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Taoism

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Taoism

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  1. Taoism Scriptures

  2. Contrary to the popular opinion, the earliest Taoist scripture is not Lao-tzu’s text the Tao TeChing(Classic of the Way and Its Power) The Tao TeChing is the foundation of philosophical Taoism and has deeply affected religious Taoist thought as well, but it is not the first book of importance to Taoism

  3. Scriptures: • I-Ching (Yijing; the Book of Change) • Tao TeChing (classic of the way and its power) • Chuang-Tzu/ Nan-huaChing • T’ai-P’ingChing (The Scripture of the Ultimate Equilibium • Tao-tsang (Taoist Canon)

  4. I-Ching (Book of Change • The chinese character for the “I” in I-Ching has many meanings (easy, simple, change, or exchange) • Uses very simple and easy to remember symbols to reveal the everchanging nature of the world, how things will change, and what it takes to make things move toward a desired end.

  5. A book that teaches how to recognize opportune moments in life to make adaptations and changes. • Also a Confucian Scripture (one of the Five Classics of Confucianism) • “Give me a few more years so that I can devote fifty years to study Change (I-Ching), then I may be free from great mistakes.” –Confucius

  6. Basic Components of the I-Ching • Yin and Yang Yin is represented by a horizontal line divided in the middle, while Yang is represented by an undivided horizontal line. • The Eight Trigrams (pa kua/bagua) Stand for sky earth, mountain,lake, thunder, wind, fire, and water

  7. The sixty-four hexagrams are made when any two of the Eight Trigrams are put on top of one another. The philosophy behind the I-Ching is that every situation has its root and that to understand any situation one has to examine how and under what condition it started.

  8. Tao TeChing (classic of the way and its Power) • “Tao” simply means the way and is extended to mean direction, rule, ideal, or the operating principle of the cosmos. • “Te/De” can mean power, application, or virtue. Just like “I”, both “Tao” and “Te” are very suggestive, too.

  9. They imply that one who applies the power of the operating principle of the cosmos to life will have a sense of direction and obtain virtue. • Abook about the truth of the universe and how its power can be applied to life contains eighty-one very short chapters, with the first thirty seven grouped under the word Tao and the remaining forty-four grouped under the word Te.

  10. most Chinese people regard the Tao TeChing as a political philosophy text • the word “Sage” (Sheng-jen/Shengren) appears in the text frequently and almost always refers to “the ideal ruler.” “Sage,” would model himself after the Tao that has been the mother and the nurturer of the myriad of things in the universe without ever claiming her authority or possession.

  11. CHUANG-TZU/NAN-HUA CHING • collection of the writings of a group of thinkers • only the seven Inner Chapters were written by Chuang-tzu himself, and that the fifteen Outer Chapters and eleven Mixed Chapters were written by his disciples and followers

  12. emphasized the importance self-preservation This is understandable because in Chuang-tzu’s time, society had degenerated from disorder to the total chaos of the Warring States period. • Tao is spontaneous and incessantly transforms itself, and it may produce and nurture millions and millions of differences in its constant flux, but ultimately there is just one Tao.

  13. If people were to break away from the conventional way of thinking, they would realize the unity of everything, and the pointlessness competing, arguing, or even fighting with one another

  14. T’AI-P’ING CHING (THE SCRIPTUREOF THE ULTIMATE EQUILIBRIUM) • is the belief in cosmic energies and the correspondence between natural phenomena and human affairs. • originally the whole scripture contained 170 scrolls, of which only 57 are extant. • Original Energies: Ultimate Yin, Ultimate Yang, and the Harmonious Neuter

  15. Neuter is formed as a consequence of the interaction between the Ultimate Yang and the Ultimate Yin, and humans are generated through the intercourse of the energy of Heaven with the energy of Earth. • Since Heaven and are the parents of human beings, much reverence and gratitude should be paid to them.

  16. The belief in a correspondence between nature and humanity further points the way to the “ultimate equilibrium.”

  17. TAO-TSANG (TAOIST CANON) • First Taoist Canon 748 C.E Later it was destroyed in the turbulent and war-filled period following the end of the T’ang dynasty. • There were six other attempts to compile Taoist scriptures into a canon: • three in the Sung (Song) dynasty (960–1279 C.E.), • one in the Chin (Jin) dynasty (1115–1234 C.E.), one in the Yüan (Yuan) dynasty (1279–1368 C.E.) • and one in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644 C.E.).

  18. The scriptures contained in these compilations ranged from 3,700 scrolls to 7,800 scrolls. • Five of these seven compilations were burned or lost in wars, and only two have survived to the present day, namely, the compilations from the Sung and Ming dynasties.

  19. The growth of Taoism, both in terms of scriptures and in terms of religious organizations, had an impact on the growth of Buddhism in China. • The Taoist Canon was compiled partly to make Taoism appear as systematic as Buddhism, which had organized its scriptures into the Three Baskets (tripitaka).