Daoism (Laozi) Character Collage
By Elisabeth Bautista
laozi and why daoism was created
Daoism, a spectacular philosophy, sprung from the wise man or great sage, Laozi who was said to have lived in the 500s B.C.E. The philosophy was created to help solve issues related to the warring states period. "Like Confucianism, it tried to provide answers to the problems that prevented right living and good government." The problems were causing much chaos in China at the time, so Daoism was an attempt simply to aide many people looking for help. "Such unrest led Chinese thinkers to ask important questions about human nature and how best to govern." The seek for answers on how to bring peace and order led to the creation of Daoism because people wanted to make the madness of fighting stop. Finally, "The Dao De Jing preached a return to a simple and natural way of living." This book, said to be written by Laozi, was very important because it was a major basis to the philosophy and contained the solution Laozi believed could be used to stop some this craziness from happening. Overall, Daoism was created for the greater good of people and was taught by Laozi.
yin and yang
Yin and Yang is the Daoist belief that true harmony comes from opposite forces of nature. "In the same way, human life is a whole made up of opposites." Yin and yang was a very large concept in the Daoist philosophy. Many believed as seen in the quote that almost all aspects of their life were part of it. What were these opposites? Some include, "You can not have good without bad, beauty without ugliness, or pleasure without pain." Daoists include many parts into this theory, even life and death. Yin and yang is serious, and it is becauase of it that we can realize that everything in nature has two sides that must be felt.
Live simply and naturally
Daoists strongly believed in the idea that you must live a simple life and be in agreement with nature. "Notice, the Daoists said, how nothing in nature strives for fame, power, or knowledge." Daoists too should be selfless and not attempt to have such things. This kept them harmonized with nature. Also, "The Daoists taught that people followed the way of nature by living simple lives of quiet meditation." The simple life and quiet meditation allowed Daoists to complete an abundance of self reflection. Finally, an important teaching of living simply was, "Instead, they should accept whatever comes...". This acceptance left people very humble and usually without much negativity. It also taught them to live like nature does because nature does not complain when an event occurs, it simply allows it to happen. To sum these ideas up, the Daoist's belief of living in harmony with nature and to be simple was one of the main teachings in this philosophy.
Relaxed Government/ Finding your own dao
Daoist thought that people must discover their own Dao, way, in life for themselves and that people should not be told what to do. They thought, "Too many laws and social rules conflict with the way of living naturally and following the Dao." If they had so many rules, people would be told what they must do with their life, the opposite of what they wanted. In addition, "According to these teachings, the best rulers were those who ruled the least." "It (Dao De Jing) also tells rulers to be weak and let things alone." The small amount of ruling especially gave Daoists the opportunity to find their way because again no one was giving them guidelines. Finally, "Daoism encouraged rulers to govern less harshly." The fact that the governing style was able to influence others societies is quite impressive. In conclusion, allowing people to discover their own Dao was very important and therefore a government unlike others was put into place to fit these needs.