Daoism is a religion Native to China, and it was at its peak during the period of turmoil in the country’s history known as the Warring State Period, circa 475 to 221 BCE. There is a focus on the naturalness of things, and intuition in its philosophy. According to Dao traditions and philosophies, humans should live in freedom and harmony. Daoism was founded by Laozi, and the primary information about him is found in the document Shiji, which is the history of ancient china from 94 BC. Laozi wrote the Daodejing, where he expounded the basic principles and philosophy of Daoism. The literal meaning of the word Daodejing can be broken down into Dao, which means “the way,” De is “virtue, and Jing, which can mean “canon” or “great book.” However, the meaning of the book can vary according to the person who reads it. Each individual can interpret the Daodejing as per his or her own perception. It gives instructions on the most common matters to ones concerning rulers, kings, and emperors. Thus, anyone ranging from the common man to the aristocracy can read and learn from it. In essence, it teaches people that within the Dao, humans have no special or privileged space. According to Laozi, the Dao is an unchanging first principle and comes before the entire universe. Reading through the Daodejing, one sometimes wonders about the inconsistency and vagueness of the book. Occasionally, it seems that the writer doesn’t offer any meaningful insight. However, it does have many interesting and original ideas that have influenced Asian culture to a vast extent. The first of these critical ideas looks at the nature of Dao, which essentially is indescribable. The Dao guided the formation of the universe and still governs it on an ongoing basis. Laozi also looks at the way in which perspectives keep changing. It is only through completely changing one’s outlook that one can understand the nature of human ignorance. However, the most interesting concept of the Daodejing deals with nature and spontaneous. Human experience is marked by planned actions and judgments based on values. Thus, the Dao processes may be most apparent only in nature, and not in any human environment. Everything in nature acts on instincts, which is why it is considered as the perfect depiction of Dao in action. Thus, the only way of humans to experience the same is by disregarding their judgment based systems and act spontaneously. They have to develop a responsiveness that is based on animal-like instincts, acting without efforts or planning.

The Other Key figure of Daoism was Zhuangzi, who is called the second father of the philosophy. What little is known about his life is based upon derivations from his book, which is also known as the Zhuangzi. The Zhuangzi and the Daodejing are the central literary pieces of Daoism. The primary themes in the anecdotes in the book deal with spontaneous action and freedom from conventions. Zhuangzi, the writer, chooses to either not say anything, or say something utterly ridiculous. This is a method through which he attempts to challenge the reader and convey his meaning by going against conventional thought.

Zhuangzi talks about time, space, and their relative magnitudes. The book opens with the story of the Peng-bird and shows a view of the world from the perspective of both large as well as small beings. It also shows how the world is perceived by those who have long life spans and compares it to the ones who live for a relatively shorter time. Thus, Zhuangzi manages to depict human existence in the form of random durations and sizes. In doing so, he calls into question the importance of the human perspective. This implies that there may be more value to be derived by taking a different viewpoint.

Zhuangzi also talks about the idea of words being empty. In doing so, he performs a very sophisticated analysis of language as it pertains to classical Chinese thinking. The arguments he presents are extended and prosaic in most instances. However, he does manage to show how words can split the unity of the universe in arbitrary ways. In fact, human belief in words actually undermines the perception of various experiences that one goes through. Many of the anecdotes in the book depict a friendship between the writer and a famous logician names Huizi. They are often engaged in heated debate, but Zhuangzi always wins over his friend through his arguments. It is through these vocal arguments that Zhuangzi attempts to show the emptiness of words, and how they can actually cloud reasoning without adding any knowledge. Ironically, Zhuangzi argues this point in the most vocal manner possible.

One aspect in which Zhuangzi’s surroundings influences his book is self-preservation. It was written during the period of the Warring States, and Zhuangzi talks about becoming a social actor. This means that every action has to be guided by self-preservation rather than misplaced thoughts of righteousness, or loyalty. This reflects on the cause of the rise of Daoism, which was escaping from societal dangers of the period.

The Laozi and Daodejing form the early foundations of Daoism. They give birth to its central idea of continuous change. This fundamental belief of Daoism states that the world is in a constant transformation. Both the books stress on the interconnectedness of all things, and their dependence upon each other, and even birth and death are just stages between moving between different continuums. However, Laozi believed that nature by itself is good, and it becomes bad only through the influence of a complicated or corrupt society. Zhuangzi places more value on reality, an appreciation of human beauty, and is less governed by Confucian regulations.


Do you need high quality Custom Essay Writing Services?

Custom Essay writing Service