Men who possess my Tao are princes in this life and rulers in the hereafter. Taoism is both a religion and philosophy with roots extending to ancient shamanism.
These conflicting views are regrettable because Lao Tzu insisted on Ultimate Clarity, with confusion regarded as a cardinal sin.
With so many different explanations available, Taoism has become difficult for Americans to grasp, making it fascinating but also vague.
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The Tao Te Ching unifies all aspects of existence. It combines both earthly and spiritual dimensions with principles that simultaneously function in physical, mental and metaphysical realms. For this reason, classical Taoist instruction included physical exercise, meditation, philosophy and religious ceremonies to reinforce how core principles transcend dimensions.
The Temple of Original Simplicity teaches this holistic view of reality in a way that hopefully beguiles while instructs. It is worn on bracelets, appears on clothing, and is used in corporate logos. This symbol represents core Taoist principles, with some interesting nuances, which are central to its philosophy.
Thus the duality of all phenomena — whether summer and winter, male and female, or life and death — are shown to be opposing manifestations of the same principle and should not to be viewed as independent phenomena. Note, too, that the symbol is neither predominately white nor predominately black, but equal portions of each.
This is meant to represent the balanced proportions of our universe as found in nature.
For example, both day and night are needed in roughly equal proportions for life on earth to thrive — 24 hours of daylight or 24 hours of darkness would be disastrous. The symbol also exhibits a rotating pattern between the two colors, suggesting a continuous exchange or movement from black to white and from white to black, like day to night and night to day.
Holy book of taoism tao te ching sage
This clarity of color symbolizes the need for clarity in all aspects of a life. In becoming a spiritual person, a clear purposeful understanding of what is happening is required to determine appropriate action. Caution is required when black and white mix to form an uncertain gray.
Unfortunately, confusion will invariably arise when presented with new situations during the course of life.
Periods of confusion can be expected, much in the same way that each day transitions through twilight into night. It is the goal of the Taoist, however, to keep his twilight — his period of confusion — as short as possible. As in nature, twilight does not last 24 hours. Some people seem to embrace confusion, chasing the twilight.
They fear decision-making because it carries responsibility for action. For these people, the line between yin and yang is blurred as they remain passive in ambiguous periods. Sometimes this can be hard as decisions to achieve clarity may involve uncomfortable conversations followed by tough action. For example, not confronting a dysfunctional and unclear relationship — both personal and professional — comes to mind.
It is equally important to distinguish clarity from purity. A clear vision of the world and decisive navigation throughout life should not be based upon unrealistic expectations of purity. For example, one has no trouble distinguishing day from night, and yet there is not pure darkness at night — there is still some light from the moon and stars. Similarly, when an accomplished artist paints a tree leaf, he mixes in a little brown and yellow paint with the green to achieve a natural, lifelike appearance; a child painting the same leaf would use pure green, which appears artificial and unnatural.
Embracing the power of opposites is necessary for most phenomena to function correctly. An athlete knows muscles grow only if intense physical training is followed by a period of relaxation — otherwise over-training results in damaged muscles. A military officer cultivates tactics for aggressive attack, but also understands how to retreat. Given the unity of Taoism, there are applications in the physical, mental and metaphysical realms.
For example, if asked what a person wants out of life, there is often confusion and bewilderment. However, by mentally exploring what is not wanted, the desired aspects become clearer and clearer. It turns out that investigating the opposite side of any phenomenon often provides an easier path to enlightenment than the more direct approach. This is a valuable technique that can be immediately used without specialized training. Death haunts us. Its inevitability is one of the most important driving forces in life.
Its uncontrollable arrival is feared and the loss of loved ones lamented. That is, the soul goes somewhere at the time of death, so it came from somewhere at time of birth. The realization that death is that time when the soul returns to its home is reassuring. It also carries profound implications about the purpose of life. Symbols are important: countries have flags, companies have logos, and religions have icons. The purpose of Taoism is to explain how the world operates and the best way to navigate through life.
By adhering to this strict test, dysfunctional impulses, like fame and fortune, can be warded off. Finally, the religious aspects of Taoism teach us that a content physical existence will best prepare the soul for that time when the body is cast off.
Whether physical, mental, or metaphysical, contentment is the ultimate goal. Taoism is a philosophical and religious system built on a holistic view of reality. It unifies all existence with principles that cut across both the seen and unseen dimensions. This iconic image represents the duality of all phenomena — whether summer and winter, male and female, or life and death — as opposing manifestations of the same principle and not to be viewed as independent.
In this regard, Nature serves as the uncorrupted manifestation of the Heavens and the model from which a Taoist should take his instruction. By contrast, the nature of Man, as manifested in Society, represents an unending source of confusion and is to be regarded with caution and suspicion.
This duality — Nature versus Society — is a distinctly Taoist principle. Given that the Taoist regards Nature as his model of uncorrupted reality, what is the fundamental lesson to be derived? Apparently there is little mercy in the natural world as all effort is devoted towards survival.
Enlightened self-interest would be the best way to describe this principle to modern sensibilities. Taoism is a philosophy for the Individual. It regards Society as including confused people who voluntarily submit to beguiling social conventions. Lao Tzu cautions that social conventions may include virtues and behaviors which benefit society at the expense of the individual; i.
Thus the Taoist separates ineffective virtues from effective ones by understanding that there are helpful individual values and potentially unhelpful social values. With the duality of Society versus the Individual clearly described, Lao Tzu goes further by unambiguously identifying the source of detrimental social values.
Tao Te Ching – Lao-Tzu - Everyman's Library Collection
This is a hard concept for many to accept: How could humanity and justice be bad? The answer lies in recognizing that society largely promulgates artificial and not natural notions of virtues. This means not trying to change things that do not bring tangible personal benefits.
For example, Taoists remain uninvolved in politics because attempting to improve society wastes focus, time and energy with little personal gain. But there is a deeper implication too: Taoists let things achieve harmony on their own, according to their natural traits.
Recognizing that the Individual may hold different values from members of Society has important consequences for appropriate behavior. To deal with this undesired animosity, Lao Tzu maintains that one needs to disguise such beliefs using a strategy of camouflage. In translating this observation to Man, he advises using practical tests to constantly check whether desires are attainable and within our grasp. The weight lifter adds 5 pounds — not 50 — to test and improve his maximum lift, the runner gradually increases his training distance before attempting a marathon, and a student pilot flies to the next town before attempting to transit the country.
Thus our inherent desires, including pride, make contentment unachievable without practical tests to remind us of our limitations. This ensures that our mental model of the world is firmly grounded in reality, arresting tendencies to chase chimeras and remain in a content state of what is attainable. The tour opens, and the user will be on the first floor.
Before you continue...
Please use the mouse to navigate the tour and move between the three floors. There are small blue and white circles that can be clicked upon with the mouse. These links show artifacts and documents blown up for enhanced readability. Also, one can click on a blue and white circle to move from the first floor to the second floor.
There are also blue circles on the floor, that when clicked on, allow the user jump to certain strategic viewing locations. These blue circles allow the viewer to experience the Temple and its ancient icons in 3D.
Please click on the link below. The tour opens, and the user will be in the entranceway on the first floor. Also, one can click on a blue and white circle to move from the first floor to the second floor, the Main Hall of Taoist Deities. There are also blue circles on the ground that when clicked on allow the user jump to certain strategic viewing locations. A user can move from the Main Hall of Taoist Deities to the third floor, the Hall of Foxes, by moving up the stairs with the mouse or clicking on the blue circles on the floor to jump up the stairs.
Mount the second set of stairs and use the mouse or blue circles to move up to the Hall of Foxes. One can then navigate and analyze icons in detail in the Hall of Foxes. Lao Tzu is the founder of Taoism in BC.
Basic Principles. Goal 2.
Oneness 3. Manifestation 4. Nature 5. Society 6. Humanity 7. Non-interference 8. Camouflage 9.