Taoism: Major Eastern Religions

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Journal Entry #2 October 11th 2013 The religion that rounds out the major eastern religions is Taoism. Like Confucianism, it is also a modern-day of Buddhism. Its founder is named Lao Tzu who is said to have been born around 604 BCE, which makes him the earliest of the three founders, but it is not clear if there ever really was such a person, or whether he was a later recreation to provide a single author for the book Tao Te Ching which lays out the basic philosophy of Taoism. Huston Smith in his book The World's Religions says that scholars do not think that a single person wrote the book although the consistency of the book suggests at least a strong single influence in shaping it. It is believed that the book took its final form around…show more content…
I discovered that there are three forms of Taoism evolved; Philosophical Taoism, Religious Taoism, and a cluster of beliefs that Smith calls Vitalizing Taoism. All of them deal with increasing and harnessing the power (te) of energy (ch'i) to maximize its effectiveness in an individual. This is attempted via diet, exercise, meditation and yoga. Taoism seeks complete self-knowledge that, if achieved, leads to extraordinary power over people and things. It expresses itself in the ability to get things done without seeming to actually do anything, especially avoiding recourse to violence, coercion, or pressure. It can summed up by the following; Taoists do not see opposites, such as good versus evil, light versus dark or active and passive, as contradictory with each other but as someway one. Taoism is somewhat Zen-like. It is opposed to violence to the point of pacifism. Confucianism raises the status of the scholar in society and Taoism places the soldier at the bottom. Whereas Confucianism is deeply concerned with the role of the individual in society and how to make society function better, Taoism is more Buddhist-like in turning away from the material world and seeking to understand…show more content…
Confucius wanted the state or nation to work as a big family where everyone respects each other individually. This would mean that people could be less foreign to each other and be more confident and patriotic and treat the king as the highest father. Ceremony is just the nature of Chinese people. Its only supernatural elements lie in the idea of our ancestors watching over us and sending coded messages that can be perceived using various techniques, and us sending messages to them via sacrifices. Taoism is the one I like least. It has too many vague mystical elements. It seems to me that both Buddhism and Taoism are inward looking, seeking enlightenment and self-improvement as the ultimate goal, with correct interactions with others serving as a means to achieving this self-fulfillment. But Confucianism is the opposite. It is outward looking, with the goal being to create a society of peace and justice, with self-improvement of individuals being the means to achieving that end. I like

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