Taoism Case Essay Sample

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Introduction of TOPIC


Taoism as a Chinese religion began in the year 142 C.E, with the revelation of the Tao to Zhang Daoling or Chang Tao-ling by the personified god of the Tao, Lao Zi.Taoism emerged from a rich Shamanic tradition which existed in China and it is one of the Shamans, known as Kong FuZi.It was the first to construct a system by which the underlying structure of the universe could be expressed. Early religious rooted in the ideas of the Taoist thinkers, to which were added local religious rituals and beliefs, both to provide examples of Taoist philosophy, and integrate Taoism into the existing world views of all levels of the Chinese people. Lao Zi was a philosopher of ancient China, whom wrote a book called Dao de-jing, has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of philosophical Taoism. He left his job and rode off west on an ox. At a mountain pass the guardian asked him to write down his teachings.

The book held views that were different from those of Confucius and other philosophers because Lao zi disagree the use of linguistic guide to influence behaviour.Taoism is also the consolidation of a number of concepts and practices that make up the “Path”, or “Way”, of living. The consolidation of ideas and concepts include principles or “theories” regarding, body, diet, breathing, physical exercises, uses of herbs, and meditation. All these bring human being into closer alignment with the “natural order” of life. While the Confucians strictly adhered to certain rituals and social laws of etiquette. Taoists were much more iconoclastic, they holed up in, mountain retreats, roamed the countryside, able to perform magic and unbelievable feats of matrial arts and some was rumoured had even mastered the secret of life and were immortal.

Dao is the main cause of problems in the environment according to Lao Zi. He says that dao creates all things and creatures in the universe, and it can also destroy all that it has created. Laozi’s teaching consists four concepts, the first concept, dao creates one (Dao sheng yi). He said that Dao is a natural action and not following any linguistic direction and itself is active and unintentionally creates a condition that is harmonious and natural.

The second concept is one creates two (Yi henger) , he says that a harmonious condition gives rise to two antagonistic energies that oppose each other, which are ying and yang. Both interact and produce an energy ‘qi’ which builds everything. The third concept would be two creates three (Er sheng san). Three big ‘matters’ are produced from this ying and yang interaction, which includes, heaven (tian), earth (di) and human beings (ren). And the last concept, three creates all (San sheng wan wu). The three matters create all things and creatures in the universe. The Five precepts and Taoist Diets

There are five precepts in Taoism which comprise the basic codes of ethics undertaken mainly by Taoist lay-cultivators. In fact, these five precepts are almost the same with those in Buddhism. However, there are some minor differences. The five basic precepts in The Ultra Supreme Elder Lord’s Scripture are no murdering, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no false speech and no taking of intoxicants. For the first precept, the aim is to exhort against the devastation of life and encourage people to be loving and kind. The second precept, no stealing, is to respect other people’s rights towards their properties and not to take things which are not belonged to us. The third precept, no sexual misconduct, is to teach people practise self-restraint and respect one’s mate or those of others.

The examples of sexual misconducts are sexual promiscuity, paraphilia, rape and other sexual aberration. No false speech which is the fourth precept is to teach us not to tell lies as respecting truth can prevent us from committing wrong deeds. Last of all, no taking of antioxidants is to decrease the accident cases. Taoists consider diet as an extremely important issue in maintaining their physical, mental and spiritual health in many ways especially when the qi containing in the food is concerned. Taoists encourage people to assimilate many grains. One of the examples of the ancient diets is “bigu” which is an abstention from grains. This is because Taoists believe that rotting of grains in intestine can attract demonic creatures or known as “three worms” .

These ‘three worms’ love eating the decaying matter in intestine so that they could kill the person and devour his dead body. There are also some Taoists encourage people to eliminate a lot of food from their diet. This situation might be affected by a mythological vision of an ‘golden age’ when people need not to eat any food. According to Taiping Jing, people who were living completely “as they are” (ziran) would not need food, they only live by absorbing the cosmic qi of yin and yang. Furthermore, their everyday meals are eating frugally and primarily are cereals. The meals are served in order of seniority which the eldest will be served at first and the youngest will be served at last. Some families will observe a periodic vegetarian feast for every three, five, ten or fifte

en days. In fact, Taoist diets are based on festivals too, which

means, their regular diets are enhanced by the frequency of festivals. Each festival was related with a certain kind of food. For instance, the most famous food for Chinese New Year is rice cake, we can see a lot of people eating rice cake while celebrating Chinese New year. Steamed dumpling and glutinous rice packed in bamboo leaves definitely will be the main food of Dragon Boat Festival, while for Mid-autumn Festival, the food associated with it is mooncake. Nowadays, we can see various types of moon cakes keep on coming up such as those with chocolate, tiramisu and durian flavour. Last but not least, the herb is also one of the important issues in Taoist diets. Taoist believe that using different herbs in food can increase the positive energy while mixing two herbs with opposite effects can decrease the negative energy and meanwhile increase the positive energy.

Ghost Festival

The Ghost Festival is traditional Chinese holiday and the Taoists celebrate on 15th night of seventh lunar month, it called Ghost month. The Taoists believe the gate of hell will open on first of seventh month, so that the ghosts or spirits come out from the lower world and visit the earth. The Hungry Ghost Festival is one of important of the Ghost Festival. This is because the gate of hell is open on first of seventh month until 15th of seventh month they are very hungry. So, the Taoists prepared the food and burn incense for them. They believe the ghosts will not bring bad luck for them after they ate their sacrifices. The Taoists burn the incense at outside of their house, the side of road or in field. Ghost Festival represents the connection between the living and the death, earth and heaven, body and soul.

The activities of the Ghost Festival, include: preparing the food, wine and tea, burn incense {ghost money}, burying and releasing the miniature paper boats, the paper lantern and entertainment them with musical. The Taoists releasing the miniature paper boats on the rivers or lakes is to give the direction to the lost ghosts or spirits. The Taoists will write their name on the paper lantern and catches on fire and wink, it to help the ghosts and spirits find the food and their offering. The things Taoists shouldn’t do during the ghost month are swimming because the ghosts or spirits are in the water and try to drown them. After that, Taoists avoid to left empty seat on the family table because the ghosts or spirits will able to sit down the family table and share in meal together. Furthermore, more house and hold wedding ceremony is also shouldn’t do during the ghost month, it is because this will bring the bad luck for them.

The last of month, the gate of hell will close up. So, the ghosts or spirits will go back the hell. The Taoists will celebrate and observe this day on various ways. Many incense were burn and the ghosts or spirits can uses it in the hell.

Duan Wu Festival:

Duan Wu festival or the Double Fifth or the Dragon Boat Festival is one of the festival that celebrate by the Taoist every year during the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. The purpose of celebrating this festival is to commemorates the death of a poet whom named Qu Yuan.

So who is Qu Yuan? He was a minister of kingdom Chu in the Warring Stated period. Qu Yuan served as the chief assistant to the king. The people were jealous with him as he is fully trusted by the king of the Chu State. Some of them spoke ill of Qu Yuan to the king and eventually the king believed with what they said and Qu Yuan was exiled.

Because of his banishment, unhappy and dejected, he moves to the countryside and produced a great number of poet expressing his love for the country and its people. Lastly, he drowned himself into the Miluo River when the Qin dynasty conquered Chu.

The origin of Zongzi (a reed-wrapped triangle of glutinous rice) is affected by the incident that happened on Qu Yuan. Because the villagers believe that by throwing the glutinous rice into the river can prevent fishes from eating Qu Yuan’s body. Dragon boat race is also one of the activities during the celebration of Duan Wu Jie. It is originated from the the people who rowed their boats to save Qu Yuan after he drowned himself in the river.

What does Ying and Yang mean in Taoism?

In Taoism, Ying and Yang is one of the most important concepts that is used frequently as everything practised in Taoist teaching is related to the balance of Ying and Yang. The definition of Ying and Yang is the nature of change, balanced as two halves of a whole. It is also a concept of duality forming the whole. The examples of Ying and Yang can be found in our daily lives, such as night(Ying) and day(Yang), female(Ying) and male(Yang).

Both Ying and Yang are not absolute, because Ying and Yang theory is in a circulation or cycle that everything in this world will go through. For example, night will not last forever and will turn into day eventually, and day will become night too. Thus, we can say that Ying and Yang are interdependent to each other to be complete.

Ying and Yang are not static as their nature always change with time, just like human’s nature. As the example mentioned, although the night and day take turn to transform to each other, the period of night and day are not always the same and constant, in contrary, it is random and unpredictable. Sometimes, the changes in Ying and Yang can be even more dramatic, which one aspect can transform into another literally.

Another fact about the concept of Ying and Yang is the summation of Ying and Yang form a whole. This is because when one aspect increases, another aspect must decrease naturally to maintain overall balance of the whole. This is also the reason why everything in this universe will always be remained in balanced system.

The balance of Ying and Yang can sometimes be affected by some outside factors and incluences. There are four possible imbalances exist, which are deficiency of Ying, deficiency of Yang, excess of Ying and excess of Yang.

In conclusion, the concept of Ying and Yang is a fundamental aspect which cannot be ignored in the ideas of Taoism. We are used to apply human based values to the phenomena occurred in the world. However, we should always bear in mind that it is not necessary to chase more detailed descriptions over the natural patterns as it will cause us to chase down infinity. All in all, Ying and Yang concept is a system in recognizing how to separate the patterns in our daily lives and accept the complete nature of the Tao at the same time.

Conclusion of Taoism

Nowadays, there are more and more people interested in Taoism and start learning the ideas of Taoism. However, to understand the concept of Taoism, we should not merely focus on the theories taught, but also put the ideas into practice and realize in our daily lives. This is why we should not concentrate on the definition of Tao as after we understand the concept very well, the true and right thinking about Taoism will naturally come to your mind. Furthermore, we should not misunderstand that Taoism is only a religion or a philosophy, it should be understood as a system of belief, and also acts as the maxim of one’s attitude and practice in his entire life to his own nature. The right path to understand Taoism is to accept yourself.


http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_aboutchina/2003-09/24/content_23074.htm http://www.lostlaowai.com/chinese-culture/chinese-holidays/dragon-boat-festival-duanwu-jie-explained/ http://www.travelchinaguide.com/essential/holidays/dragon-boat.htm http://www.travelchinaguide.com/essential/holidays/dragon-boat.htm http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/taoism/history/history.shtml http://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/hungry-ghost-festival.htm Book:

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