinese life and thought for more than 2, 000 years. It is a viewpoint that emphasizes individuality, freedom, simplicity, mysticism, and naturalness. (See Confucius)
• Knowledge of Lao-tzu is so scarce that only legends remain. His earliest biographer, who wrote in about 100 BC, relates that Lao-tzu lived in the district of Hu in present-day Henan Province during the Chou Dynasty (1122 -221 BC). • Presumably he worked in astrology and divination at the court of the emperor. The biographer tells of a meeting of Lao-tzu with the younger Confucius, which would mean Laotzu lived in about 500 BC. Another story says that he left China during the decline of the Chou Dynasty, and on his way west wrote the `Tao-te Ching', after which he disappeared. He was worshipped as an Imperial ancestor during the T'ang Dynasty (618 -907). Scholars today believe that the book cannot have been written by one man. Some of the sayings in it may date from the time of Confucius, while others are from a later period. It is possible that the name Lao-tzu represents a type of scholar and wise man, rather than one individual.
• ‘Tao-te Ching’ The ‘Tao-te Ching’, meaning "Classic of the Way of Power, " is one of the great works of ancient China not included among the Confucian Classics. • The presumed author, Lao-tzu, is considered to be the founder of Taoism. He may have been alive at the same time as Confucius but older. The book is not only significant philosophically, but it is also one of the most sacred scriptures of the Taoist religion. (See Lao-tzu)
CHUANG-TZU (4 th century BC), • Chinese philosopher, author, and teacher; classic work bears his name; influential in development of Chinese philosophy and religious thought; interpreted Taoism (from tao, "way") differently from Lao-tzu; Chuang-tzu taught that wise people accept the ebb and flow of life without attempting to challenge it; true enlightenment involves freeing oneself of traditions and personal goals that stand in the way of the mysterious, all-encompassing Tao.
• Communal religious Taoism is quite distinct from its philosophical counterpart. It emphasizes moral teachings and collective ceremonies. Good moral conduct is rewarded with health and long life, while bad conduct results in disease, death, and suffering in the afterlife. There is an array of gods who are administrators of the universe, of which they are a part. From these gods come revelations of sacred texts. There is an order of married priests who live in the communities they serve and perform exorcisms and complex rituals.
• Folk religion Taoism is part of the everyday lives of the people. The gods are intimately connected with each individual's life as bringers of calamities or givers of bountiful gifts. Each object of daily life has its presiding spirit that must be consulted and appeased. • All types of Taoism have in common the quest for a harmonious, well-ordered universe. They emphasize the individual's and the group's need for unity through mysticism, magic, and ceremony.
*LEGALISM • Legalism is a political philosophy synthesized by a philosopher named Han Fei. With an essential principle like "when the epoch changed, the ways changed", it upholds the rule of law and is thus a theory of jurisprudence. • A ruler should govern his subjects by the following trinity: • Fa (法 fa 3): law or principle. • Shu (术 shù): method, tactic, art, or statecraft. • Shi (势 shì): legitimacy, power, or charisma.
• Legalism was the chosen philosophy of the Qin Dynasty. It was blamed for creating a totalitarian society and thereby experienced decline. Its main motto is: "Set clear strict laws, or deliver harsh punishment". Both Shang Yang and Han Fei promoted the absolute adherence to the rule of law, regardless of the circumstances or the person. The ruler, alone, would possess the authority to dispense with rewards and punishments. Ministers were only to be rewarded if their words matched the results of their proposals, and punished if it did not; regardless if the results were worse or better than the claims. Legalism, in accordance with Han Fei's interpretation, could encourage the state to be a militaristic autarky.
• The philosophy was highly progressive, and extremely critical of the Confucian and Mohist schools. This would be used to justify Li Si's large scale persecutions of the other schools of thought during the Qin dynasty, and the invariable denunciation by Confucian scholars from the Han dynasty and onwards.
BUDDHISM • Although Buddhism first entered China from India during the Later Han, in the time of Han Ming Ti (AD 58 -76), it did not become popular until the end of the 3 rd century. The prevailing disorders, aggravated by barbarian invasions and the flight of northern Chinese to the south, heightened the attraction of Buddhism with its promise of personal salvation, despite its lack of affinity with the societyoriented thought of the Chinese. Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, a prince of the Sakya kingdom on the borders of what are now India and Nepal and a contemporary of Confucius. Intent on finding relief for human suffering, he received a moment of enlightenment while meditating under a Bo tree. The Buddha taught that desires are the source of pain, and that by overcoming desires, pain can be eliminated. To this end, he advocated meditation and pursuing the Eightfold Path, similar to the Ten Commandments of Judaism and Christianity. The objective was to reach Nirvana, the condition of serenity of spirit, where all cravings, strife, and pain have been overcome, giving way to a merging of the spirit with eternal harmony.
• At an early stage of its development, Buddhism split into two major trends, Mahayana (Greater Vehicle) and Hinayana (Lesser Vehicle). Hinayana remained closer to the original Buddhism and is still the religion of the Southeast Asian countries. The Buddhism of China, Korea, Japan, Nepal, Tibet, and Vietnam, however, stems largely from Mahayana Buddhism contained more popular elements, such as belief in repetitive prayers, heaven and deities--bodhisattvas-who would help people gain salvation. It also readily adapted to the land people it converted. In China, it split into several schools, including Ch'an (Zen in Japan), T'ien-t'ai (Tendai in Japan), and Pure Land.
Ch'an [or Zen] Buddhism • Through his popular book `The Way of Zen' (1957), the British-born American philosopher Alan Watts introduced Americans to the Zen school of Buddhism, which has a long tradition of development in China and Japan. Zen (Ch'an in Chinese) is a Japanese term meaning "meditation. " It is a major school of Japanese Buddhism that claims to transmit the spirit of Buddhism, or the total enlightenment as achieved by the founder of the religion, the Buddha (See Buddha; Buddhism).
• Zen has its basis in the conviction that the world and its components are not many things. They are, rather, one reality. The one is part of a larger wholeness to which some people assign the name of God. Reason, by analyzing the diversity of the world, obscures this oneness. It can be apprehended by the nonrational part of the mind--the intuition. Enlightenment about the nature of reality comes not by rational examination but through meditation. • Meditation has been an integral part of Buddhism from the beginning. Nevertheless, a school of meditation grew up in India and was taken to China by Bodhidharma about AD 520. When the meditation school arrived in China, it had a strong foundation on which to build: Taoism, the ancient Chinese religion (See Taoism). This religion is based on the idea that there is one underlying reality called the Taoists, like the followers of the meditation school, exalted intuition over reason. This Taoist tradition was easily absorbed by the Chinese meditation school, the Ch'an.
• Within two centuries the meditation school had divided into two factions: Northern Ch'an and Southern Ch'an. The northern school, a short-lived affair, insisted on a doctrine of gradual enlightenment. The southern school, which became dominant, held to a doctrine of instantaneous enlightenment. • The southern school evolved under the powerful influence of Hui-neng (638 -713), who is recognized as the sixth great patriarch of Zen and the founder of its modern interpretation. In a sermon recorded as the "Platform Scripture of the Sixth Patriarch, " he taught that all people possess the Buddha nature and that one's nature (before and after being born) is originally pure. Instead of undertaking a variety of religious obligations to seek salvation, one should discover one's own nature. The traditional way to do this, sitting in meditation, is useless. If one perceives one's own nature, enlightenment will follow suddenly.
• The goal of adherents of the southern Ch'an is to gain transcendental, or highest, wisdom from the depths of one's unconscious, where it lies dormant. Ch'an tries to attain enlightenment without the aid of common religious observances: study, scriptures, ceremonies, or good deeds. Reaching the highest wisdom comes as a breakthrough in everyday logical thought. Followers are urged to find within themselves the answer to any question raised within because the answer is believed to be found where the question originates. Training in the methods of meditation leading to such an enlightenment is best transmitted from master to disciple.
• Ch'an flourished in China during the T'ang and Sung dynasties (960 -1279), and its influences were strongly felt in literature and painting. Ch'an declined during the Ming era (1141 -1215), when Ch'an masters took up the practice of trying to harmonize meditation with the study of traditional scriptures. • Meanwhile, sects of Zen had been transplanted to Japan. The Rinzai school was taken there in 1191 by the priest Enzai (1141 -1215), and the Soto tradition arrived in 1227, taken there by Dogen (1200 -53), the most revered figure in Japanese Zen. These schools had their origin in China during the 9 th century, when Ch'an divided into five sects that differed from each other in minor ways.
• The Rinzai sect evolved from the work of Lin-chi (died 866), who was an exponent of sudden enlightenment. The Soto was founded by Liang-chieh (died 869) and Pen-chi (died 901). The Soto stressed quiet sitting in meditation to await enlightenment. A third group, the Obaku, was established in 1654. The Obaku school is closer to the Rinzai tradition except for its emphasis on invoking the name of Buddha. • Zen gained an enthusiastic following among the Samurai warrior class and became in effect the state religion in the 14 th and 15 th centuries. In the 16 th century Zen priests were diplomats and administrators, and they enhanced cultural life as well. Under their influence literature, art, the cult of the tea ceremony, and the No drama developed.
• The focal point of Zen is the monastery, where masters and pupils interact in the search for enlightenment. A newcomer arrives at a monastery with a certificate showing that he is a regularly ordained disciple of a priest. • He is at first refused entry. Finally being admitted, he spends a few days of probation being interviewed by his master. When he is accepted he is initiated into the community life of humility, labor, service, prayer and gratitude, and meditation.
Centered on Man and Stressed on Deeds • “The fundamental goal shall be established for Heaven and Earth; the subsistence shall be granted to the living public; the learning advocated by the past sages shall be inherited; and the social fortunes and peaceful order shall be elongated for upcoming generations. ” • ----Zhang Zai (from the Song Dynasty)
• The Chinese nation is a general term comprising many a nationality, which had molded a comparatively complete system of philosophy of their own toward the decline of the Spring- Autumn Period leaving an impressive footprint over the history of the Chinese culture, the Eastern Asian culture and even the global culture.
• The traditional philosophies in question roughly progressed through the various phases below: • 1) The Pre-Qin Period when the inchoate occurrence of ancient philosophical views was being staged, the primeval religions were being unceasingly disrupted and a flock of schools was successively looming up, the Hundred Schools period—the brand new scientific concepts took root in the minds of the philosophers to the effect that they could be wielded to recognize the universe while the rapidly growing natural sciences dissented slowly with philosophy, forming an independent discipline.
• 2) The Wei-Jin Period that was characterized by a newly-born ideology Metaphysics that, incorporated from Confucianism and Taoism and based on certain classics such as the Book of Changes, the Book of Master Lao and the Book of Master Zhuang, laid down its priority upon a group of propositions
• “Existence vs Nonexistence, ”“Essentials vs Nonessentials”, “Words vs Ideas, ” “Fundamentals vs Practices” and “Logic vs Nature. ” The argumentation and disputes involving these views enriched the Chinese philosophy, motivated the scholastic atmosphere and heightened the reflective aptitude sharpening the Chinese thinking.
• 3) The Sui-Tang period when Buddhism gained momentum that attached due consideration to the relationship between the subjective and the objective, particularly the scrutiny of spiritual phenomenon related to the retrospection of human reasoning and the perception of the universe and human beings, maintaining that man and nature were omnipresent in a high degree of wisdom.
• 4) The Way doctrine in the Song-Ming period that was recognized a neo-Confucianism derivative of Taoism and Buddhism. It had furthered the Confucianism system thinking highly of natural sciences, emphasizing such propositions as Grand Terminus, Yin vs Yang (the positive and the negative), Mind vs Disposition with such a thinking pattern as “Heaven-Man-Learning, ” concentrating a due concern on the nature of human beings. The Way doctrine was amalgamated from many sects that contended and debated mutually, proceeding to the upgraded realm.
• 5) The Ming-Qing period when the philosophy was on the way to the “selfexamination, ” paying tribute to the current social affairs or pragmatism and creation of philosophical views. The scholars living in this period were profoundly erudite and well versed in philosophy.
I. The Incipient Wisdom Sparked by the Pre-Qin Philosophers • The Spring-Autumn Period and the Warring States Period were challenged by the radical emancipation, the giant leap and the adventurous exploration in Chinese cognition with scores of philosophers sparked with the incipient spiritual wisdom. Confronted with the day when the rites and ceremonies collapsed, unrest and upheaval set in and dukes or princes struggled against one another in pursuit of supremacy, certain scholars became profoundly distressed with the happenings putting forward their viewpoints to redeem the world from disorder. • Some traveled across the different kingdoms devoting the political plans to the warlords; some concealed themselves in an academic circle collecting disciples and diffusing their teachings; and some retreated in seclusion writing books or expounding doctrines.
• There sprang up a succession of philosophical schools: Confucianism, Taoism, Mo Doctrine, Legalists, Yin-yang Doctrine contending for their own systematic viewpoints in philosophy and politics, laying down a sound ideological basis for Chinese philosophy. • The talents of those ancient sages were brilliantly mirrored in the philosophical views in the Pre-Qin Period that comprised respectively of the noble realm “Heaven and Man Combined into One”, the moral concept holding harmony as highly exalted, the broad bosom of “The Benevolent Love Man”, the humble behavior code “ Restraining Myself and Restoring Rites”, the viewpoint of the ever-changing world and the Mean preferring the flexible policy to two extreme ends, all shining with sagacity and being an invaluable spiritual treasure to the present day.
• In the light of the relationship between Heaven and Man there existed three opinions: “Heaven and Man Combined into One”, “Heaven and Man Separated Apart” and “ Man Joined in Heaven and Earth”. The first weighed on the natural laws and the human nature, and the harmonious union between Heaven, Earth and man, which was exclusively interpreted by Mencius and Master Zhuang etc. Menfucius proposed “ Exercising the mind to know human nature and Heaven” advocating that human nature and natural laws were integrated , and that human mind was the perceived subject; if man could exercise the mind, he or she was capable of comprehending their own nature, accordingly aware of Heaven since man was endowed with the nature by Heaven. In this case, Heaven was proclaimed as both the supreme dictator and the decisive imperative law.
• Master Zhuang also appreciated Heaven and Man Combined into One, holding it as the supreme realm that “ Heaven lives together with Me, and Nature and Me are alloyed into One” (On Nature from the Book of Master Zhuang). The second opinion “Heaven and Man Separated Apart” emphasized the distinction between Nature and Human Deeds reflecting that the positive human behavior should be directed to change Earth, Master Xun remaining the representative. He defied the fact that Heaven was bestowed upon such consciousness as man, which could exercise power over the auspicious, the ominous, the disastrous and the fortunate in human life, instead arguing that Heaven existed in the appearance of materials or nature. He wrote, “Heaven is in progress; Earth is rich in resources; and man is in undertakings. ”
• The third one “Man Joined in Heaven and Earth” pointed out that man could participate in the transformation of nature on condition that the natural law was both differentiated from and united with the human nature. The Doctrine of the Mean submitted a systematic articulation of the view aforesaid: “Able to give its full development to the nature of other men, he can give their full development to the nature of animals and things. • Able to give their full development to the nature of creatures and things, he can assist the transformation and nourishing powers of Heaven and Earth. Able to assist the transformation and nourishing powers of Heaven and Earth, he may with Heaven and Earth form a ternion.
• In respect of morality the philosophy in the Pre-Qin Period there emerged a consequential presentation of such ideas as “The Benevolent Love Man”, “Harmony as Highly Prized”, “Five Ethics” and “Ten Aspects of Righteousness. ” “ Benevolence” arising from “ The Benevolent Love Man” was acclaimed to be the supreme moral code constituted by Confucius, the nucleus resting on “ Love Man”, that is to say, showing due concern and reverence to others. In a broader sense “Benevolence” was laden with reverence, generosity, trust, sensitivity, virtuousness, intelligence, gallantry, loyalty, forbearance and filial piety. • The elementary principle and approach to practice Benevolence was to abide by “ the moral of loyalty and forbearance” , i. e. , “ Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others. ”
• (Yong Ye from the Analects) as well as “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. ” (Wei Ling Gong, ibid) Master Mo proposed “Love Each Other”, advocating a general love as you do for yourself in case of combining “ Love Each Other” with “Benefit Each Other” before the goal of “ Love Each Other” would be realized. • The “Harmony” out of “Harmony as Highly Prized” made reference to the harmonious unification among a medley of things. Confucian scholars and disciples held that “The superior man is affable, but not adulatory; the mean is adulatory, but not affable” (Zi Lu, ibid), regarding “Harmony” as a code to handle interpersonal relationship. Master You said, “In practicing the rules of propriety, Harmony is to be prized. ”(Xue Er, ibid) obviously reaffirming Harmony as the core of values to bear all social institutions.
• Mencius argued, “Opportunities of time vouch saved by Heaven are not equal to advantages of situation afforded by the Earth, and advantages of situation afforded by the Earth are not equal to the union arising from the accord of Men. ” (Gong Sun Chou Part II, from The Book of Mencuis) He laid down stress on “the union arising from the accord of Men” served to be the ultimate factor of success. The view “Harmony” was intended to treat positively the differences, discrepancies and contradictions occurring in the natural things and human communities, assisting the individual in playing an active role and attaining the social harmony and progress on such basis as a whole, which has long been cherished as the nucleus of Chinese values.
• “Five Ethics”, in line with Mencius, was referred to as the five elementary ethical relations “father vs son, the superior vs the inferior, husband vs wife, elder brother vs younger brother, and between friends” The ten characters therein should be required for anyone to perform the essential ethical code, otherwise nominated or dubbed as “Ten Aspects of Righteousness”.
• One of Chinese classics entitled Li Yun in the Book of Rites delivered an articulate assertion hereof: “Father should be affectionate and son filial; elder brother should be kind and the younger loving; husband should be righteous and wife obedient; the senior should be generous and the junior catering; the superior should be benevolent and the inferior loyal. ” The Aspects of Righteousness” laid emphasis upon the mutual connection between the rights and the obligations relating to the ten characters, as being on the contrary to the case proceeding ever from the Han Dynasty onwards that one character should absolutely be subject to the other.
• With regard to the thinking style the philosophy thereof embodied the dialectical thinking susceptible of the all-round style, the changing style, the reverse style and the mean style. • The Integral Concept functioned as the major concern to Confucianism, Taoism, Logicians and the Yin-Yang School who maintained that the universe was an integral body, and so was the same case of Man and natural phenomena. Therefore people were required to make sense of the integral prior to being acquainted with the partial.
• All the philosophical schools in question held that in the universe was available nothing unvarying and that the nature and the human society were plunged in the cycle of changes. Upon standing by a river, Confucius ever sighed, “It passes on just like this, not ceasing day or night！”; Master Lao remarked his book, “Since Heaven and Earth can not endure long, how can Man survive persistently? ” • By means of the Reverse view, they also offered a paraphrase of the sources and rules of changing things, which deemed anything as an antithesis with two ends interrelated with each other.
• The maxims “Fortune lies within mishap; mishap lies within fortune, ” and “ when things are damaged, it may do good to them ; when things are benefited, it may do harm to them. ” provided exemplars to demonstrate the unity of opposites as a fundament law in the universe. The Chinese military canon The Arts of War by Master Sun was charged with plenty of cases in accordance with the Reverse view, where an elaborate discussion was conducted concerning a series of antitheses such as peace vs commotion, gallantry vs cowardice, strength vs weakness, the numerous vs the scant, stationing vs mobility that could be altered in a reverse way under certain circumstances. The well-quoted phrase “Being aware of enemy and you, you can triumph consecutively” is another proof hereto.
• Confucius commended the Mean as the perfect virtue, saying “Perfect is the virtue which is according to the Constant Mean. Rare for a long time has been its practice among the people. ” (Yong Ye from The Analects); meanwhile he acclaimed the Mean as a thinking style expecting the people to “practice the Mean at times” and “practice the Mean in specific cases. ” II. Characteristics of Chinese Philosophy • Chinese philosophy has stood out as one instance of the philosophical genre that has been surging in an independent course with its own characteristics in the sea of world philosophy. In the first place Chinese philosophy was inaugurated during the Pre-Qin Period and has been in remote antiquity that fell within the few that had attained a high degree compared with the rivals occurring in other civilizations in the same historic stage.
• Nourished from the long-run leading sciences and technology across the global sphere as well as the comparative stability of the feudal monarchy, Chinese philosophy had been molded into the long-established high-state order of the feudal society based upon the philosophical tradition handed down from the Shang. Zhou Dynasties. Consequently it doesn’t sound queer that Chinese philosophy had outgrown its alien peers scattered elsewhere on the globe. In the second place Chinese philosophy was chiefly fused with the Study of Classics other than theology. Though derived from the traditional concept Destined by Heaven, it had affixed prior concern to this-world, not to that-world concentrating on moral discipline in stead of religious sermon.
• There appeared some materialistic-inclined ideologists who thought highly of themselves as “philosophical orthodox” and waged an assault at the religious theology. In another aspect Chinese philosophy was engaged in close connection with ethics, of which ontology and epistemology penetrated into the study of morality featuring a pronounced ethical color. In the Pre-Qin Period Confucianism, Taoism, Moism and Legalism confirmed without exception the Heavenly Way as theoretical foundation of their respective ethics. From the Qin-Han Dynasties on Confucianism had been esteemed the orthodox among the varied philosophical schools, for whose Three Disciplines and Five Constants both the view Heaven Interacted with Man held by Dong Zhongshu and another proposition “Confucian Rites Born From Nature” by Wang Bi executed a demonstration in their own ontological standpoints.
• Such merger of ontology, epistemology and the study of morality seemed even more striking in the Way Doctrine prevailing in the Song-Ming Dynasties. Zhang Zai regarded Gas as the origin of the universe, propagandizing the benevolent spirit under the slogan of “People are my compatriots, so are things. ” Double Chen (Chen Hao and Chen Yi) and Zhu Xi acknowledged Heavenly Way as the ontology, affirming it the supreme principle of human conduct. • Regarding the thinking style Chinese philosophy was inclined to the integral, the inherent and the inheritable. It was rich in the plain thinking tradition of dialectics, of which a bench of the philosophers exercised varied terms, for instance, “The Reverse of the Way is Motion” by Master Lao, “Yin interacted with Yang makes the Way” in the Book of Changes, “One Thing Separated into Two Bodies, ” or “One Divided into Two and Two Blended into One” by the scholars pertaining to the Way Doctrine.
• In their minds the evolving course of the universe was transformed into a series of generation and change whereas such couples of the concepts as Heaven vs Earth, Man vs Nature, Motion vs Stillness, Form vs Spirit were defined into antitheses that are both differentiated from and integrated with each other. • Chinese philosophy maintains a scope of specific concepts of its own: Way, Vigor, Principle, Spirit, Emptiness, Trustworthiness, Knowledge, Fundamental, Practice, Grand Terminus (Supreme Ultimate), and Yin-yang (the Negative vs the Positive), all incorporating the wit of Chinese philosophers.
III. Quintessence of Chinese Philosophical Ideology • Considering the quintessence of the Chinese philosophical ideology there was available an overwhelming viewpoint that proclaimed “Central” as the nucleus concept of Chinese philosophy. Distinguished as Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism were in expounding it due to their various ambitions and ideals, they invariably identified the supreme realm perceived by the individual “Mind” as the cardinal indicator, which appeared as the “Sole Knowledge” generated from “Mind” in accord with the natural things.
• The proposition hereof declared that the archeological findings in etymology made no secret of a complicated source of the word “Central”.
• The Explanation and Study of the Principle of Composition & Characters, a philological masterpiece written by Xu Shen in Han Dynasty interpreted “Central”: “Central (中) refers to Inside. From “口”and “ 1”, it is combined. ” The “Inside” in this case is in contrast to “Outside”. Relevantly there came another momentous connotation, “Location in Center”. The conception Center in location is further more advanced than the conception Central relating to Inside and Outside in epistemology. The birth and evolution of the conception Center dates back to an intriguing phenomenon that Yellow, one of the earth colors in the topography of China had been linked to the location Center and the Polestar established as the universal center in astronomy. . Yellow is claimed to be the basic skin color of Chinese nation, equally the earth color of Cathay where the Central Plains lies at the geographical center.
• Conspicuously Yellow appeared sacred and mysterious in the ancient times, and the Doctrine of Yin-Yang and Five Elements, which adopted it as the color of the center, was the prototype of the ideological system thereof, wherein the ultimate conception of Center was concealed within the representation of Yellow. • Anywhere in Chinese philosophical classics could be beheld the diction and connotation of “Central”. The nuclei concepts involved in the Doctrine of the Mean were: the Golden Mean, the Harmonious Mean, the Constant Mean and the Adherent Mean, which were sponsored by the Pre-Qin Confucianism headed by Confucius not only as a view relating to the universe, methodology and a moral state, but as an embodiment of Confucian ethics and aesthetic ideas.
• “The Golden Mean” was derived from Yong Ye of The Confucian Analects: “Perfect is the virtue which is according to the Constant Mean. Rare for a long time has been its practice among the people. ” Out of 中庸 (the Mean) in Chinese, “中” refers to Central or Unbiased; “庸 ” refers to constant, ordinary and applicable. Confucius himself abode by the Mean as a “Perfect Virtue” by his deeds and statements: “The Master was mild, and yet dignified; majestic and yet not fierce. ” (Shu Er of The Confucian Analects) was applicable in coping with interpersonal relations; “The philosopher Ji Wen thinks before he conducts; on hearing it the Master said, “Do it again, that is good. ” in handling human affairs; and “In practicing the rules of propriety, harmony is to be prized” (Xue Er of The Confucian Analects) in governing the states.
• The core and essentials incarnated in Confucius’ Constant Mean lie in that you shall not go beyond the Mean and not fail to reach the Mean, which serves as the bench mark installed in the Doctrine of the Mean for inheritance and development of Confucianism. • The first chapter in the Doctrine of Mean presents a distinct definition of “中”(Central): “While there are no stirrings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, the mind may be said to be in the state of “mean. ” Related to “中” was another nuclei concept Harmony hereto: “This “mean” is the great root where grow all the human actions in the world, and the “harmony” is the universal path which they all should pursue. Let the states of Mean and Harmony coexist in perfection, and happy order will prevail throughout Heaven and Earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish. ”
• This definition conferred upon the Golden Mean with a new connotation “Harmonious Mean” had been upgraded as the determining code of Heaven and Earth and all things, and as the eventual aim of moral cultivation. The gist conceived therein lies in “Constant Mean” and “Adherent Mean. ” • The second chapter in the Doctrine of the Mean quoted Confucius as saying “The superior man embodies the course of the Mean; the vulgar man acts contrary to the course of the Mean. The superior man follows the course of the Mean because he is a superior man, and so practice the Mean in times. The vulgar man acts contrary to the course of the Mean simply because he is a vulgar man, having no caution. ”
• Under such circumstances “Constant Mean“, contrary to “Having no caution”, distinctly arrests a trace of “having caution”, implying that one can conduct something, and yet can not conduct something else, as being the pivot that was reflected in the purpose of the Mean that you shall not go beyond the Mean and not fail to reach the Mean in daily behaviors. • The proposition of such four concepts as Golden Mean, Harmonious Mean, Constant Mean and Adherent Mean in emerging out of the Doctrine of the Mean had placed the concept “Middle” on the nuclei position in Confucianism. This “Middle” not only referred to certain individual subjective state, or the intrinsic sentiment awaiting to burst, but also the norm and code embodied in the individual extrinsic speeches and deeds in the social life. The two aspects were to be incorporated into one: the “Middle” within human mind functioned as a prerequisite for the “Middle” in human behavior or vice versa.
• The Book of Changes was deemed another crucial origin relating to the “Middle”, wherein the term “Middle” made an exhibition as frequently as 119 times ( exclusive of the Zhong Fu or Inmost Sincerity as the name of the linear signs), the majority of them being included in the Commentaries. The essential concepts in connection with the “Middle” in the Commentaries exhibited an elongated inventory: “Mean Justice, ” “Mean Resoluteness, ” “Mean Conduct”, “Mean Thrifty”, “Mean Gains”, “Mean Way”, “Mean Auspiciousness”, “Mean Softness” and “Inmost Sincerity” as the name of the linear signs. The “Central” embedded in the linear sign system was originally coupled with a specific reference to the “Central Position” and “Central Text”.
• Instead in Taoism that shared a common cultural source with Confucianism, the “Middle” in question did not weigh as a nuclei concept, differentiated from the “Golden Mean” and “Harmonious Mean” held therein. The “Middle” in Taoism incarnated roughly four connotations: the beginning was concerned with the rules of things, the “Middle” meaning “Correct” or the correct way applicable in handling affairs; the next was involved in the change of things, the “Central” hinting “Limit” wherein human behaviors shall be checked and constrained; the third related to space, the “Middle” indicating “Nothingness” which, in pursuance to Taoism, was supposed to be observed in daily life and to bear life and opportunities; the concluding touched upon time and space, the “Middle” being converted into “Opportunity”; specifically “Take opportunities in proper time” and “Have no alternative but to take the decisive extreme act. ”
• In the Book of Master Lao can be disclosed the relevant articulate remarks: “The Way of Heaven, damages the surplus and supplement the scant. ”(Chapter 77, ibid), “Being aware of satisfaction, you will not meet insult; being aware of stopping, you will not meet danger. ” (Chapter 44) and “The Way, applied in the Mean, will not limited in use. ” (Chapter 4, ibid). The “Middle” advocated by Master Lao maintained the implication the “Middle Emptiness”, a concept of Nothingness, an embodiment of the Way. Adherence to “Middle” was justifiably equivalent to adherence to “Way”. Accordingly, “Deprived of private sentiment and desire and deterring to the Mean Harmony, you will step into the entrance to the Way”. It proves true that the essential gist of Taoism was ingrained in “adherence to the Mean to achieve Harmony”.
• In Buddhist studies the core relating to “Middle” was the so-called the “Mean Way” or Madhyamapractipad that, though repeatedly utilized by Confucianism as a synonym to the “Mean Conduct” contending for a mean and fair behavior, retained a specific implication in the Buddhist canons of Chinese version. In the history of Buddhism there existed a miscellany of distinct comprehension governing the “Mean Way”. Hinayana Doctrine or the Little Vehicle usually strove for virtues in compliance with “Eight Fair Ways” or recognized “Twelve Causes” as the “Mean Way”. The School of Mahayana Doctrine or the Greater Vehicle adapted “Eight Non. Mean Ways” to “the Mean Way”; instead the Yogacara Sect of Mahayana Doctrine regarded Non-Emptiness and Non-Being as the “Mean Way”. Regardless of the varied interpretations hereto, “the Mean Way” was universally reaffirmed as the supreme truth in Buddhism, paralleling with Dharma, Buddha and so forth. Of these doctrines the “Mean Way” held by the Mean-Held School claimed to be the prototype.
• The view of the “Mean Way” was treated as the nuclei structure in Prajna Doctrine of Buddhism. The Prajna, a Sanscrit term, conveyed the conception of the Non-Distinction, the Emptiness, the Mean Way, the Two-Truths and the negative-state thinking approach and so on. The theoretic nucleus of the Mean-Held School was established on the basis of “The Mean Way” or Madhyamapractipad as a peculiar thinking style. Viewed with the School, everything in the world depended on certain circumstances, no substance of which failed to be in the changing course. Long Shu designated this type of being as “Emptiness”, further arguing that this “ Emptiness” could not mistaken for “Nonexistence”; on the contrary it was as sort of being so vague as not to be portrayed, the foremost arrangement and origin of everything.
• While employing the view to things, people could not be constrained to both sides of “Existence” and “Nonexistence”; in turn they arrive at the Mean Way consisting of “Non-existence, Nonnonexistence, Non-Nonexistence, and Non-Nonnonexistence, ” that is, a supreme existence indistinguishable in language and unvoiced in concept. A penetrating exposition of this ideology was presented in On Madhyamapractipad (On the Mean), a representative work of the Mean. Held School; “Dharma was generated from all principal and subsidiary causes; I hold Emptiness as my doctrine. It sounds only a pseudonym referring to the Mean Way. ” (A Glimpse on Four Essences)
• In conclusion, even though the “Mean” was reckoned meaningful in ontology by Confucianism, a prime importance was fastened to its application or “Adherent Mean”, which was incarnated in “Practicing Goodwill” in the secular world; the “Mean” assumed by Taoism sounded more pragmatic in methodology contemplating that the awareness of the “Way”(the philosophical essence) would give access to the realm of transcending the worldly society and becoming deities. And the “Mean Way” permeated into Buddhism seemed to be even more comprehensive and elaborate wherein linger both the essence and methodology, and the philosophical gist of the Mean was structured in the Mean Way of The Prajna Doctrine. There is a certainty that the “Mean” imbued in Chinese philosophy, consisting of such core concepts as “Golden Mean”, “Harmonious Mean”, “Constant Mean”, “Adherent Mean” and “Mean Way”, was implanted in the three systems of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, as renders the “Mean” remarkably different in implications.
CHAPTER 3 Miraculous, Mysterious & Sacred —The Patriarchal Traditional Religions • “All land under Heaven never fails to belong to Emperor; all ministers on Land never fail to be His subjects”, which was the conception of the imperial power in Chinese traditional culture. Consequently everything, of course, inclusive of all religious institutions, had been obliged to be subjugated and to be in service to the royal sovereignty. Any religion or ideological system must have been authorized by the secular monarchs, as being virtually the norm of prime importance, for the more an ideological system had been confirmed, appraised, supported and endorsed by the authorities, the more easily it would sound a religion.
• As regards humans, whether communities or individuals, religion seems permanently a ghost that can never be dismissed anyway as well as an intimate partner that is greeted in awe by the masses being afraid of its departure. Confucianism, in China, had been superior to Buddhism and Taoism with other minor ones as supplements. Each school of secular moral teaching complexes conceived both a religion and a branch of philosophy. Take an example of Confucianism, when considered a religion, it was a traditional patriarchal religion with the Lord of Heaven worshipped; when accepted a branch of learning, it was Confucian philosophy. Usually traditional patriarchal religions were packed with a large stock of religious creeds but no learning while Confucian philosophy appeared scholastic, but without religious flavor. Buddhism was classified internally into Buddhist religion and Buddhist studies; Taoism consisted of Taoist religion and Taoist philosophers.
• Given a philosophical diagnosis to the traditional philosophies, Confucianism stood as the philosophy of patriarchal religion; Taoism served to be the aim to individualism pursued by the perceiver of patriarchal religious power; and Buddhism unveiled a taciturn world of the daily life being shared by the populace under the rule of patriarchal political and religious complex. Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism were none other than the packing of patriarchal religions.
• Traditional Religions Influential in China • Whether the ancient China was a religious country or a secular community has remained a puzzle in the long run, but it seems certain that exclusively a scant cluster of people agreed to the view “Confucianism is a religion. ” However, Mr. Ren Jiyu, the director of China National Library, contended that “Confucianism shall be rated as a specific traditional religion of Chinese nation. Any traditional religions that ever existed in China, any nationalities that eve survived on this ancient land…, and all the dynasties adored Confucianism as the national religion, and esteemed Confucius as the master of the religion. …Confucianism, taking advantage of the merger of the political influence and the religious doctrine, had grown into the national religion, in which the religious power and imperial sovereignty were amalgamated and could never be dissected. ”
• Over the history of China Confucianism made appearance as a traditional religion system incorporated with divinities, sacrificial rites and Confucian learning “Lord” was worshipped as the supreme god and it had been a prevalent conviction that those individuals would be sublimated to be deities after death who “tamed people by virtues and founded states by wit and energy, ” and “resisted natural catastrophe and defended states by defeating invaders”. For instance, Liu Zongyuan, a renowned statesman and writer in the Tang Dynasty, was conferred upon a title of deity after his demise. The cardinal principle deferred to in Confucianism was “Man. Deity-Way” that required individuals’ appropriate behavior and sacrificial ceremonies and rites to deities be dissolved.
• Confucianism advocated the governing of civilians and Mencius in the Warring States Period proposed “Masters should be required to administer states. ” Later in the Han Dynasty prevailed the atmosphere “Confucianism should solely be adored” with Confucius as the master laying down the foundation for the formation of Confucianism as a religion.
• Confucius had traveled through the kingdoms and disseminated his teachings to a huge circle of disciples so as to furnish a theoretical basis for the political-religious patriarchal religion. His attitude toward “Rites” betrayed in profile his piety to a patriarchal religion. “Yan Yuan asked about perfect virtue. The Master said: “To subdue oneself and return to propriety is perfect virtue. If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, all under Heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him. Is the practice of perfect virtue from a man himself, or is it from others？”.
• In other phrase, as long as all people could subdue or restrain their own desires and behave in conformity with the social conduct code specified in the Rites of the Zhou Dynasty, all the world would progress into perfect harmony. The term “Rites” in etymology sounded highly religious; for this matter Confucius converted “Rites” to “Propriety” that seemed to cover a wider range of connotations, including such superstructures as social institutions, political establishments and social order.
• “Perfect Virtue” was the most controversial and the most typical concept in Confucianism. Exclusively in a short anthology of The Confucian Analects appeared “Perfect Virtue” for 66 times wherein “Noble-minded people would not stain Perfect Virtue to survive life, and would rather die to retain Perfect Virtue”, “The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest, are near to Virtue. ” (Zi Lu of The Confucian Analects), “Fine words and insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue. ” (Xu Eer of The Confucian Analects), and “It is the truly virtuous man, who can love, or who can hate others” (Li Ren of The Confucian Analects), all of which projected Confucius’ outlook on “Perfect Virtue. ”
• “Human characters are similar” raised incipiently by Confucius was the ontological basis of the identity involved in the human behavior code, matched with a methodological criterion “Aptitude can be obtained from examples nearby”, affirming the basic orientation in the exposition of human characters by Confucianism. Mencius accomplished the preliminary undertaking in respect with the exposition aforesaid by differentiating the sages from the magnitude. The Confucian proposition regarding human nature fabricated the identity by which all humans should be compatible with one another, the harmonious union out of which was condemned to serve political aims, whereupon surely bringing forth a divergence principle.
• No matter what divergence occurred between emperors ad subjects, and no matter what discrepancies crept up between the sacred and the mortal, they were in parallel the inherent embodiment of the harmony thereof. This is the logical structure of the widely-acknowledged religious ideologies. Confucianism succeeded in creating the religion that was not entitled by any religious terms, as being a great invention in China and the unique of the genre throughout the world. • The two divergent orientations in Confucianism, after Confucius, were inherited by Mencius and Master Xun. Dong Zhongshu, an official philosopher in the Han Dynasty, used to conceive an idea of transforming Confucianism into a sheer religion outright, but his great ambition failed as a result of the conflict arising between the traditional patriarchal religion and itself.
• Taoism took a native root in China, an incarnation of the national spirit of Chinese people as its counterpart aforesaid. Lu Xun proclaimed that“if someone is eager to apprehend Chinese history and culture at a profound level, he or she must resort to Taoism, and accordingly must place priority on its source and development. ” • Upon the basis of the ancient Chinese religious beliefs, it emerged featuring the ideology and conviction of the Han nationality. Originated out of the witchcraft and sacrificial ceremonies to deities in the Shang (Yin) Dynasty and the necromancers who prayed in search of elixir from the Warring States period to the Qin-Han Dynasties, it assimilated in the proceeding course the nourishment from the Yin-Yang & Five-Element Doctrine, Taoism and Confucianism, incorporating the worship for ghosts and deities, the alchemy and the ancient philosophical propositions into a whole in order that it sounded theoretic as a theology of Taoism in possession of complex content.
• During the reign of Emperor Shun of the Eastern Han Dynasty Taoism was instituted by Zhang Ling, a celebrity from Feng County in Pei Kingdom who was respectfully referred to as Zhang Daoling, which valued “Dao” (Way) as the paramount belief, otherwise nominated “Metaphysical Religion” or “Celestial Dao”. Taoism respected Master Lao as the founder, venerably called the Greatest Superior Man. There were no uncertainties in the minds of its disciples that “Dao” worked as the source of things and changes in the universe, which were reversely derived from “Dao”.
• Taoism held it the purpose that anyone could be raised celestial or immortal and would become conscious of Dao provided that the longing for the celestial and the belief in Dao (Way) were combined, believing that by psycho cultivation man could live as free and unfettered as the celestial deities with life and Dao blended into eternity, thus molding a consummate belief system. A Double-Life View sprouted therein that “My life is cherished by the Celestial Dao” and “My life belongs to Me, not to Heaven and Earth”. The knack of psycho-cultivation was veiled in the Double Cultivation, i. e. , the cultivation of one’s character, and the exercising of one’s life.
• Taoism revered the Yellow Emperor, a legendary originator of Chinese nation, as the master of great learning and integrity, having inherited and adhered to the national tradition of offering sacrifices to deities and devoting veneration to ancestors, and having pushed it onto a conventional and religious way. The deities worshipped in Taoism ranged from the Lord in Heaven to the gods and goddesses on Earth, and from the ancestors of Cathay to the sages and devoted disciples over the history. • Toward the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty sprang up the organized religion of Taoism tracing from the two religious schools, the Celestial Witchcraft and Huang-Lao Doctrine (in the name of the Yellow Emperor Huang-ti and Master Lao), which gained circulation among the populace. Having derived the official support in the Wei-Jin Period, it elbowed its way into the upper class.
• From the Sui-Tang Dynasties to the Northern Song Dynasty, the religion was in the ascending phase, its status highly raised, when the large scale abbeys and temples loomed up everywhere in the country, a herd of scholars relating to Taoism came up in succession and a mammoth library of the scriptures concerned were compiled and stored. Later from the Southern Song Dynasty to the mid-Ming period it rolled on with an aid of the sovereigns; however occurred the discrepancies among the various sects that were historically ingrained in the military confrontation between the Jin Dynasty and the Yuan Dynasty as well as the resulting national conflicts.
• Embittered in the interior and on the border, the imperial court had no more strength to continue the financial assistance to it. After the entry of Manchu cavalry into the Great Wall the new ruling bloc developed no interest in Taoism, which, on account of the loss of political support, was compelled to be transferred from the literati to the populace, and then gradually withdrew into a secret religious gang. • Ever since the Eastern Han Dynasty down to the present day there has been accumulated an enormous ocean of the scriptures in that issue. The Reserves of Taoism, an aggregate anthology of its canons, was rivaled by a wide range of literatures regarding commandments, scientific apparatus, magic figures, psycho-cultivation, physical exercise, medicine, pharmacy, alchemy and the principal works of some scholars, acting as one of the Chinese cultural treasure.
• Despise a variety of factions in the organization, “Dao”(Way) had unexceptionably been prized as the nucleus in belief from which were inferred their own creeds. Above all “Dao” was confirmed as the supreme conviction, which was the gist of Nonexistence, the source of the universe and the eternal being that transcends time and space, remaining unique in dignity. Secondly “Dao” appeared as the incarnation of Master Lao, and could be transformed into a mob of Heavenly deities, Earthly gods and human apparitions. Thirdly “Dao” could be obtained through psycho-cultivation. Having practiced the various creeds, the followers were capable of integrating deities with Dao, as being termed the Acquisition of Taoism. Fourthly those who had acquired the knack could be benefited from such rewards as oracular wonders, longevity and becoming celestial.
• Of the three major religions in China, Taoism arose latest and was maintained in contact with Confucianism and Buddhism upon its founding. During the Han-Wei Period and the Western- Eastern Jin Dynasties when Confucianism was lingering at the status of arbitrary power, Buddhism, though unstable on footing, unveiled a powerful vitality in a “religion-learning” manner. The late-arriving Taoism, to eliminate its inborn primitive elements, began to learn form Confucianism, notably Buddhism, for both its institutions and cognitive proficiency were still in a naïve phase. Without the high quality exemplar of Buddhism it could not be imagined that Taoism had proceeded to such an extent.
• The pursuit for “being celestial” by Chinese ancients, which was an idealized entity bestowed upon with longevity and some oracular wonders they had been yearning for, exercised an immense impact on Taoism. The core of the religion was concealed in the fact that anyone could be sublimated as the celestial deities by means of retainable efforts. Prior to its arrival Chinese ancients had been engaged in a number of attempts in “being the celestial”. The Canon of Mountains and Seas registered a legend concerning “elixir” and “immortal man”. As per The Records of the Historian, King Wei of Qin Kingdom and King Zhao of Yan Kingdom as early as the Warring States Period ever accredited ships at sea in search of elixir and celestial men.
Lao zi and Taoism
• Lu Xun said: "China roots deep in Taoism. If one wants to comprehend Chinese history and culture, one must comprehend Taoism first. "
Yin and Yang
• The Yin/Yang symbol is one of the oldest and best-known life symbols in the world, but few understand its full meaning. • It represents one of the most fundamental and profound theories of ancient Taoist philosophy. At its heart are the two poles of existence, which are opposite but complementary.
• The light, white Yang moving up blends into the dark, black Yin moving down. Yin and Yang are dependent opposing forces that flow in a natural cycle, always seeking balance. Though they are opposing, they are not in opposition to one another. •
• As part of the Tao, they are merely two aspects of a single reality. Each contains the seed of the other, which is why we see a black spot of Yin in the white Yang and vice versa. They do not merely replace each other but actually become each other through the constant flow of the universe.
• The symbol is a visual depiction of the intertwined duality of all things in nature, a common theme in Taoism. • It is believed to be derived from the Taijitu (Diagram of the Ultimate Power).
• Yin yang are complementary opposites within a greater whole. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, although yin or yang elements may manifest more strongly in different objects or at different times.
• Yin yang constantly interacts, never existing in absolute stasis. • The concept of yin and yang is often symbolized by various forms of the Taijitu symbol, for which it is probably best known in western cultures.
The nature of yin–yang • In Taoist philosophy, yin and yang arise together from an initial quiescence or emptiness (wuji, sometimes symbolized by an empty circle), and continue moving in tandem (双) until quiescence（静止） is reached again.
• Yin and yang are always opposite and equalities. Further, whenever one quality reaches its peak, it will naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality: for example, grain that reaches its full height in summer (fully yang) will produce seeds and die back in winter (fully yin) in an endless cycle.
• It is impossible to talk about yin or yang without some reference to the opposite, since yin and yang are bound together as parts of a mutual whole (i. e. you cannot have the back of a hand without the front). A way to illustrate this idea is to postulate the notion of a race with only men or only women; this race would disappear in a single generation. • Yet, men and women together create new generations that allow the race they mutually create (and mutually come from) to survive. The interaction of the two gives birth to things.
• Yin and yang transform each other: like an undertow（回头浪） in the ocean, every advance is complemented by a retreat, and every rise transforms into a fall. Thus, a seed will sprout from the earth and grow upwards towards the sky – an intrinsically yang movement. Then, when it reaches its full potential height, it will fall.
• 道生一，一生二，二生三，三生万物。万物负阴而 抱阳，冲气以为和。 • Out of Tao, One is born; Out of One, Two; Out of Two, Three; Out of Three, the created universe. The created universe carries the yin at its back and the yang in front; Through the union of the pervading principles it reaches harmony.
Philosophical Taoism • speaks of a permanent Tao in the way that some Western religions speak of God. • The Tao is considered unnamed and unknowable, the essential unifying element of all that is. • By shunning every earthly distraction, the Taoist is able to concentrate on life itself. Eventually the hope is to become immortal.
Wu-wei • Wu-wei literally means “non-action, ” but it doesn’t mean don’t ever move. • It means to always act in accordance with the Dao, and not to do things that don’t “go with the flow. ” Water does not flow uphill—does it? No, it always flows downhill—it always finds the path of least resistance, as does a good Daoist
Water • Water is the perfect substance according to Daoism. Water always seeks the lowest point and always takes the shape of any vessel into which it is poured. Water always flows downhill, and it always flows around any obstacle. • Water seems to be the weakest substance, but it’s really the strongest. A steady drip of water can wear away a rock, a stream can create a canyon, a glacier (frozen water) can create a Grand Canyon, and water in the form of a hurricane or typhoon can erode the very continents away.
• 上善若水。水善利万物而不争 The best of men is like water; Water benefits all things And does not compete with them.
• 天下之至柔，驰骋天下之至坚。 The softest substance of the world Goes through the hardest.
• 天下莫柔弱于水，而攻坚强者莫之能胜，以其 无以易之。弱之胜强，柔之胜刚，天下莫不知， 莫能行。 There is nothing weaker than water But none is superior to it in overcoming the hard, For which there is no substitute. That weakness overcomes strength And gentleness overcomes rigidity, No one does not know; No one can put into practice.
• 大成若缺，其用不弊。大盈若冲，其用不穷。 大直若屈，大巧若拙，大辩若讷。躁胜寒，静胜热， 清静为天下正。 The highest perfection is like imperfection, And its use is never impaired. The greatest abundance seems meager, And its use will never fail. What s most straight appears devious, The greatest skill appears clumsiness; The greatest eloquence seems like stuttering. Movement overcomes cold, (But) keeping still overcomes heat. Who is calm and quiet becomes the guide for the universe.
• 道生之，德畜之。长之育之，亭之毒之，养之覆之，生而不有， 为而不恃，长而不宰，是谓玄德。 Tao gives them birth, Teh (character ) fosters them, • Makes them grow, develops them, Gives them a harbor, a place to dwell in peace, Feeds them and shelter them. It gives them birth and does not own them, Acts (helps) and does not appropriate them, Is superior, and does not control them. - This is the Mystic Virtue. • 刘备，字玄德
• 祸兮，福之所倚，福兮，祸之所伏。 孰知其极？其无正。正复为奇，善复为妖。 • Disaster is the avenue of fortune, (And) fortune is the concealment for disaster. Who would be able to know its ultimate results? (As it is), there would never be the normal. But the normal would (immediately) revert to the deceitful.
• 江海所以能为百谷王者，以其善下之，故能为百谷王。 • How did the great rivers and seas become the Lords of the ravines? By being good at keeping low. That was how they became Lords of the Ravines.
• 是以圣人欲上民，必以言下之；欲先民，必以身后之。 是以圣人居上而民不重，居前而民不害。 • Therefore in order to be the chief among the people, One must speak like their inferiors. In order to be foremost among the people, One must walk behind them. Thus it is that the Sage stays above, And the people do not feel his weight; Walks in front, And the people do not wish him harm.
• 善为士者，不武。善战者，不怒。善胜敌者，不与。善 用人者，为之下。是谓不争之德，是谓用人之力，是谓 配天，古之极。 The brave soldier is not violent; The good fighter does not lose his temper; The great conqueror does not fight (on small issues); The good user of men places himself below others. - This is the virtue of not-contending, Is called the capacity to use men, Is reaching to the height of being Mated to Heaven, to what was of old.
• 天之道，不争而善胜，不言而善应，不召而自来， 姗然而善谋。天网恢恢，疏而不失。 Heaven's Way (Tao) is good at conquest without strife, Rewarding (vice and virtue) without words, Making its appearance without call, Achieving results without obvious design. The heaven's net is broad and wide. With big meshes, yet letting nothing slip through.
• 人之生也柔弱，其死也坚强。草木之生也柔脆，其死也枯槁。 故坚强者死之徒，柔弱者生之徒。 • When man is living, he is tender and weak; At death, he is hard and stiff. • When the things and plants are alive, they are soft and supple; When they are dead, they are brittle and dry. • Therefore hardness and stiffness are the companions of death, And softness and gentleness are the companions of life.
• 是以天下乐推而不厌。以其不争，故天下 莫能与之争。 • Then the people of the world are glad to uphold him forever. Because he does not contend, No one in the world can contend against him.
• 将欲歙之，必故张之；将欲弱之，必故强之；将欲废 之，必故兴之；将欲取之，必故与之。是谓微明。 • ---He who is to be made to dwindle (in power) Must first be caused to expand. He who is to be weakened Must first be made strong. --- He who is to be laid low Must first be exalted to power. He who is to be taken away from Must first be given, • This is the Subtle Light.
• 柔弱胜刚强。鱼不可脱于渊，国之利器不可以 示人。 • Gentleness overcomes strength: Fish should be left in the deep pool, And sharp weapons of the state should be left Where none can see them.
Tao Te Jing, by Lao Tzu 道，可道，非恒道。名，可名，非恒名。 无名，天地之始；有名，万物之母。 • The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao • The Name that can be named is not the eternal Name • The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth • The named is the mother of myriad things--
• Thank you !