Daoism: A Journey Essay

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By traditional accounts, Daoism, or Taoism as it is also known, was founded during the sixth century BCE in China under the influence of the legendary philosopher Lao Tzu and the Tao Teh Ching (Coogan 222), but, as with every religion, this origin has been questioned (Jurji 24). The validity of Lao Tzu has been brought into question, and many believe the Tao Teh Ching is actually the work of several authors in one compilation of ideas thought well before the sixth century or even fourth century, BCE (Coogan 222). Notoriously hard to define, Daoism has taken many shapes over the years and is as much as a way of life as a religion. Although there is a enormous amount of literature involved with Daoism, the Daoist canon itself contains …show more content…
It is, but it isn't. It is everything and nothing all at once, and those who know it do not speak of it. It is the origin of all we know and all returns to the Dao, but it is unknowable. It is part of us, but it is beyond us. The Tao Teh Ching seeks to teach of something that is unteachable, and it is upfront in that contradiction. Simply or not simply put, “The Tao is like an empty bowl,/ Which in being used can never be filled up./ Fathomless, it seems to be the origin of all things./ It blunts all sharp edges,/ It unties all tangles,/ It harmonizes all lights,/ It unites the world into one whole./...” (Laozi 9) and “Man follows the ways of the Earth./ The Earth follows the ways of Heaven,/ Heaven follows the ways of the Tao, / Tao follows its own ways,” (Laozi 55). It is what it is, it is hard to define, and if an individual truly believes in the Dao then they don't attempt to explain it away. Over and over throughout the Tao Teh Ching, there is advice and insight beyond trying to explain the inexplicable and a pecking order so to speak. From the truth of warfare (Laozi 69-71) to the emphasis on wu-wei, or action through non-action (Laozi 143), and living serenely and harmoniously with nature (Laozi 65) and the world (Laozi 105), Daoism as a lifestyle and a religion has drawn many of its defining characteristics from the Tao Teh Ching. Its proverbs and
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