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              Lao-Tzu and Chuang-Tzu
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              The primary religious figures in Taoism (dào jiào 道教) are Lao-Tzu (lǎo zǐ 老子) and Chuang-Tzu (zhuāng zǐ 莊子), two scholars who dedicated their lives two balancing their inner spirits. Classical Taoist philosophy (dào jiā zhé xué 道家哲學), formulated by Lao-Tzu (the Old Master, 5th century B.C.), the anonymous editor of the Daodejing (Classic of the Way and its Power dào dé jīng 道德經), and Chuang-Tzu (3rd century B.C.), was a reinterpretation and development of an ancient nameless tradition of nature worship and divination.

              Lao-Tzu and Chuang-Tzu, living at a time of social disorder and great religious skepticism, developed the notion of the Dao (Tao - way, or path dào 道) as the origin of all creation and the force, unknowable in its essence but observable in its manifestations, that lies behind the functioning's and changes of the natural world. They saw in Dao and nature the basis of a spiritual approach to living. This, they believed, was the answer to the burning issue of the day: what is the basis of a stable, unified, and enduring social order?

              Lao-TzuThe order and harmony of nature, they said, was far more stable and enduring than either the power of the state or the civilized institutions constructed by human learning. Healthy human life could flourish only in accord with Dao which is a natural, simple, and free-and-easy approach to life. The early Taoists taught the art of living and surviving by conforming to the natural way of things; they called their approach to action wu wei (no-action wú wéi 無為), action modeled on nature.

              Their sages were wise, but not in the way the Confucian teacher was wise, learned and a moral paragon. Chuang-Tzu's sages were often artisans, butchers or woodcarvers. The lowly artisans understood the secret of art and the art of living. To be skillful and creative, they had to have inner spiritual concentration and put aside concern with externals, such as monetary rewards, fame, and praise. Art, like life, followed the creative path of nature, not the values of human society.

              Lao-Tzu and Chuang-Tzu had reinterpreted the ancient nature worship and esoteric arts, but they crept back into the tradition as ways of using knowledge of the Dao to enhance and prolong life.


              Lao-Tzu was a philosopher of ancient China and is a central figure in Taoism (also spelled "Daoism"). Lao-Tzu literally means "Old Master" and is generally considered an honorific. Lao-Tzu is revered as a god in religious forms of Taoism. According to Chinese tradition, Lao-Tzu lived in the 6th century BC. Historians variously contend that Lao-Tzu is a synthesis of multiple historical figures, that he is a mythical figure, or that he actually lived in the 4th century BC, concurrent with the Hundred Schools of Thought (bǎi jiā zhēng míng 百家爭鳴) and Warring States Period (zhàn guó shí qī 戰國時期). A central figure in Chinese culture, both nobility and common people claim Lao-Tzu in their lineage. Throughout history, Lao-Tzu's work was embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements.



              Lao-Tzu's magnum opus, the Daodejing, is one of the most significant treatises in Chinese cosmogony. As with most other ancient Chinese philosophers, Lao-Tzu often explains his ideas by way of paradox, analogy, appropriation of ancient sayings, repetition, symmetry, rhyme, and rhythm.

              The Daodejing, often called simply the Lao-Tzu after its reputed author, describes the Dao (or Tao) as the mystical source and ideal of all existence: it is unseen, but not transcendent, immensely powerful yet supremely humble, being the root of all things. The Tao Te Ching, or Daodejing, is widely considered to be the most influential Taoist text. It is a foundational scripture of central importance in Taoism. It has been used as a ritual text throughout the history of religious Taoism.

              The opening verse, with literal translation, is: Daodejing

              The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao.

              The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.

              (Conceived of as) having no name, it is the Originator of heaven and earth;
              (Conceived of as) having a name, it is the Mother of all things.
              Always without desire we must be found,
              If its deep mystery we would sound;
              But if desire always within us be,
              Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.
              Under these two aspects, it is really the same; but as development takes place,
              it receives the different names.
              Together we call them the Mystery.

              Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that is subtle and wonderful.

              Tao literally means "path" or "way" and can figuratively mean "essential nature", "destiny", "principle", or "true path". The philosophical and religious "Tao" is infinite, without limitation. One view states that the paradoxical opening is intended to prepare the reader for teachings about the unteachable Tao. Tao is believed to be transcendent, indistinct and without form. Hence, it cannot be named or categorized. Even the word "Tao" can be considered a dangerous temptation to make Tao a limiting "name".

              According to the Daodejing, humans have no special place within the Dao, being just one of its many ("ten thousand") manifestations. People have desires and free will (and thus are able to alter their own nature). Many act "unnaturally", upsetting the natural balance of the Dao. The Daodejing intends to lead students to a "return" to their natural state, in harmony with Dao. Language and conventional wisdom are critically assessed. Taoism views them as inherently biased and artificial, widely using paradoxes to sharpen the point.

              Here is a famous verse:

              a verse of Daodejing

              All in the world know the beauty of the beautiful,
              and in doing this they have (the idea of) what ugliness is;
              they all know the skill of the skilful,
              and in doing this they have (the idea of) what the want of skill is.

              So it is that existence and non-existence give birth the one to (the idea of) the other;
              that difficulty and ease produce the one (the idea of) the other;
              that length and shortness fashion out the one the figure of the other;
              that (the ideas of) height and lowness arise from the contrast of the one with the other;
              that the musical notes and tones become harmonious through the relation of one with another; and that being before and behind give the idea of one following another.
              Therefore the sage manages affairs without doing anything,
              and conveys his instructions without the use of speech.
              All things spring up, and there is not one which declines to show itself;
              they grow, and there is no claim made for their ownership;
              they go through their processes, and there is no expectation (of a reward for the results).
              The work is accomplished, and there is no resting in it (as an achievement).
              The work is done, but how no one can see;lotus
              It’s this that makes the power not cease to be.

              Wu wei, literally "non-action" or "not acting", is a central concept of the Daodejing. The concept of wu wei is very complex and reflected in the words' multiple meanings, even in English translation; it can mean "not doing anything", "not forcing", "not acting" in the theatrical sense, "creating nothingness", "acting spontaneously", and "flowing with the moment." 

              It is a concept used to explain nature, or harmony with the Dao. It includes the concepts that value distinctions are ideological and seeing ambition of all sorts as originating from the same source. Lao-Tzu used the term broadly with simplicity and humility as key virtues, often in contrast to selfish action. On a political level, it means avoiding such circumstances as war, harsh laws and heavy taxes. Some Taoists see a connection between wu wei and esoteric practices, such as the "sitting in oblivion" (emptying the mind of bodily awareness and thought) found in the Chuang-Tzu.
              Chuang-Tzu was an influential Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BCE during the Warring States Period, corresponding to the Hundred Schools of Thought philosophical summit of Chinese thought.
              Chuang-Tzu, widely considered the intellectual and spiritual successor of Lao-Tzu, had a notable impact on Chinese literature, culture and spirituality.
              In general, Chuang-Tzu's philosophy is mildly skeptical, arguing that life is limited and the amount of things to know is unlimited. To use the limited to pursue the unlimited, he said, was foolish. Our language and cognition in general presuppose a Dao to which each of us is committed by our separate past—our paths. Consequently, we should be aware that our most carefully considered conclusions might seem misguided had we experienced a different past. "Our heart-minds are completed along with our bodies." Natural dispositions to behavior combine with acquired ones—including dispositions to use names of things, to approve/disapprove based on those names and to act in accordance to the embodied standards. Thinking about and choosing our next step down our Dao or path is conditioned by this unique set of natural acquisitions.
              "The Happiness of Fish" (yú zhī lè 魚之樂):The Happiness of Fish
              Chuang-Tzu and Huizi were strolling along the dam of the Hao Waterfall when Chuang-Tzu said, "See how the minnows come out and dart around where they please! That's what fish really enjoy!"Huizi said, "You're not a fish — how do you know what fish enjoy?" Chuang-Tzu said, "You're not me, so how do you know I don't know what fish enjoy?" Huizi said, "I'm not you, so I certainly don't know what you know. On the other hand, you're certainly not a fish — so that still proves you don't know what fish enjoy!" Chuang-Tzu said, "Let's go back to your original question, please. You asked me how I know what fish enjoy — so you already knew I knew it when you asked the question. I know it by standing here beside the Hao."
              Lao-Tzu      老子,我國古代偉大的哲學家和思想家,道家學派創始人,世界文化名人。老子在函谷關前著有五千言的《老子》一書,又名《道德經》或《道德真經》?!兜赖陆洝?、《易經》和《論語》被認為是對中國人影響最深遠的三部思想巨著?!兜赖陆洝肥呛髞淼姆Q謂,最初老子書稱為《老子》而無《道德經》之名。 其成書年代過去多有爭論,至今仍無法確定,不過根據1993年出土的郭店楚簡“老子”年代推算,成書年代至少在戰國中前期。
                    老子的思想主張是"無為",老子的理想政治境界是“鄰國相望,雞犬之聲相聞,民至老死不相往來”?!独献印芬?ldquo;道”解釋宇宙萬物的演變,以為“道生一,一生二,二生三,三生萬物”,“道”乃“夫莫之命(命令)而常自然”,因而“人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然”。“道”為客觀自然規律,同時又具有“獨立不改,周行而不殆”的永恒意義?!独献印窌邪ù罅繕闼剞q證法觀點,如以為一切事物均具有正反兩面,“反者道之動”,并能由對立而轉化,“正復為奇,反 復為妖”,“禍兮福之所倚,福兮禍之所伏”。又以為世間事物均為“有”與“無”之統一,“有、無相生”,而“無”為基礎,“天下萬物生于有,有生于無”。“天之道,損有余而補不足,人之道則不然,損不足以奉有馀”;“民之饑,以其上食稅之多”;“民之輕死,以其上求生之厚”;“民不畏死,奈何以死懼之?”。其學說對中國哲學發展具有深刻影響,其內容主要見《老子》這本書。他的哲學思想和由他創立的道家學派,不但對我國古代思想文化的發展作出了重要貢 獻,而且對我國2000多年來思想文化的發展產生了深遠的影響。
                    “仁義”二字被視為儒家思想的標志,“道德”一詞卻是道家思想的精華。莊子的“道”是天道,是效法自然的“道”,而不是人為的殘生傷性的。莊子的哲學主要 接受并發展了老子的思想。他認為“道”是超越時空的無限本體,它生于天地萬物之,而又無所不包,無所不在,表現在一切事物之中。然而它又是自然無為的,在 本質上是虛無的。在莊子的哲學中,“天”是與“人”相對立的兩個概念,“天”代表著自然,而“人”指的就是“人為”的一切,與自然相背離的一切。“人為” 兩字合起來,就是一個“偽”字。莊子主張順從天道,而摒棄“人為”,摒棄人性中那些“偽”的雜質。順從“天道”,從而與天地相通的,就是莊子所提倡的 “德”。在莊子看來,真正的生活是自然而然的,因此不需要去教導什么,規定什么,而是要去掉什么,忘掉什么,忘掉成心、機心、分別心。既然如此,還用得著 政治宣傳、禮樂教化、仁義勸導?這些宣傳、教化、勸導,莊子認為都是人性中的“偽”,所以要摒棄它。莊子的文章,想像力豐富,文筆變化多端,具有濃厚的浪 漫主義色彩,并采用寓言故事形式,富有幽默諷刺的意味,對后世文學語言有很大影響。
                    莊子與惠子游于濠梁之上。莊子曰;“儵魚出游從容,是魚之樂也。” 惠子曰:“子非魚,安知魚之樂?”莊子曰:“子非我,安知我不知魚之樂?”惠子曰:“我非子,固不知子矣;子固非魚也,子知不知魚之樂全矣。”莊子曰: “請循其本。子曰‘汝安知魚樂’云者,既已知吾知之而問我,我知之濠上也。”

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