daoism

daoism - {-614 CONFUCIANISM REVIEW QUESTIONS 1 Confucius...

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Unformatted text preview: {-614 CONFUCIANISM REVIEW QUESTIONS 1 Confucius said: "Wealth and honor are what every man desires. But if they have been obtained in violation of moral principles, they must not be kept." Is this a good basis for a sociai ethic? . 2 Is Confucianism more optimistic or more pessimistic about human nature? How? What are the social implications of this belief? ' 3 How would the Confucian Way of Heaven and Earth work out in daily life? DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1 is ancient Confucianism so feudal and patriarchal as to limit its relevance today? 2 Does ethical behavior need transcendent sources such as gods, goddesses. or a Mandate of Heaven to give it a motivating force? 3 Would Confucianism’s stress on moderation and harmony stifle progressive corrections of social injustices? Would it help ecologicai consciousness? ' INFORMATION RESOURCES China Books and Periodicals <http://www.chinabooks.com> Lau. D. C., trans. Confucius: The Analects. London: Penguin Books, 1979. China Introduction . Nadeau, Randall. Confucianism and Taoism, <hTtPi//WWW-WarllOI'TOUrS-COITD vol. 2 in Introduction to the World’s Major Chinese Holidays Religions. Westport. CT: Greenwood Press, <http:i/www.index-china.com'> 2005- Confucian and Daoist Texts Taylor, Rodney. The Religious Dimensions of <http://acc6.its.brooklycuny.edui§-phalsal|> Confucianism. Albany, NY: State University of Csikszentmihalyi, Mark, et al. New York Press' 1990' "Confucianism," in Encyclopedia of Religion, Tu~Wei-ming. "Confucius and ed. Lindsay Jones. Vol. 3, pp. 1890—937. New ConfUcianisrn." in Encyclopedia Britannica. York: Macmillan, 2005. Vol. 16, pp. 653—62. London, 1997. CHAPTER 7 DAOISM in contrast to the pragmatic logic of traditional Confucianism, the Daoist tradition is distinctly mystical. This mysticism actually had no name until scholars labeled it Daoism, lumping together ancient philosophical traditions and later religious sects which concentrate on the achievement of immortality. Daoism is based on ancient Chinese ways and the teachings of sages whose remembrance is shrouded in the mists of time and legend. Most famous of these is Laozi (Lao-tzu),1 who is thought to have iived some time between 600 and 300 BCE. To him is attributed the central scripture of Daoism, the Dao de iing (Tao-re Ching), which proposes a philosophical detachment, allowing things to take their own naturai course without interfer- ence. By remaining quiet and receptive, one lives in harmony with the natural flow of life, with the Dao (Tao), the unnamable eternal Reality. Everything is to be accepted with equanimity, without preferences. The sage is like flowing water, which naturally flows into a valley from higher regions, makes its way around obstacles, and gently wears them down. He or she "does nothing," for the Dao if left to its own ways will express the underlying harmony in the universe. Energy is not to be wasted in artificial action, but may be expressed spontaneously and creatively when the natural energy is flowing in that direc— tion. Daoist sages have traditionally withdrawn into the mountains to live contemplativeiy in nature. The traditional canon The Dao de y'ing has traditionally been attributed to Laozi, a curator of the royal library during the Zhou- (Chou) dynasty. According to legend, he was leav- ing society to retire to the mountains at the age of 160, when a harder guard requested him to share his wisdom. The terse five thousand characters thus inscribed have been translated more times than any book other than the Bible. 1 Chinese words are transliterated here using the contemporary Pinyin system, with the earlier Wade- Giies transliteration given in parentheses at first occurrence; within extracts using Wade—Giles, the Pinyin version is shown in brackets. 166 DAOISM The Dao dejng by Ladzi The Dao What we call “the Dao” is not theDao forever. Things named are not forever named. "Non-being” is how we describe the origins of Heaven and Earth. "Being" is how we describe the mother of the ten thousand things. We employ "Eternal Non-Being” in observance of the subtleties of the Dao And employ “Eternal Being” in observance of its fullest extent. They are identical in origin, though differing in name. But both may be called “mysterious,” And in calling them mysterious they become even more mysterious— The gate of all subtleties! t The Spirit of the Valley The Spirit of the Valley is eternal; it is called “the mysterious female.” The gateway of the mysterious female is called the root of Heaven and Earth. Though constantly flowing, it seems always to be present. Though used, it is never used up. ' Water The most marvelous things are like water. Water can benefit the ten thousand creatures without competing, and settle in places most people despise. In these ways it is like the Dao. Embracing the One Can you carry the soul and embrace the One without letting go? Can you concentrate your qi and attain the weakness of an infant? Can you polish the mirror of mystery so as to make it Spotless? Can you practice wu-Wei in loving the nation and governing the people? Can you adopt the role of the female when the gates of Heaven open and close? Can you abandon all knowing even as your insight penetrates the universe? To give birth and to rear, to give birth but not to possess, to act but not to depend on the outcome, to lead but not to command: this is called "mysterious power." Emptiness Thirty spokes share a single hub,- by virtue of its Emptiness, the hub is useful to the cart. Clay is shaped to create a vessel; by virtue of its Emptiness, a vessel has its use. Doors and windows are cut out to make a room; by virtue of that Emptiness, a room has its use. So, to have something may be beneficial, but it is in its Emptiness that it has its use. Anti-Confucianism When the Great Dao declined, the doctrines of rm and yi appeared. When “knowledge” and “wisdom” emerged, there was great hypocrisy. It is only DAOISM 167 when relatives can't get along that they talk about “filial children” and “loving-parents,” only when the state is in disorder that there are "loyal ministers.” Su andPu Abandon “sageliness” and "wisdom," and the people will benefit a hundredfold. Abandon rm and yi, and the people will againbe obedient to their parents and loving towards their children. Abandon clever words and profit, and there will be no more thieves or robbers. Those things [which should be abandoned] are good in appearance, but insubstantial. So, let the people have something they can follow: manifest simplicity (su); embrace the uncarved block (pu); reduce selfishness; have few desires. Floating in the Dark Stop learning! You’ll stop worrying. Is there really that much difference between f’yes” and “no”? Is there really any difference at all between “good” and "evil"? ' -' . r ' People are drunk with pleasure, as they are when eating a great feast 'or - ascending a tower in the spring. I alone am quiet. I have left no sign—like an infant who has not yet smiled. I am weary, like a man with-no home tolreturn to. Most people have more than they need. I-alone seem to have too little. Mine is the mind of a foolu—it’s empty! I - I I Common people show off their clarity. I alone am floating in the dark. Commonjpeople are committed to their investigations. ,1 alone am alimixed up. I’mias’lcalm as the sea, drifting with the wind. ' Mostpeople have a purpose. I alone am aimless and unsophisticated. I alone am different from other people, and value being fed by the Mother. The Danist Sage He is whole because he’s crooked, straight because'he's bent, full because he’s hollow, new because he’s worn; he has because he lacks, he is amazed because there is so much. This is why the sage embraces the One and becomes the model of the universe. He does not show himself, and so he 'is luminous. He does not consider himself right, and so he is revered. He does not claim credit, and so he is rewarded. He does not boast, and so he endures. It is because he does not compete withanyone that no one under Heaven competes with him. When the ancients said, “He is whole because he is crooked,” those were not empty .words. Truly, he is whole to the end. Dao 7 . There is a thing, shaped by chaos, born prior to Heaven and Earth, silent 3 andshapeless! It stands alone, unchanged by'exterior forces. Its motion :is: '2 7-: nmvsumegnm<m§ziq wmmvmn .. . mmmmmwmuw—p—mwmww - r . . r 1'68 DAOISM DAOISM 169 circular, and it never tires. It is capable of being the Mother of everything- under Heaven. I do not know its name, but if forced to, I'll call it “Dao”; if forced to, I’ll name it “Great.” Weakness and Strength The weakest things under Heaven ride like a stallion over the hardest. The things which have no substance enter the places which have no space. Because of this, I understand the advantage of wu-wer'. Few have the capacity to reach an understanding of the wordless teaching or of the advantage of war-wet. ' ‘ Great, it is flowing. Flowing. it becomes distant. Distant, it returns. . Wu wei er wu bu wer' In study, one learns more every day. But in acting in accordance with the Dao, one does less every day. One does less and less until finally there is Wit-wet, and WM wez' er wu bu Wei (with wu-wei there is nothing that remains undone). Thus, the Dao is great, Heaven is great, Earth is great, and humankind is great. Among the four great things in the universe, humankind is counted as one of them. Humankind models itself on Earth, Earth on Heaven, and Heaven on the Dao. The Dao models itself on spontaneity. Speaking and Knowing One who knows does not speak; one who speaks does not know. Block the opening; Shut the door; Blunt the sharpness; Untie the knot; Soften the brightness; Become like dust. This is what is meant by the "mysterious identity.” 80, it is impossible to be familiar with it, and yet it is also impossible to be separated from'it. It is impossible to augment it, yet it is also impossible to diminish it. It is impossible to ennoble it, and yet it is also impossible to debase it. That is why it is valued throughout the world. The Role of the Female _ Understand the male but keep to the role of the female, and you will be the river of the world. As the river of the world, your energy will be unsapped, like returning to infancy Understand the white but keep to the role of the black, and you will be the model of the world. As the model of the world, your energy will'be restored, like returning to the unbounded. ' Understand the honored but keep to the role of the humble, and you will be the valley of the world. As the valley of the world, your energy will be abundant, like returning to the uncarved block. Reversion Reversion is the way the Dao moves. Weakness is what the Dao employs. The ten thousand creatures under Heaven were born from Being, and Being was born from Non-Being. Water Under Heaven, there is nothing softer or weaker than water. Yet, in attacking what is stubborn and strong, nothing can surpass it. That is why nothing can . replace it. Everyone knows that the soft overcomes the stubborn, and the weak overcomes the strong, yet no one can put this into practice. Dao and De When superior persons hear about the Dao, they do their best to put it into practice. When average persons hear about the Dao, they preserve it for a while, but then it disappears. When the lowest persons hear about the Dao, they laugh at it. If they didn't laugh, it wouldn't be the Dao. That's why it's been said, Brightening the Dao is more like darkening it; Advancing the Dao is more like pushing it back; Universalizing the Dao is more like differentiating things. Raising tie is more like lowering it; ' Ennobling de is more like discreditng it; Enlarging die is more like diminishing it; Strengthening de is more like exhausting it; Witnessing for de is more like making a retraction. A great square has no corners. A great vessel is completed only after a long time. A great note produces a weak sound. A great image has no shape. The Dao hides in namelessness. So, the Dao alone excels in endowing and in bringing things to completion. Utopia Reduce the size of the state and the population. Let the weapons of war never be used. Let the people stay close to home because they do not take death lightly. Even though there are ships and chariots, there is no place to ' ride in them. Even though there are weapons and armor, there is no place to display them. Cause the people to revert to the use of knotted cords,2 to regard their food as sweet and their clothing as beautiful, to be content in their homes and happy with their everyday lives. Though neighboring states can see one another, and the sounds of chickens and dogs can be heard I from one. state to the other, yet the people of each state will grow old and die without ever having had contact with one another. source: Original translation for this book by Randall Nadeau, 2006 ' 2 Knotted cords—an ancient general practice for calculation anti writing worldwide. 170 DAOISM The Great and Venerable Teacher by Zhuangzi The second major book in the traditional Daoist canon is a compilation of the often humorous and ironic writings of the sage Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu; c. 365—290 ace). In the following passage, he refers to the ideal sage as the True Man. He who knows what it is that Heaven does, and knows what it is that man does, has reached the peak. Knowing what it is that Heaven does, he lives with Heaven. Knowing what it is that man does, he uses the knowledge of what he knows to help out the knowledge of what he doesn’t know, and lives out the years that Heaven gave him without being cut off midway— this is the perfection of knowledge. However, there is a difficulty. Knowledge must wait for something to fix on to, and that which it waits for is never certain. How, then, can I know that what I call Heaven is not really man, and what I call man is not really Heaven? There must first be a True Man before there can be true knowledge. What do I mean by a True Man? The True Man of ancient times did not rebel against want, did not grow proud in plenty, and did not plan his affairs. Being like this, he could commit an error and not regret it, could meet with success and not make a show. Being like this, he could climb the high places and not be frightened, could enter the water and not get wet, could enter the fire and not get burned. His knowledge was able to climb all the way up to the Way like this. I The True Man of ancient times slept without dreaming and woke without care; he ate without savoring and his breath came from deep inside. The True Man breathes with his heels; the mass of men breathe with their throats. Crushed and bound down, they gasp out their words as though they were retching. Deep in their passions and desires, they are shallow in the Workings of Heaven. The True Man of ancient times knew nothing of loving life, knew nothing of hating death. He emerged without delight; he went back in without a fuss. He came briskly, he went briskly, and that was all. He didn’t forget where he began; he didn't try to find out where he would end. He received something and took pleasure in it; he forgot about it and handed it back again. This is what I call not using the mind to repel the Way, not using man to help out Heaven. This is what I call the True Man. . . . You hide your boat in the ravine and your fish net in the swamp and tell yourself that they will be safe. But in the middle of the night a strong man shoulders them and carries them off, and in your stupidity you don’t know why it happened. You think you do right to hide little things in big ones, and yet they get away from you. But if you were to hide the world in the world, so that nothing could get away, this would be the final reality of the constancy of things. You have had the audacity to take on human form and you are delighted. But the human form has ten thousand changes that never come DAOISM 171 to an end. Your joys, then, must be uncountable. Therefore, the sage wanders in the realm where things cannot get away from him, and all are preserved. He delights in early death; he delights in old age; he delights in the beginning; he delights in the end. If he can serve as a model for men, how much more so that which the ten thousand things are tied to and all- changes alike wait upon! - ' The Way has its reality and its signs but is without action or form. You can hand it dowu but you cannot receive it; you can get it but you cannot see it. It is its own source, its own root. Before Heaven and earth existed it was there, firm from ancient times. It gave spirituality to the spirits and to God; it gave birth to Heaven and to earth. It exists beyond the highest point, and yet you cannot call it lofty; it exists beneath the limit of the six directions, and yet you cannot call it deep. It was born before Heaven and earth, and yet you cannot say it has been there for long; it is earlier than the earliest time. and yet you cannot call it old. source: Chuang-tzu, The Book of Chuang-tzu, trans. Burton Watson. New York: Columbia University Press, 1968, pp. 77433 Heaven ’5 Gifts by Liezi Traditionally attributed to the Daoist philosopher Liezi (Lieh-tzu, c: 475—221 IBCE), who claimed metaphorically that he could ride on the wind, the Book of Llezi (Classic of Complete Emptiness) is the third old scripture in the Daoist canon. Using stories and parables, it describes the universe according to classical Chinese thinking as being essentially composed of qi (ch’r), meaning air or breath. This qr' is itself insubstantial, but continually becomes more compacted and solid and then dissolves into nothingness. The Book of the Yellow Emperor3 says: "When a shape stirs, it begets not a shape but a shadow. When a sound stirs, it begets not a sound but an echo. When Nothing stirs, it begets not nothing but something.” That Which has shape is that which must come to an end. Will heaven and earth end? They will end together with me. Will there ever be no more ending? I do not know. Will the Way end? At bottom it has had no beginning. Will there ever be no more of it? At bottom it does not exist. Whatever is born reverts to being unborn, whatever has shape reverts to being shapeless. But unborn it is not the baisically Unborn, shapeless it is not the basically Shapeless. That which is born is that which in principle must come to an end. Whatever ends cannot escape its end, just as whatever is born cannot escape birth; and to wish to live forever, and have no more of ending. is to be deluded about our lot. . . . , The thing which is shrinking there is swelling here, the thing which is maturing here is decaying there. Shrinking and swelling. maturing and 3 Yeliow Emperor—a legendary ruler who is said to have ascended into Heaven on a great dragon and become one of the Immortals, who are certain humans said to have gained immortality, each with hls‘ or her own magical power. - .,;i‘. , mm, _ __. ..M\.-\.vg\WL , ...,,,.mmm< __. inmflrttmr mam-mm .u.m\'fl‘flfl?fiafiwfistLv:Mfi 1'12 D'AOISM DAOISM 173 decaying, it is being born at the same time that it is dying. The interval between the coming and the going is imperceptible; who is aware of it? Whatever a thing may be, its energy is not suddenly spent, its form does not suddenly decay; we are aware neither of when it reaches maturity nor of when it begins to decay. It is the same with a man’s progress from birth to old age: his looks, knowledge and bearing differ from one day to the next, his skin and nails and hair are growing at the same time as they are falling away. They do not stop as they were in childhood without changing. But we cannot be aware of the intervals; we must wait for the fruition before we know. There was a man of chi [Pinyin, Qi] country who was so worried that heaven and earth might fall down, and his body would have nowhere to lodge, that he forgot to eat and sleep. There was another man who was worried that he should be so worried about it, and therefore went to enlighten him. “Heaven is nothing but the accumulated air: there is no place where there ' is not air. You walk and stand all day inside heaven, stretching and Bending, breathing in and breathing out; why should you worry about it falling 'dOWn?” "If heaven really is accumulated air, shouldn't the sun and moon and stars fall down?" "The sun and moon and stars are air which shines inside the accumulated air. Even if they did fall down, they couldn’t hit or harm anyone.” ' "What about the earth giving way?” . "The earth is nothing but accumulated soil, filling the void in all four directions: there is no place Where there is not soil. You walk and stand all day on the earth, stamping about with abrupt spurts and halts; why should you worry about it giving way?" The man was satisfied and greatly cheered; and so was the man who enlightened him. When Ch’ang-lu-tzu [Pinyin, Chang luzi] heard of it, he said smiling: “The rainbow, clouds and mist, wind and rain, _the four seasons; these are formations in the accumulated air of heaven. Mountains and hills, rivhrs and seas, metal and stone, fire and wood; these are formations in the accumulated matter of earth. Knowing that they are accumulations of air and soil, how can we say that they will not perish? Heaven and earth are one tiny thing within the void, the largest among things that exist. It is no doubt true that it will be long before they reach their term and come to an end, and that it is no easy matter to estimate and predict when this will happen. To worry about them perishing is indeed wide of the mark; but to say they will never perish is also open to objection. Since heaven and earth are bound to perish, a time will come when they will perish. If we happen to be here when they do, why shouldn't we worry?” When Lieh-tzu [Pinyin, Liezi] heard of it, he too smiled and said: “It is nonsense to say either that heaven and'earth will perish or that they will not. Whether they perish or not we can never know. However, from that side there is one point of _view, from this side there is another. Hence the living do not know what it is like to be dead, the dead do not know what it is like to be alive. Corning, we do not know those who went before, going we shall not know those who came after. Why should we care whether they perish or not?” ' Shun asked a minister: "Can one succeed in possessing the Way?” "Your own body is not your pessession. How can you possess the Way?” "If my own body is not mine, whose is it?” , “It is the shape lent to you by heaven and earth. Your life is not your possession; it is harmony between your forces, granted for a time by heaven and earth. Your nature and destiny are not your possessions; they are the course laid down for you by heaven and earth. Your children and grandchildren are not your possessions; heaven and earth lend them to you to cast off from your body as an insect sheds it skin. Therefore you travel without knowing where you go, stay without knowing what you cling to, are fed without knowing how. You are The breath of heaven and earth which goes to and fro: how can you ever possess it?" sooner: The Book of lieh-tzu, trans. A. C. Graham. London: John Murraleew York: Grove Press, 1960, pp. 22—31 - Later developments In addition to the philosophical system known as Daoism, as expressed in the preceding texts, from the second century CE onward various religious Daoist sects developed that are often referred to as ."lmmortals Daoism" or immortality "Religious Daoism." Their relationship to the philosophical tradition is a matter of debate. These sects tend to focus ongods, spirits, magic, ritual, and alchemical efforts to achieve physical immortality. A complex medical system developed in China regarding relationships between physical and spiritual aspects of the universe with reference to yin and yang, the receptive and active energies within the Bee. The Huangdi Nefifng Suwen (Huang Tl Nei Ching Su Wen; The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of internal Medicine), compiled during the Han era (206 ace—220 CE), illustrates the specificity of this system, in con— trast to the more general philosophical nature of the Daoist canon. Communication of the Force of Life with Heaven from Huangdi Neijz‘ng Suwen Yin and Yang, the two principles in nature, and the four seasons are the beginning and the end of everything and they are also the cause of life and death. Those who disobey the laws of the universe will give rise to _ calamities and visitations, while those who follow the laws of the universe remain free from dangerous illne'ss, for they are The ones who have obtained Tao [Pinyin, Dao}, the Right Way. ‘ ...
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