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Nine Epistles From The Tao Te Ching Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Mar 1st, 2019

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu is not a simple piece of writing. It is a sacred work which has become the beginning of the Philosophical Daoism. Being the central book in the Chinese religion, it offers numerous epistles which must be followed.

Being the central in the Taoism philosophy, this piece of writing describes the most significant elements of the philosophy and tries to explain the importance of following it. One of the central ideas of the book is that the Tao is the Nature, the essence of everything in the world which cannot be either experienced or seen, it just exists, that is all (Magno 90).

The main purpose of this paper is to consider nine epistles from The Tao Te Ching and reflect on them, having presented the description of the main ideas discussed in each of the offered epistles and then make conclusion about the relation of these epistles to the South Korea at mean times.

The first epistle from The Tao Te Ching dwells upon the Tao and its essence. Only having no name it may be named. If it is possible to name something, so it is possible to change this name as well as its essence. The Tao is something unchanged, it is eternal. The author states that the Tao is the “beginning of heaven” (Tzu 6) because it is nameless.

The second epistle shows that people perceive the whole world only because it has contrasts. Thus, people can understand where good is only because they know bad actions. It would have been impossible to say that the action is good if people were not aware of bad actions. Only ugly things make it possible for us to see the beauty of the world.

The whole processes in the world are conducted without pause. “Work is done, then forgotten” (Tzu 6) and then done again. This makes the world processes last forever, explaining the essence of objective reality and its duration.

The main idea of the next epistle which is numbered eleven is the desire of the author to tell the reader that everything which exists in the world is created with a specific purpose. If people do not see the benefits of any of the objects or processes in the modern world, they just cannot understand its essence and to make it useful people should think, “benefit comes from what is there, usefulness from what is not there” (Tzu 7).

The fourteenth epistle considers the essence of the Tao, which is described as the opportunity to know the ancient beginning. The sound which cannot be heard, the form which cannot be identified, the object which cannot be touched, a formless form and an imageless image are called indefinable and beyond imagination, still, these notions exist. It is possible to predict that the author dwells upon the Tao in this case, as something which has no beginning and no ending (Tzu 8).

The central idea of the fifteenth epistle is to show people that there is no need to try to search for the source of their knowledge about the Tao. People should just accept this teaching without seeking fulfillment as it may lead to the change. Tzu says “Not seeking fulfillment, they [observers] are not swayed by desire for change” (9).

The twenty-second epistle shows that those who remain meek win, “Yield and overcome” (Tzu 10) is the expression which shows that people should come through some barriers, they should suffer and only then they will be able to reach the desired outcome.

The twenty-seventh epistle adds to the main idea of this expression and states that “A good door needs no lock, yet no one can open it” (Tzu 11). If people strongly believe in what they do and do it correct without hidden purposes, according to the rules provided by the Tao these people will always get what they need. Only all-absorbing faith can be helpful.

The main idea of the thirtieth epistle is that people must try to reach results as it is natural, still these results should not cultivate pride, glory, or boast in people. Violence should not be the means towards achieving the results as those who use power are going to lose their strength. Power is not what should be used while achieving the results as there is no more powerful force than the Tao has and everyone who dares to use his/her power as if used this power against the Tao and “comes to an early end” (Tzu 12).

The forty-sixth epistle focuses attention on human wishes and desires. Those who cannot restrict their desires are unable to live in harmony with Tao. The unawareness of the scope of a will is the greatest sin as only a person who understands what “enough” means can have “enough” in this live, while having enough is what people long for.

In conclusion, having considered the epistles offer by Tzu, it is possible to conclude that the inability to follow those is one of the reasons why people live in bad conditions (as they think). The life in the South Korea at mean time does not correspond to human desires because they are unable to live according to the Tao laws. Reaching and understanding the Tao is one of the main ways out for the country. Both citizens and the ruling power should understand it.

Works Cited

Magno, Joseph A. The Spiritual Philosophy of the Tao Te Ching. Illinois, IL: Pendragon Publishing, Inc., 2005. Print.

Tzu, Lao. Tao Te Ching. Web.

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