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Daoism, Confucianism, and Shinto - Essay Example

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In the Comments column, comment on what the passage meant to you or your own interpretation. Use experiences or knowledge as examples to explain the passages.
In my opinion, the passage implores us to pay attention to the unique…
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Daoism, Confucianism, and Shinto
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Daoism, Confucianism and Shinto Reflections on the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching) Worksheet Read and reflect on the following passages. In the Comments column, comment on what the passage meant to you or your own interpretation. Use experiences or knowledge as examples to explain the passages.
Keep your mouth shut,
Guard the senses,
And life is full.
Open your mouth,
Always be busy,
And life is beyond hope.
(Chapter 52)
In my opinion, the passage implores us to pay attention to the unique phenomena occurring around us via our senses. In order to do so, one must find harmony between the mind and body. For example, silence during meditation increases one’s ability to perceive unique occurrences that are easy to miss.
In addition, it also warns against speaking without critically thinking about what you intend to say. Words spoken without consideration might inflict emotional harm on others.
The last part, implores us not to waste time on trivial issues by focusing only on important things.
Better stop short than fill to the brim.
Oversharpen the blade, and the edge will soon blunt.
Amass a store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it.
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.
Retire when the work is done.
This is the way of heaven.
(Chapter 9)
In my opinion, the passage warns against overdoing things. Too much of something is poisonous. For example, overeating results in physiological harm; therefore, it is crucial to pay attention to the body’s self-regulating mechanisms.
The passage also cautions against reliance on material things as the ultimate source of happiness by inferring that people only need what is enough to lead a prosperous happy life. For example, social relationships that nurture and provide affection are crucial for sustaining happiness.
Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self needs strength.
(Chapter 33)
In my opinion, this passage stresses on the importance of understanding oneself before attempting to understand others. In doing so, one will be able to behave in a manner that mirrors their principles while at the same time respecting the opinions of those around them. For example, when one understands that dishonesty appalls them, they will behave in a trustworthy manner, which in turn sends out a signal to others to do the same while interacting with the individual.
In addition, the last part stresses on how difficult it is to master self-discipline compared to issuing directives to others.
How does the Daodejing characterize early Daoist teachers?
Daoist teachers negated principles advanced by adherents of Confucianism. They focused on comprehending the nature of reality, ordering life morally, practicing rulership, increasing longevity, and regulating their diet and consciousness (Molloy, 2010). At the core of their ideologies lay naturalness (ziran), effortless action (Wu wei), and teachings about how to become a realized person (zhenren) or sage (shengren) (Molloy, 2010).
In addition, they believed it was useless to try to oppose the nature by intervening, as they believe nature had its own way of intervening to end imbalance in the society. For example, Daoist teachers implored rulers to refrain from using weapons as a means of ending social problems, as they believed nature would mitigate the problem.
How would you characterize Daoist teachings in their entirety?
Daoist teachings in their entirety mirror its adherents’ belief in change, which they inferred defined life’s reality. They also believed that the “Dao” was inexplicable, as it surpassed all conceivable phenomena. However, it was attainable through effortless action, a concept that did not infer laziness but acting naturally (Ames, 2003). In addition, they inferred that correlatives such as ying and yang, served as expressions of the Dao’s movement or dynamic nature.
Unlike in modern linguistic interpretations, the Ancient Chinese language viewed correlatives as paradoxes and not words that were synonymous to each other (Ames, 2003). For example, leading vs. following were paradoxical and represented a natural flow from one aspect to the next, which resulted from the constantly changing reality.
Ames, R. & Hall, D. (2003). Daodejing: “Making This Life Significant” A Philosophical Translation. New York: Ballantine Books.
Feng, G. & English, J. (Trans.). (1972). Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
Molloy, M. (2010). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Read More
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