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Taoism


We look at it, and we do not see it, and we name it 'the Equable.' We listen to it, and we do not hear it, and we name it 'the Inaudible.' We try to grasp it, and do not get hold of it, and we name it 'the Subtle.' With these three qualities, it cannot be made the subject of description; and hence we blend them together and obtain 'The One.'
-- Tao te Ching

Tao Texts:
Holy Tao te Ching
The Tao Te Ching (sometimes rendered in recent works as Dao De Jing);roughly translated as The Book of the Way and its Virtue is an ancient Chinese scripture originally named the Laozi. The work is traditionally said to have been penned about 600 BC by the famous sage called Lao Zi (WG: Lao Tzu, "Old Master"), who is said to have been a record-keeper of the Emperor's Court of the Chou Dynasty; but authenticity, dates and authorship are still debated. This short and obscure book is one of the most influential on Chinese philosophy and religion, especially through Taoism, but also through Buddhism, because this Indian religion shared many Taoist words and concepts before developing into Chinese Buddhism. (Indeed, upon first encountering it, Chinese scholars regarded Buddhism as merely a foreign equivalent of Taoism.)
Intro taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tao_Te_Ching
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Holy Chuang Tzu
Zhuang Zi, Chuang Tzu, or Chuang Tse (literally meaning "Master Zhuang") was a famous philosopher in ancient China who lived around the 4th century BC during the Warring States Period, corresponding to the Hundred Schools of Thought philosophical summit of Chinese thought. The Taoist book Zhuangzi of the same name is a composite of writings from various sources. The traditional view is that Zhuang Zi himself wrote the first several chapters (the "inner" chapters) and his students and related thinkers were responsible for the other parts (the "outer" and "miscellaneous" chapters). Strong proof of direct authorship by Zhuang Zi of any of the text is difficult.
Intro taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuang_Tzu
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About Taoism:

Major Chinese religio-philosophical tradition.

Though the concept of tao was employed by all Chinese schools of thought, Taoism arose out of the promotion of tao as the social ideal. Laozi is traditionally regarded as the founder of Taoism and the author of its classic text, the Tao-te ching. Other Taoist classics include the Zhuangzi (4th-3rd century BC) and the Liezi.

In Taoism, tao is the force or principle about which nothing can be predicated, but that latently contains the forms, entities, and forces of all phenomena. This natural wisdom should not be interfered with; de, or superior virtue, is acquired through action so entirely in accordance with the natural order that its author leaves no trace of himself in his work. The tradition holds that all beings and things are fundamentally one.

Taoism's focus on nature and the natural order complements the societal focus of Confucianism, and its synthesis with Buddhism is the basis of Zen.
Taken from http://education.yahoo.com/search/be?p=taoism
Important Persons:

Lao Tzu

It's hard to pin down a biography of Lao Tzu (570-490 BC). There are numerous legends about him. Many believe he never existed at all, while historians can point to several possible historical identities for him. Regardless, the legends give the book an endearing, human face.

He was appointed Keeper of the Imperial Archives by the King of Zhou in Luoyang. He studied the archive's books avidly and his insight grew.

Much later, Lao Tzu perceived that the kingdom's affairs were disintegrating , so it was time to leave. He was travelling West on a buffalo when he came to the Han Gu Pass, which was guarded. The keeper of the pass realised Lao Tzu was leaving permanently, so he requested that Lao Tzu write out some of his wisdom so that it could be preserved once he was gone.

Lao Tzu climbed down from his buffalo and immediately wrote the Tao Te Ching. He then left and was never heard of again.
Taken from http://www.thetao.info/tao/laotzu.htm

Chuang Tzu

Chuang Tzu (Chuang Chou, ca, 360 BC), along with Lao Tzu, is a defining figure in Chinese Taoism. Chuang Tzu probably authored only parts of the first 7 chapters of the present text, the so-called Inner Chapters. The others were written either by followers of thinkers of related but different theoretical orientations. They often expand on themes in the "inner" chapters.

Chuang Tzu's familiarity with and confident handling of the technical language of ancient Chinese semantics make it probable that he had the ancient Chinese equivalent of analytic philosophical training. It is, thus, no accident that even philosophers skeptical of the general philosophical quality of Chinese thought hold him in the highest regard.
Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuang_tzu
Taoism Symbol:

The concept of yin and yang originates in ancient Chinese philosophy and metaphysics, which describes two primal opposing but complementary forces found in all things in the universe.

Yin, the darker element, is passive, dark, feminine, downward-seeking, and corresponds to the night; yang, the brighter element, is active, light, masculine, upward-seeking and corresponds to the day.

The pair probably goes back to ancient agrarian religion; it exists in Confucianism, and it is prominent in Taoism. Though the words yin and yang only appear once in the Tao Te Ching, the book is laden with examples and clarifications of the concept of mutual arising.
Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_yang




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