The Essence of Taoism
Monday, 07 November 2011 11:42
Written by Simplicio B. Acedo
There are two main sources of Chinese spirituality: Taoism and Confucianism. Of the two the former is more mystically oriented and therefore has more relevance when we compare it with the findings of modern physics. Closely related with Hinduism and
Buddhism, Taoism is a system that deals more on intuitive wisdom. It is not known to be a provider of rationally derived knowledge. Rational thinking according to Taoism is basically limited which can only deal with the fleeting glimpse of the appearance of the world. Taoism for its part is basically a way of liberation from this world which in this respect is very closely related to the ways of Yoga or Vedanta Hinduism or the eightfold path of the Buddha. In the unique structure of the Chinese way of life, Taoism is a way of escape from the demands of strict moral conventions.
All changes in nature are the dynamic manifestation of the interplay of the primordial forces; the yin and the yang. Everything is suffused with these vital forces which make possible the interplay of events that we see as far as or senses can go. For the western mind this assumed interplay of opposites is hard to digest. It taxes the mind to accept that two basically opposite forces could finally be reconciled and found to be only expressions of one underlying principle. Typically eastern minds do not see any difficulty in this kind of relationship. It has always been the hallmark and characteristic of the Eastern mind but more powerfully in Taoist thought patterns. It claims that the most essential requirement of reaching the state of enlightenment is to go beyond the earthly opposites. In Chinese thought as expressed in Taoism this relationship lies at the very basis and core of understanding the nature of reality. The Taoist is able to see beyond the fleeting shadows to be able to meet the Tao, the origin, the creative energy where all opposites are finally reconciled.
Simplicio B. Acedo is currently teaching at the Mindanao State University, Fatima Campus, General Santos City, Philippines. He handles philosophy and other humanities subjects. An active member of the Faculty Union and acts as vice chair of the Board of Directors.
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