“The Ancient Masters were profound and subtle. Their wisdom was unfathomable. There is no way to describe it; all we can describe is their appearance. “”The best athlete wants his opponent at his best.
The best general enters themind of his enemy. The best businessman serves the communal food. The bestleader follows the will of the people . ” The teachings from the book, Tao TeChing helped influence both the social and moral aspects of the Chinese way oflife. The teachings have provided hope, and inspiration for the Chinese people.
In ancient China, the people were self-providing farmers who lived exclusivelyoff the land. They rarely took the time to intermingle with their neighbors, andthe family stood independently. The people had little knowledge about theoutside world and had no desire to learn. Far travel was avoided at all costs,due to the strong attachment to one’s own home. The people believed that,”No man could be full grown without his roots in his home . ” The peoplereferred to their homes as “tien, yuan, lu mo”, which meant fields, gardens,houses, graves.
The Chinese thought that the causes of crime were soldiers andwanderers. They were considered evil beings for venturing away from they home. The people believed that all things, living and un-living, had spirits in them. They felt that the spirits if disturbed, could drastically affect one’s life. They used amulets, spells, prayers, incantations, and special rites to ward ofmisfortune. This is a direction to a later Lao Tzu’s teaching stating,”Practice not-doing, and everything will fall into place .
” The home did notlimit its members to the current living members; the dead and the future werealso considered family. Around 650BC, during the Chou Dynasty, the value ofknowledge changed. Although communication between towns was still difficult,many Sages were in desire of knowledge. Some of the most well known sages were;Mencius, Mo Tzu, Confucius, and Lao Tzu, the author of Tao Te Ching.
Confuciuswrote about the problems of man, and proposed many solutions. He also wroteabout authority and respect, and proposed “submissiveness. ” His works helpedinfluence the way that government was run, and Confucius actively participatedin government. His teachings were present in the Chinese government for manyyears, until the belief in Tao.
A sage named Lao Tzu created the Tao religion. Very little is known about Lao Tzu. Even the meaning of his name is a mystery;”the Old Master” or “the Old Boy”? The only thing we do know about LaoTzu is that he wrote the book, TAO TE CHING, and created a thought revolution. His reference to the eternal force he called Tao, gave people inspiration, and anew method of thinking. Lao Tzu described Tao as, “The Tao that can be told isnot the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.
Theunnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things. Free from desire, you realize mystery. Caught in desire, you see only themanifestations. Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source.
Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding. ” and later wenton to say, “The Tao is infinite, eternal. Why is it eternal? It was neverborn; thus it can never die. Why is it infinite? It has no desires for itself;thus it is present for all beings.
” Taoism believed in little governmentalinterference. This is best described through the belief that, “the meek wouldinherit the earth. “. Another example would be from the passage by Lao Tzustating, “Throw away holiness and wisdom, and the people will be a hundredtime happier. Throw away morality and justice, and the people will do the rightthing.
Throw away industry and profit, and there won’t be any thieves. “Taoism is most described as that which is striving for equality. The thought ofremaining in the middle, is the general belief in Taoism. . The creation of Yinand Yang derived from the belief of Tao.
Tao is not only tangible things, butalso what cannot be comprehended. What cannot be seen is also know as theultimate principle or truth. Tao proposed a new thought pattern for the Chinesepeople. The people now realized that they need each other.
“Being andnon-being create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. Long andshort define each other. High and low depend on each other. Before and afterfollow on each other.
” The tradition family values were modified to a lesserdependence upon the home. Tao also provided a direction for which the Chinesepeople could follow, and achieve happiness. The direction that Lao Tzuprescribed was to maintain a neutral area. His expressed this belief when hewrote the following; “The Tao doesn’t take sides; it gives birth to bothgood and evil. The Master doesn’t take sides; she welcomes both saints andsinners.
The Tao is like a bellows; it is empty yet infinitely capable. The moreyou use it, the more it produces. The more you talk of it, the less youunderstand. Hold onto the center.
” During the Han Dynasty, they attempted toblend the Taoism and Confusism. Although this dynasty was one of the mostsuccessful of all of Chinese history, this blend turned into a complete failure. Confusism implied that the “old ways” were only old ways. The idea that thenew way was the right (only) way caused all of the ancient books to be burned.
The possessors of these books were severely punished. Another outcome was thecreation of the Great Wall. This wall was created to protect from attack fromneighboring Barbarians, but this also sheltered the Chinese people from outsideknowledge. Now Taoism was held exclusively to China.
This allowed this belief tobe pondered and modified. This helped to create Buddhism. Buddhism also is amore optimistic religion, compared to Confusism. Buddhism is now the mostpopular religion (based on percentage compared to population) in Asia. It is nolonger in just China, it has since spread to India, and the Americas.
Inconclusion, the teachings from Tao Te Ching changed the way that the Chinesethink. The idea of expanding one’s knowledge was partially due to the creationof Taoism. Now the belief of equality is an issue that many areas are facing,such as the Americas, and African countries. Bibliography1.
Fairservis, Walter A. Jr. , BEFORE THE BUDDHA CAME, New York, New York,Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972, pp. 7-64.
2. Lao Tzu, TAO TE CHING, Edited andTranslated by Stephen Mitchell, New York, New York, HarperColilins Publishers,Inc. , 1988 3. Yutang, Lin,: THE CHINESE WAY OF LIFE, Cleveland, Ohio, The WorldPublishing Company, 1959, pp. 82-123.