Term Paper: Philosophy - Taoism Philosophical Principles

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Philosophy - Taoism

PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES of TAOISM

Background and History of Taoist Philosophy:

Taoism (or Daoism) is not a specific religion, but rather, it refers to a large class of religious philosophies dating back to the third or fourth century, BC. The most remote origins of Taoism go back even further, perhaps one or two thousand years, to the shamans and cults associated with ancient China before recorded history (Bowker 1997).

Unlike many Western religious traditions, Taoism emphasizes principles and fundamental teachings that are equally applicable to secular life as to a specific religious orientation. In many respects, Taoist teachings are conducive to personal growth and development that completely transcend any formal religious beliefs or cultural perspective. Taoism, Nature, and Yin-Yang:

One of the fundamental tenets of Taoism is the respect for the harmony and balance evident in the natural world. Taoism conceives of the natural harmony and balance of nature in the notion of qi, which represents the natural flow of energy in the world. According to Taoist philosophy, the undisrupted flow of qi is necessary for the balance of yin and yang, as much in human society and affairs as in nature (Capra 1991).

Therefore, Taoists believe that blockages in the natural flow of energies represented by qi account for negative occurrences in nature as well as in human affairs. In contemporary life, the Taoist concept of natural balance and energy flow is useful for maintaining a perspective that views isolated disappointments and failures as comparatively inconsequential in the larger realm of life.

The Natural Law of Wu Wei:

The Taoist concept of wu wei refers to the notion that interacting "naturally" in the world is a key to internal psychological peace and external harmony within society. It conceives of human accomplishment as something that one should achieve more naturally than through aspirations of accomplishment, especially for its own sake (Bowker 1997). In contemporary life, the principle of wu wei is useful for distinguishing naturally harmonious motivation, such as by talent and natural inclination instead of by competition or the comparatively unnatural motivation by acquisitive aspirations like materialism.

The Moral Golden Rule of Taoism:

The foundational moral rule of Taoism differs from the Golden Rule suggested by Western religious traditions. Instead of advocating treating others as one would have others treat him, Taoist philosophy favors the Bronze Rule according… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Philosophy - Taoism Philosophical Principles."  Essaytown.com.  July 20, 2008.  Accessed December 9, 2019.
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