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Chinese Religious Beliefs Review Essay

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Updated: Dec 3rd, 2021

“Ancient Chinese legends tell the stories of heroic figures who invented agriculture, domesticated animals, taught people to marry and live in families, created music, introduced the calendar, and instructed people in the arts and crafts.” (Bentley and Ziegler 109)

China has contributed immensely towards the culture of the world, some significant contributions include T’angculture which is Buddhist influence in art and the same is predominant in the field of sculpture and numerous other masterpieces which are well admired all round the world. One such masterpiece is Daoism, the term may sound complicated but in reality it is not as complicated as it sounds. This paper will discuss the evolution and the principles of Daoism.

The belief in the existence of a universal principle leads contemplative minds to search for the profound and truth in nature and man himself. Having said this, Daoism as one of the Chinese philosophy entails to explore the credence of nature being the superior proliferating factor in a person’s existence in this realm. Man learns a lot of things from nature hence every man in some way or the other follows Daoism.

“Factions of Imperial family members, Confucian scholar bureaucrats, and court eunuchs sought to increase their influence, protect their own interests, and destroy their rivals.” (Bentley and Ziegler 202)

Daoism has a native connection like another term which is Confucianism, the spirit of the Chinese people is reflected by Daoism. It evolved from the ancient Chinese society and it portrays the beliefs and ideology of the Han nationality. The source of its origination is from the worship of gods and spirits. Daoism is regarded as philosophical tradition of China malong with Confucianism.

Daoism’s theory was based on the mystic universal principle called Tao, which is the beginning of all being; hence, it could be understood as non-being. Having no begetter, Tao is best expressed by spontaneity. From these ideas the workings of Tao was perceived as actually non-activity or doing nothing that is not done by itself. In this regard, the law of nature is the focal element in dealing with one’s life. There is an important thing to be learnt here which is that the nature allows things to occur and no one can force itself on nature. This exemplification was brought about by the ideals of what nature could provide us, and in lieu of which, it is only in the hands of an individual on how to have a grip on this kind of perception. On top of everything, it was understood that Tao was the all-pervading principle that exists prior to the existence of the universe. It was found in everything, no matter how trivial or base.

The underpinning principle of the theory of relativity in Daoism defies the existing social institutions since it tends to draw lines. In addition to this, the notions of right and wrong was uttered that it has never been existed. The explanation for this was that right is right only because of the existence of wrong and that nothing is absolutely right. In its best way, it is very much logical to think that a part of a certain element goes hand in hand with the other. In this philosophy, nothing is acceptably true unless it coincides with the other notion which in fact could be a detrimental element. It is great to ponder on that at a certain level, in this life and age, the arena of positive and negative is very essential in order to compose a certain thoughts.

Furthermore, everything is simultaneously itself, when it looks at itself, and something else, when looked upon by something else; consequently there cannot be an absolute this or that. Everything is this and that at the same time. An occurrence can be perceived as such depending on how a person views it. Anything is possible in this realm and it is just in the eye of a certain person on how to interpret such occurrence. The nature itself has time and again proved the same to the human beings.

Parallel to everything that has been said; the concept of Daoism did not believe that there was any argument to be settled. For this matter, the query such as why there is no need to settle any argument may arise. As a response to such a question, it is great to take into consideration first that everything follows with Tao. For the reason that Tao is always right, by virtue of the fact that it always is so, everything is always right also. If for such instance a conflict may shoot up, then the conflict itself was also right. Same with what we uttered in the previous phase of our dissertation, a conflict cannot possibly prove wrong for the reason that any opposition for that matter could also be right. In a given occurrence in time, something cannot be itemized as right if something is ought to be wrong and it could extremely happen vice versa. Only the law of nature could provide the best syntax for this predicament and with that, we will go back to the norm of what nature could deliver in each and every one of us.

Practically, as to the concept of Daoism, it was believed that conflict arises when man departs from Tao and tries contrary to Nature’s way. On a more logical note, indeed, it was perceivably true since upon detracting what nature implies, the sky high tendency that you can be derailed towards the right path.

Part of Daoism’s concept are the two dimensions of the yin and the yang; yang being the positive side and on another account, yin was that of ignorance, weakness, powerlessness, and even death. These two are perceived to be opposing with each other but complementary at the same time. These two magnitudes ultimately represent change in which the nature continuously expounds. Nature’s way is constant, and its constancy is revealed in the ceaseless change that cannot be obstructed in the universe. Every being is involved in this process of change, from one species to another, one appearance to another or one form of its existence to another form of existence to another form of existence.

Consistent with the theory of relativity and cyclical change, it has been elucidated the indifference towards death and that there may be great joy after death. It’s part of the cycle of life and nature that a person would approach the end of his life and for that matter, there is still beyond happiness after such happens. If life and death are but phases in an irresistible cycle of change, then, there is no difference between the living and the dead or between the mortal and the immortal. Indeed, Death is technically part of nature – the nature of life.

Mortality becomes a problem and source of sorrow only because man cannot free himself from the artificially constructed strait-jacket of his view on life and existence. On a physical sense, man must die and there is no escape. But if a man can understand Nature’s way and embrace Tao, then he lives as long as Tao lives and therefore he is immortal. Man may die indeed, but his essence lives on forever.

A man who has succeeded in preserving his original simplicity and in maintaining his share of Tao was considered as a True Man. The theory of a true man stresses the importance of preserving oneself by following the natural bend of things.

Things are what they are and they do what Nature dictates them to do. Man should live as part of nature together with all other things in nature and desists from his futile pursuit of seeing, reading, and analyzing the universe in abstraction. The very moment man ceases to confuse himself with the useless puzzles which his fellow men have created, his mind will be liberated. Then and only then will he be ready to comprehend Tao.

In this time and age, with all the modernizations in this world, it is very easy for every one of us to make our life easier than ever. We can never hold the fact that we are very well equipped with all the possible machineries that would make our lives suitable to live. However, given all these, we cannot deny the fact that we tend to be more selfish each and every day that we want to acquire every little good things available at hand. We demoralize our personality by having a grip to what will only make us happy and neglecting the fact that there is a life ahead of which. The self-centeredness kicks in and we became narrow minded towards the things that are really imperative in dealing with our lives.

If it happens that selfishness is already the basis of our theory on how to live, it would absolutely make our lives more complicated and full of detrimental element. Gradually, it could possibly ruin even our relationship with our own selves because we can no longer identify what we really wanted in the first place.

Practically, a key to a good life is dealing with it the best possible way and being equipped with all the principles of life. Essentially, selfishness cannot do any good and it is better to think beyond the horizon of our channels.

As regards to the principles of Daoism, emptying of ones mind of intellectual prejudices, man will be able to see the similarity of all things. The innumerable things will be one and he will feel that the universe is within him. Whatever he does or does not do will cause no concern or anxiety. He will thus free to move in the universe. On this note happiness is true and supreme for the reason that there is nothing about him that is not in accord with nature.

Extreme happiness and detaching oneself to selfishness could be result to emotional liberation. Having been intellectually liberated, man no longer sees any cause for worry and sorrow. By following a course completely with nature, he depends on nothing and seeks nothing and therefore he is free.

To be with Tao is to be free. A man is free because he has the infinite power which enables him to do whatever he pleases while he stays within Tao. This freedom should mean spiritual emancipation and salvation; liberation of man from the bondage of his limited orbit in this earthly world.

References

Bentley and Ziegler. Ancient Chinese Legends P 109.

Bentley and Ziegler. Ancients Chinese Legends P 202.

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