Wu Introduction Chinese culture is so substantive in content, so comprehensive in varieties, and has had so long a history, that to its outsiders, it is very similar to the elephant before the blind men in the ancient story. The blind men could not grasp the elephant in its entirety.
References and Further Reading 1. Strictly speaking there was no Daoism before the literati of the Han dynasty c.
So, Daoism was a retroactive grouping of ideas and writings which were already at least one to two centuries old, and which may or may not have been ancestral to various post-classical religious movements, all self-identified as daojiao "teaching of the dao"beginning with the reception of revelations from the deified Laozi by the Celestial Masters Tianshi lineage founder, Zhang Buddhist confucian and taoist views on, in C.
This article privileges the formative influence of early texts, such as the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi, but accepts contemporary Daoists' assertion of continuity between classical and post-classical, "philosophical" and "religious" movements and texts.
Classical Sources for Our Understanding of Daoism Daoism does not name a tradition constituted by a founding thinker, even though the common belief is that a teacher named Laozi originated the school and wrote its major work, called the Daodejing, also sometimes known as the Laozi.
However, various streams of thought and practice were passed along by masters daoshi before these texts were finalized. There are two major source issues to be considered when forming a position on the origins of Daoism. With regard to the first question, Isabelle Robinet thinks that the classical texts are only the most lasting evidence of a movement she associates with a set of writings and practices associated with the Songs of Chu Chuciand that she identifies as the Chuci movement.
This movement reflects a culture in which male and female masters variously called fangshi, daoshi, zhenren, or daoren practiced techniques of longevity and used diet and meditative stillness anto create a way of life that attracted disciples and resulted in wisdom teachings.
Some examples include a coincidence of names of immortals sagesa commitment to the pursuit of physical immortality, a belief in the epistemic value of stillness and quietude, abstinence from grains, breathing and sexual practices used to regulate internal energy qiand the use of ritual dances that resemble those still done by Daoist masters the step of Yu.
In addition to the controversial connection to the Songs of Chu, the Guanzi B. Two other chapters of the Guanzi are called Xin shu Heart-mind book. The Xin shu connects the ideas of quietude and stillness found in both the Daodejing and Zhuangzi to longevity practices.
The idea of dao in these chapters is very much like that of the classical works. Its image of the sage resembles that of the Zhuangzi. It uses the same term zheng that Zhuangzi uses for the corrections a sage must make in his body, the pacification of the heart-mind, and the concentration and control of internal energy qi.
The Songs of Chu and Guanzi still represent texts which are themselves creations of actual practitioners of Daoist teachings and sentiments, just as do the Daodejing and Zhuangzi. Who these persons were we do not know with certainty. It is possible that we do have the names, remarks, and practices of some of these individuals daoshi embodied in the passages of the Zhuangzi.
For example, in Chs. As for a reasonable reconstruction of the textual tradition upon which Daoism is based, we should not try to think of this task so simply as determining the relationship between the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi, such as which text was first and which came later.
These texts are composite. However, we are not certain whether this means that whomever was the source of this material in the Zhuangzi knew the Daodejing and quoted it, or if they both drew from a common source, or even if the Daodejing in some way depended on the Zhuangzi.
In fact, one theory about the legendary figure Laozi is that he was created first in the Zhuangzi and later became associated with the Daodejing. There are seventeen passages in which Laozi a. Lao Dan plays a role in the Zhuangzi and he is not mentioned by name in the Daodejing.
Based on what we know now, we could offer the following summary of the sources of early Daoism. The essay in Chs. Is Daoism a Philosophy or a Religion? In the late s Western and comparative philosophers began to point out that an important dimension of the historical context of Daoism was being overlooked because the previous generation of scholars had ignored or even disparaged connections between the classical texts and Daoist religious belief and practice not previously thought to have developed until the 2nd century C.
We have to lay some of the responsibility for a prejudice against Daoism as a religion and the privileging of its earliest forms as a pure philosophy at the feet of the eminent translators and philosophers Wing-Tsit Chan and James Legge, who both spoke of Daoist religion as a degeneration of a pristine Daoist philosophy arising from the time of the Celestial Masters see below in the late Han period.
Chan and Legge were instrumental architects in the West of the view that Daoist philosophy daojia and Daoist religion daojiao are entirely different traditions.
Actually, our interest in trying to separate philosophy and religion in Daoism is more revealing of the Western frame of reference we use than of Daoism itself. Daoist ideas fermented among master teachers who had a holistic view of life.
These daoshi Daoist masters did not compartmentalize practices by which they sought to influence the forces of reality, increase their longevity, have interaction with realities not apparent to our normal way of seeing things, and order life morally and by rulership.
They offered insights we might call philosophical aphorisms. The masters transmitted their teachings, some of them only to disciples and adepts, but gradually these teachings became more widely available as is evidenced in the very creation of the Daodejing and Zhuangzi themselves.
The anti-supernaturalist and anti-dualist agendas that provoked Westerners to separate philosophy and religion, dating at least to the classical Greek period of philosophy was not part of the preoccupation of Daoists.
Accordingly, the question whether Daoism is a philosophy or a religion is not one we can ask without imposing a set of understandings, presuppositions, and qualifications that do not apply to Daoism.PDF Doc. ( KB) Guide to Tipitaka — Compiled by U KO Lay.
The Guide to the Tipitaka is an outline of the Pali Buddhist Canonical Scriptures of Theravada Buddhism from Burma. This lesson will trace Buddhism's rise to prominence in China.
In doing so, it will highlight the Han and Tang Dynasties as well as Emperor Wuzong's persecution of the Buddhist monasteries of the. Taoist ideas about suffering and evil come from a variety of sources and are quite diverse. Many look to Taoist priests to resolve illness or misfortune by communicating on their behalf to the gods.
De (德 "power; virtue; integrity") is the term generally used to refer to proper adherence to the Tao; De is the active living or cultivation of the way.
Particular things (things with names) that manifest from the Tao have their own inner nature that they follow, in accordance with the Tao. Basic Characteristics of Chinese Culture. Joseph S. Wu. Introduction. Chinese culture is so substantive in content, so comprehensive in varieties, and has had so long a history, that to its outsiders, it is very similar to the elephant before the blind men in the ancient story.
Daoist (Taoist) simplicity stimulated Chan's abandonment of Buddhist theory and was accompanied by another traditional Daoist feature—the emphasis on total absorption in practice of a highly cultivated skill.