philosophies that emerged before and during the Warring States Period in China. While, each
provides guidance on personal conduct, they vary greatly in their applicability. Some
schools of thought focused on spiritual and personal fulfilment, while others were more
concerned with leadership and government.
Read the excerpts and answer both questions in paragraph format. Remember to base your
argument on these excerpts and to cite any external sources.
1) Even though this is breaking the first rule of Daoism, describe what you think the Dao is. How
does one follow the Dao? (100-150 words)
2) Based on these excerpts, would you prefer to live in a government under a ruler who followed
the teachings of Confucius or was a Legalist? Why? (200-250 words)
(alternate spelling "Daoism")
Tao de Ching
Translated into English by Stephen Mitchell
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnameable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
The Tao is like a well:
used but never used up.
It is like the eternal void:
filled with infinite possibilities.
It is hidden but always present.
I don't know who gave birth to it.
It is older than God.
The Tao doesn't take sides;
it gives birth to both good and evil.
The Master doesn't take sides;
she welcomes both saints and sinners.
The Tao is like a bellows:
it is empty yet infinitely capable.
The more you use it, the more it produces;
the more you talk of it, the less you understand.
Hold on to the center.
Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.
Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.
If you don't realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
kind-hearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.
Express yourself completely,
then keep quiet.
Be like the forces of nature:
when it blows, there is only wind;
when it rains, there is only rain;
when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
If you open yourself to the Tao,
you are at one with the Tao
and you can embody it completely.
If you open yourself to insight,
you are at one with insight
and you can use it completely.
If you open yourself to loss,
you are at one with loss
and you can accept it completely.
Open yourself to the Tao,
then trust your natural responses;
and everything will fall into place.
are a collection of sayings of the teacher Confucius traditional thought to have been
recorded by his students shortly after his death. Each quotation stands by itself with minimal
The Master said, "He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the
north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it."
The Master said, "If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by
punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. If they be led by
virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense
of shame, and moreover will become good."
Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said, "He acts before he speaks,
and afterwards speaks according to his actions."
The Duke Ai asked, saying, "What should be done in order to secure the submission of the
people?" Confucius replied, "Advance the upright and set aside the crooked, then the people will
submit. Advance the crooked and set aside the upright, then the people will not submit."
The Master said, "When a country is well-governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to
be ashamed of. When a country is ill-governed, riches and honor are things to be ashamed of."
The Master said, "If good men were to govern a country in succession for a hundred years, they
would be able to transform the violently bad, and dispense with capital punishments." True
indeed is this saying!
The Master said, "If a truly royal ruler were to arise, it would stir require a generation, and then
virtue would prevail."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practices for all one's
life?" The Master said, "Is not 'reciprocity' such a word? What you do not want done to
yourself, do not do to others."
The Master said, "When a prince's personal conduct is correct, his government is effective
without the issuing of orders. If his personal conduct is not correct, he may issue orders, but they
will not be followed.
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