On Earth we are pushed almost simultaneously in some sort of direction, opportunity, decision, etc. and when these situations present themselves we face dilemmas of how and why we should approach them in a certain manner according to moral precepts, short and long term goals, and societal constraints. The teachings of Taoism are an excellent if not perfect life guide for these dealings, because the Tao, or “the way”, can be thought in terms of a form of enlightenment or remedy for the humanly ways of this world.
The Tao upholds the natural proof that life is of the utmost importance and the most valued possession in life is intrinsically itself. In this supreme experience of life we face constant movement for advancement of self and quality of life by technology and mentality, yet the Tao gestures a content and simple life where these “improvements” aren’t the strives we need to be making. The orchestrator of Taoism himself, Lao Tzu, it was said, “the greatest Virtue is to follow the Tao and Tao alone” (Tzu 10) which states of the Tao’s incomparability to life’s other moral and spiritual modules.
Throughout this paper I will divulge the in the functions of simplicity and humbleness professed in Taoism as well as the utility of the Tao in nearly every aspect of life. History and Beginnings of Taoism Taoism is believed to have started in the 6th century B. C. E. by a former government worker who maintained the royal archives during the reign of the Chou Dynasty. That keeper of the royal archives was named Lao Tzu and he became dreary from his work so left his occupation to pursue a different calling out west.
It is speculated that upon his departure from the confines of China, a guard watching the border asked him to record all of his wisdom before he passed. With this incentive Lao Tzu sat down and wrote the Tao Te Ching, which was his only known work summing up to roughly 5,000 words and spoke of in depth of the manner of the Tao and how it correlates to us, this life, and the world. It was Tzu’s only work (which some scholars dispute it was other sages compiling together and not one entity, Lao Tzu) whereupon he was never seen or recorded again. With this Taoism was born.
To understand the method of the Tao it needs to be understood what the Tao reflects and what the Tao is because that is the essence of the Tao, it just is. Essentially the Tao is the natural order and true way of life, it is an ultimately indescribable yet definable through guidelines and the teachings written by Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu even said in the first lines of the Tao Te Ching, “ The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao” , signifying that telling and learning of the Taoism is not genuine Tao because the Tao has to be lived and found out personally from person to person.
“ Daoist ideas[consist of ] the ecstatic journey, physical immortality, sexual yoga, and in particular the aspiration to harmonize human life with the way of nature”, here we see a connection to individual life and becoming one being of nature through this “ecstatic journey”, which is simple bliss in our voyage through time on this earth. While were here on planet Earth we aren’t really making the best out of it but rather coming to the realization that inherently this life is the best in the way it is.
This simplicity is the vitality of our life, we need to let the roots of the real planet take over our life, and not submit to contaminated constraints of society or contemporary lifestyles for, “he is detached, thus at one with all” where “he” is detached from societal conformity and thinking and one with all the underlying truth of the world. Intrinsically this universal way to life, that is the Tao, is perfect and flawless from times of sorrow to times of joy because like the Yin and Yang symbol from ancient Chinese culture in life should be in accordance and equilibrium with the natural way of things.
Taken as a whole the doctrine of the Tao is to combine with your original and eternal ancestry with this earth and just be. As I have mentioned the Tao is oriented around the union of our individual life and the eternal, ever-constant (in principle), and natural way of the earth. In the marriage of life and the way, the component that we are in control of( and I say control with care because the Tao is not about control or absoluteness it’s about harmony and being taken up with your world) is our personal life and personality. This life right here and now is so
important it gets taken for granted and disregarded so often due to the unnatural ways society pushes us. Without this life we wouldn’t have anything, any reality, any fun or depression, no anything. For this basic reason alone our time here in this existence, our life, is our ultimate possession in this life is this life. The opportunity to live purely and purposefully with the planet’s path is what our existence is about is what the Tao Te Ching brings to light and from this truth it can be derived that our life is the our best achievement.
A very prominent message that resounds throughout the Tao Te Ching and principles of Taoism is the importance of keeping life basic and rudimentary in operation. This does not mean you are a buffoon and you should do nothing, but interpreted to common language lifestyles should be basic and not enthused by complicated thinking, personality, and actions. Science is a big discrepancy with the Taoist thought pattern, a Tao sage wouldn’t advocate for improvement in sciences. Yet with this in mind, “Taoists were often scientists of China.
Theirs was a different conception of science, based not on the exploration of the underlying laws of phenomena, but on the observation of the behavior of animals, plants, the elements, and the heavens. ”, more of a mild consideration for the reality around us and how it corresponds to the natural way things are and how we play a part in it as individuals. When we follow the flow of the Tao we are in sync with nature’s ever pure intentions and a simplistic life separated from convoluted ideals and standards set by humans to live by.
To satisfy the Tao we have realized we should not strive for things, material or spiritual, but allow this essence of the world to become us by living in an effortless way. There is a self-gratification to simple living, “ Lao Tzu rejected scientific and technological progress… he wrote that content people enjoy the labor of their hands and don’t waste time inventing labor-saving machines” where we are content and reap the benefits of our work to thrive in unison with the world.
In this manner of simplicity life is lived how it was meant to be lived. Tantamount in importance for Taoism is dissent from popularity and splendor in your life. If we are to be simple beings in unity with nature then we should not be crowding our heads with egoistical beliefs that our own supremacy is important. In the grand scheme of this planet we are a miniscule part but a part nonetheless, one who should surrender to the natural course of the world. “The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to source”, as explained by Lao Tzu we go about our business with highs and lows of attitude, status, and life in general but always return to the basis source where we originated from, and so we should avoid trying to raise up and improve because it is unnatural and we will just return to the basis anyway. This life’s peak is unattainable because it is not part of this journey, we shouldn’t even try to achieve the high of our live through improvement of self because we are meant to be simple and just the way we are.
To just be as a basic being is to be perfectly purposeful. Our time here on this planet is to accept that the way of the world is the Tao and is the force we adhere, it is the ultimate answer to our world. We live here and now to follow the Tao and be content with our life as it is the most important thing we harbor. It is a basic life but that’s more than okay, we should have a life of no achievements because those could lead ultimately to downfalls and an unnatural course in our life going against the Tao of the world.
Always unimportance in ourselves is key if we are to live harmoniously with this planet. Simplicity all around and submitting to the underlying but truly eternal and ultimate flow of the Tao is our purpose here and now, just be, no adjustments, just being. Works Cited Clarke, J. J. The Tao of the West: Western Transformations of Taoist Thought. New York, NewYork: Routledge, 2000. Print Goffman, Ken, Joy, Dan. Counter Culture Through The Ages: From Abraham to Acid House. New York, U. S. A. : Villard Books, 2004. Print Tzu, Lao. Tao Te Ching.
China:np,nd. Print Welch, Holmes. Taoism The Parting of the Way. Toronto, Canada: Beacon Paperback, 1966. Print. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Sages, are wise teacher-like people regarded with high level experience and wisdom of the world and its ways. [ 2 ]. The Yin and Yang is a symbol resonating with ancient Chinese philosophy that represent the natural opposites such as dark and light, innovation and conservation, masculine and feminine, as they occur and have to be in balance and coexistence with one another.