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Taoism: Belief That Respects Chinese Ancestors Essay Sample

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Taoism: Belief That Respects Chinese Ancestors Essay Sample

            Taoism refers to a power which flows through and surrounds all things both dead and alive. Taoism means path, or the way.  It regulates natural processes and nourishes the balance in our universe.  It embraces the harmony of opposites as in there would be no love without hate or no female without a male and there would be no light if it weren’t for the dark.

            Lao-Tse (604-531 BCE) was believed to be the founder of Taoism.  He was looking for a way to avoid the constant wars that were disrupting the people of his era. He wrote a book by the title of Tao-te-Ching, but still others still believe that he is only a mythical character.

            Taoism revolved into a religious faith in 440 CE, when it was taken on as a state religion.  It started as a combination of psychology and philosophy.  Along with Buddhism and Confusianism, Taoism became one the three great religions in China. When the Ch’ing Dynasty came to an end in the year of 1911, the state support for Taoism came to an end, as well.

            There are more than twenty million followers of the belief of Taoism, where some of their beliefs and strong ideas are that Taoism is the first cause of the universe and that Taoism surrounds everyone, so everyone must listen to find the gift of everlasting enlightenment.

            Each Taoism believer has a goal of harmonizing themselves with the Tao.  The belief has provided an alternative to the Confucian tradition for the people, in the country of China.

            Taoists strongly believe in having good health and strength. They believe that everyone must nurture the important breath of fresh air that has been graciously given to them.

            Death and transformation are an important element of the Chinese culture.  Along with marriage, death is the most important event in the life of the family of the individual. Death marks the transition from life to another world.  It allows the families to express their strength and solidarity by uniting together to share the funeral or rites of passage. Death requires that the attention of the living be looked at as the bigger meaning in life and in the family.

            In ancient China, there were three possibilities that were major for the world after life.  These are Heaven as a divine ancestor, Earth as a Hungry Ghost, or lost soul and immortality as a Taoist immortal. The most desired possibility was to become a divine ancestor and reside in heaven.

            Taoist priest would make a series of dots upon a tablet that represented the body of the dead person and then the characters for the family and individual name would be written.  The living family members would offer sacrifices, daily, with incense and food at the family alter.

            Taoism taught its believers to cast away worldly pleasures, honors and glory and be content with what they had.

            Taoism suggests one to not strive for the very best, which they believe is never attainable.  They believe that one should accept what they have as good enough, and be happy with what they have.

            The all important child rearing for Taoists (1998, Nagel,) says Greta K. Nagel, that “It is important to the be the Authoritarian and not to control the every move of the children.”

            (Lao-Tse, Tao-te-Ching, p.43) says that “Taoism is the best way to bring up children.”

            Taoism respects the rights of the children and in the trust and faith that the children will make the best possible decisions, and if they don’t, the will learn from their mistakes.

            (2003, Miller) says that “The Yin Yang symbol is a well known symbol for Taoists. It represents opposites in the universe.”  When they are equally present, then all is calm. When one is outweighed by the other, there is often confusion in the midst. Some say that it came from astronomical observations which did record the shadow of the sun throughout a full year.  The two swirling shapes inside the symbol, give the hope of change while they believe that the only constant factor in the universe is change.  Yin, or the dark side of the symbol represents the most important breath of life that formed and created the earth and the symbol Yang, or the light side represents the breath that formed the heavens.

             “Identity is very important.” reveals (2002, Livia,) when referring to Taoism as being a belief where people should find themselves as an important element and a huge part of life.

            There are many who believe that Taoism is a beautiful religion and also a very misunderstood religion.

            The essence of Taoism is Tao, the way; who is not the eternal Tao.

            Taoism is a force that flows through all of life and it is the first cause of everything.  The goal of everyone who follows and believes is to become one with the Tao.

            The belief of Taoism is not for everyone, but for many it is a way of life, and one where life and death can be more appreciated by those who follow the belief or concept.  Taoism can be enriching if embraced.  One can learn about Taoism and may understand it more clearly.

            We can better understand the concept of Taoism if we understand its full meaning and realize that those who practice this belief, embrace its meaning and ideas as being the right way to find happiness and to get to heaven.

            Taoists believe in a type of Christian Purgatory and that their ancestors can help them with their sins. They believe that human conduct must be righteous, and the man’s relationship with God and the universe would take care of itself.  They believe that man must establish himself in harmony with the universal principle, so good human conduct will follow.

            There are nine stages of punishment in Taoism.  Each one of these nine stages are governed by a demon king, and the prayers can help them get out of this purgatory like place of existence.

            Each Chinese person who believes in Taoism wants to be an important ancestor, in their heaven, where they will then be able to help those who are still living.  This is the hell like purgatory that they think they can be released from if they have the aid of their ancestors.

            The Emperor is the only one who is thought to be capable of communicating with the Tao.  When the Emperors were dethroned by the by the Communists, in the year of 1950, Mao and his successors then became the actual “athiest gods” of the Chinese people.  This is one of the other sides of Taoism where there are Priests, magic, spirits and the emperor.

            Lao-Tze left no church, priest, no rituals and services, but today it is lived in syncretism with the old Animism of China, and it is demeaned by China and polythesism, witchcraft, demonology, spiritism, spirit spells and a degenerate papacy.

            The yin and the yang represented as a dragon or a tiger  and they live in sort of a cosmic struggle and have to be controlled in life by the priest’s rituals, plus the medium, the shaman and the oracle, as well as the Emperor.

            The priests head the rituals in the temples and they use an incense burner for the magical rites and exorcisms.

            Taoism is a huge way of life for many people and they accept this belief to be true with the expectation of living a righteous lifestyle where one can reach complete happiness through being happy with what they have, now, and not expecting to only be happy when they receive large sums of money and material assets, that to them is no a means for happiness.

            All Taoists expect to live in heaven after they live a good, healthy, vibrant life here on our planet.

(1998; Nagel, Greta K., The Tao of Parenting: The Ageless Wisdom of Taoism and the Art of Raising Children, p. 32)

(Lao-Tse, Tao-te-Ching, The Way of Power or The Book of the Way, p.43)

(2003, Miller, James; Daoism: A short introduction, “Oneworld, p. 76)

(2002, Livia, Kohn Ed., Daoist Identity : History, Lineage and Ritual, p. 98)

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