BBC - Religions - Taoism: Concepts within Taoism
relationships to Eastern philosophical principles than to the traditional model of interrelated in a ceaseless cyclic motion between two poles Yin and Yang. . this world, and can thus be used to describe any thing or any phenomena on . relation and interaction between the whole and its components or parts, in which. In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may Chinese Taoist Association . The yin yang (i.e. taijitu symbol) shows a balance between two opposites with a portion of the . In Daoist philosophy, dark and light, yin and yang, arrive in the Tao Te Ching at chapter The concepts of yin and yang are central to Chinese religion and philosophy as a The Tao and its primal interplay of opposites is all fundamentally Good.
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Moreover, the symbol itself is familiar worldwide to many people regardless of their knowledge of the Chinese traditions. These two principles represent the primal interplay of opposites in life and in the world - known here as the Tao. They form the dynamism of the Tao, or the way of all things. Life is lived inside the interplay of opposites: Yin and Yang symbolize this interplay that is at the center of life's dynamism or energy.
Yin and yang - Wikipedia
They are, thus, the energy of the Tao. About the only oppositional pair that would not be included in this symbol would be Good and Evil, at least not in the ultimate, "capital letter" sense of the words. The Tao and its primal interplay of opposites is all fundamentally Good, according to Chinese philosophy and religion. Things may appear good or bad lower case letters in the immediate or short-term sense, in that things are experienced as either good or bad for our lives.
However, in the grand scheme of things, even "bad" things are Good; they are not Evil.
The roots of this community have embedded themselves deeply into the Chinese mindset, shaping the thoughts and actions of hundreds of millions; even China's 57 years of communist rule could not curb its popularity. Today, non-Taoists too adopt the principles that the aged Zhang espoused in the land of the Giant Panda. At the close of the Han Dynasty B. He proclaimed that Lao Tzu, the legendary philosopher at least seven centuries his predecessor, had solicited him to drive out demons and evil spirits.
He also charged him to lead his followers according to "the way of the orthodox oneness of the celestial masters," which ultimately translated into the name of this belief system. Anyone, Zhang added, who adhered to the teachings and led a virtuous life might be blessed with the ultimate reward: In his new religion, Zhang interwove the teachings of Lao Tzu with ancient myths and legends, creating a pantheon of gods in the process.
He set up 24 communities, each of which had its own hostels where priests offered guidance. Anyone wishing to enter the movement was required to pay a tribute: These strange teachings exerted an even greater influence on the Chinese than Buddhism, another religion from southern Asia.
That's still very relevant. It is a faith that has melded the teachings of erudite philosophers with traditional fables, the rituals of secret societies, magic, alchemy, psychology, rural superstitions and even lovemaking techniques into an esoteric canon that is very much alive today.
Many of the most fascinating aspects of Asian mysticism can be traced back to Taoism. A wealth of festivals and customs in China today bear Taoist features, including the Lantern Festival held in February.
Taoism as ''The Way'': Yin and Yang & the Wu-wei Concept
It is a wintry day; she lights incense sticks in Beijing's Baiyun Temple and bows to the gods. She would never set foot in a Buddhist temple; a fortune teller had warned her against it when she was young. For 10 yuan about 1 eurothey buy tasseled red prayer tokens and hang them in front of their favorite gods. This year, a remarkable number of these offerings were dangling in front of the god charged with ensuring incorruptible, honest and humble government.
Many Chinese still passionately practice feng shui. A feng shui master is almost always consulted on building projects, above all in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The master subjects the site to a thorough spiritual examination, determining whether the house is truly in harmony with nature and the supernatural. Do dragons, for example, have direct access to the sea from the house? And then there's the breathing technique called qigong. Millions of Chinese practice it every day. This ancient art of wellness involves a range of movement and relaxation techniques.
Together with acupuncture, it is the most important therapy in traditional Chinese medicine. Its central concept is qi, life force. If a person is to remain healthy, the qi must be able to flow freely through his or her body. Like the shout of hallelujah in the Christian church, the concept of yin and yang is an integral part of Taoism.
Probably the best-known Taoist symbol, yin and yang represent two primal opposite forces in the universe: Whereas many European flags are designed around the cross, the yin-andyang symbol has become part of South Korea's flag. Yet, Taoism - simply translated as "the teaching of the way" - is one of the world's most complex religions. It is embedded in a universe of the mystical, the magical and the paradoxical.
To its followers, the Tao is more than a faith; it is also a principle that permeates everything, one that existed before the chaos from which the world emerged.
As a result, the Tao suffuses every living creature. The Tao keeps the universe in equilibrium. And it moderates the tensions between love and hate. Followers believe the Tao cannot be precisely defined because it reflects the "supreme reality and the supreme mystery.
Yin and yang
Even the father of Taoism, the philosopher Lao Tzu, is an enigma. Did he really live in the sixth century B. Or is he just a mythical, legendary figure, a figment of human fantasy?
One thing is certain, though: It is a compendium of adages, aphorisms and apparent riddles: If you want to weaken something, you need to strengthen it. If you want to topple something, you have to raise it A universe of the mystical, the magical and the paradoxical Some years later, Zhuangzi who - along with Lao Tzu - is considered the father of philosophical Taoism, added fables and parables to the aphorisms.
The main characters in Zhuangzi's works were usually craftsmen and simple folk, but they had all understood the deeper meaning of life; the Tao, its followers believe, manifests itself naturally in people and cannot be influenced by reason or conscious intervention.
Because everything is in flux, humans need to adapt constantly. Taoism is therefore both a religion and a philosophy. Like Buddhism, Taoism began spreading long ago.
The deities might have been real human beings. Others are the products of pure imagination. The sage Lao Tzu was born to a woman who, legend has it, carried him in her womb for 81 years! He may also appear as one of 81 other shapes or forms.
The Three Purities are more important still. They are followed in the divine hierarchy by the gods of naturalness, the heavens and the earth, at whose center are a jade emperor - who was born before the heavens and earth divided - and his wife. This couple, in turn, oversees the guardians of water, the heavens and the earth, after which come the rulers of the mountains and the guardians of the points of the compass.
They are followed by the 10 generals who protect pregnant women, and the gods of hell, the kings of the underworld and of the final judgment. In Taoist temples, the Chinese worship more than 1, gods. These lord over such fateful questions in life as success in exams, fortune in love, the prevention of toothache and, of course, personal wealth. In Taiwan, for instance, they venerate former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, who died inand his first wife, Yang Kaihui, as gods. At the moment, the professor is experiencing the mysteries of Taoism every day: He is studying 18 clay figures of gods, some of them up to years old, that were recently discovered by farmers.
But I haven't got a clue which gods most of them could be," Li says.