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Fig 2.18 – Daoism

Text: Pages 61 and 64

In China, Daoism developed in reaction to Confucianism and concerns about the Chinese losing their connection to nature and the knowledge of the earth. Daoism challenged the wisdom of the drive for intellectual understanding because of the Daoist belief that the search for intellectual knowledge interfered in living in the natural world. The Dao, “the way of nature,” meant “being with the flow of the moment” in harmony with the universal mother, which is the source of all life. Daoism is a way to live, not for finding a god or goddess to worship.

The Daodejing defines Dao as the mother of the universe because the Dao sustains and nurtures all life (Ivanhoe, 2003). Dao is not a god or goddess; rather, the Dao has two aspects, one that is attainable and can be named and one that is beyond any intellectual understanding and cannot be named. This limits how one can speak of the Dao because the Dao transcends intellectual distinctions (Ivanhoe, 2003). Concepts of right and wrong, weak and strong, and just and unjust are human distinctions and distractions from the natural world. The Dao does not make those distinctions because nature, not the mind, is the greatest teacher.

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