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So, Daoism was a retroactive grouping of ideas and writings which were already at least one to two centuries old, and which may or may not have been ancestral to various post-classical religious movements, all self-identified as , but accepts contemporary Daoists' assertion of continuity between classical and post-classical, "philosophical" and "religious" movements and texts. But the hybrid nature of Daoism is not a reason to discount the importance of Daoist thought. Even though the ruler possesses weapons, they are not used (ch. Han Feizi was the foremost counselor of the first emperor of China, Qin Shihuangdi (r. This text is a collection of stories and remembered as well as imaginary conversations.Daoism does not name a tradition constituted by a founding thinker, even though the common belief is that a teacher named Laozi originated the school and wrote its major work, called the ) before these texts were finalized. Quite to the contrary, it may be one of the most significant ideas classical Daoism can contribute to the study of philosophy in the present age. The text is well known for its creativity and skillful use of language.
Our lives are snarled and jumbled so long as we make conventional discriminations, but when we set them aside, we appear to others as extraordinary and enchanted.
An important theme in the is the use of immortals to illustrate various points.
It is a human judgment that what happens is beautiful or ugly, right or wrong, fortunate or not.
The sage knows all things are one (equal) and does not judge.
There are two major source issues to be considered when forming a position on the origins of Daoism.. (hereafter, DDJ) is divided into 81 “chapters” consisting of slightly over 5,000 Chinese characters, depending on which text is used. Those who are empty will be full.” While these appear paradoxical, they are probably better understood as correlational in meaning. Within the text we find longer and shorter treatises, stories, poetry, and aphorisms. Chapters 1-7 are those most often ascribed to Zhuangzi himself (which is a title meaning “Master Zhuang”) and these are known as the “inner chapters.” The remaining 26 chapters had other origins and they sometimes take different points of view from the Inner Chapters. 11-16 and parts of 18, 19, and 22 (Yellow Emperor Chapters), and Chs.
1) What evidence is there for beliefs and practices later associated with the kind of Daoism recognized by Sima Qian prior to the formation of the two classical texts? In its received form from Wang Bi (see below), the two major divisions of the text are the The text is a collection of short aphorisms that were not arranged to develop any systematic argument. The DDJ says, “straightforward words seem paradoxical,” implying, however, that they are not (ch. What is the image of the ideal person, the sage () without deliberation or volitional challenge. They live naturally and free from desires rooted in the discriminations that human society makes (ch. The may actually contain materials from a teacher known as Zhuang Zhou who lived between 370-300 B. Although there are several versions of how the remainder of the may be divided, one that is gaining currency is Chs. 17-28 (Zhuang Zhou’s Disciples’ material), with the remains of the text attributable to the final redactor. The way to this state is not the result of a withdrawal from life.So I never touch the smallest ligament or tendon, much less a main joint.A good cook changes his knife once a year—because he cuts.2) What is the best reconstruction of the classical textual tradition upon which later Daoism was based? The long standing tradition about the authorship of the text is that the “founder” of Daoism, known as Laozi gave it to Yin Xi, the guardian of the pass through the mountains that he used to go from China to the West (i.e., India) in some unknown date in the distant past. Its teachings on correlation often suggest to interpreters that the DDJ is filled with paradoxes. In this respect, they are like newborn infants, who move naturally, without planning and reliance on the structures given to them by culture and society (ch. The DDJ tells us that sages empty themselves, becoming void of the discriminations used in conventional language and culture. 37) They settle themselves and know how to be content (ch. The DDJ makes use of some very famous analogies to drive home its point. 8), finding their own place, overcoming the hard and strong by suppleness (ch. However, it does require disengaging or emptying oneself of conventional values and the demarcations made by society.With regard to the first question, Isabelle Robinet thinks that the classical texts are only the most lasting evidence of a movement she associates with a set of writings and practices associated with the practiced techniques of longevity and used diet and meditative stillness anto create a way of life that attracted disciples and resulted in wisdom teachings.. But the text is actually a composite of collected materials, most of which probably originally circulated orally perhaps even in single aphorisms or small collections. For almost 2,000 years, the Chinese text used by commentators in China and upon which all except the most recent Western language translations were based has been called the , after the commentator who used a complete edition of the DDJ sometime between 226-249 CE. Mawangdui is the name for a site of tombs discovered near Changsha in Hunan province. But the world is a reality that is filled with spiritual force, just as a sacred image used in religious ritual might be inhabited by numinal power (ch. Sages know the value of emptiness as illustrated by how emptiness is used in a bowl, door, window, valley or canyon (ch. They preserve the female () to “solve” or “figure out” life’s apparent knots and entanglements (ch. Indeed, the DDJ cautions that those who would try to do something with the world will fail, they will actually ruin both themselves and the world (ch. Sages do not engage in disputes and arguing, or try to prove their point (chs. They are pliable and supple, not rigid and resistive (chs. In Chapter 23 of the a Nanrong Chu inquiring of the character Laozi about the solution to his life’s worries was answered promptly: “Why did you come with all this crowd of people?There are spaces between the joints, and the blade of the knife has really no thickness….[I] move the knife with the greatest subtlety, until—flop!The whole thing comes apart like a clod of earth crumbling to the ground.” (Ch.A mediocre cook changes his knife once a month—because he hacks.I’ve had this knife of mine for nineteen years and I’ve cut up thousands of oxen with it, and yet the blade is as good as though it had just come from the grindstone.Did Zhuangzi believe some persons physically lived forever? Did Zhuangzi believe that our substance was eternal and only our form changed? It underlay all Chinese “science” of the classical period, although Daoists certainly made use of it.Almost certainly Zhuangzi thought that we were in a constant state of process, changing from one form into another (see the exchange between Master Lai and Master Li in Ch. Zhuangzi wants to teach us how to engage in transformation through stillness, breathing, and experience of numinal power (see ch. And yet, perhaps Zhuangzi’s teachings on immortality mean that the person who is free of discrimination makes no difference between life and death. 2, “How do I know that the dead do not wonder why they ever longed for life?