Unit One Essay
Daoism and Its Link to Chinese Culture
Daoism has been a part if Chinese culture since 1000 B.C.E., maybe even earlier. In equal parts being a philosophy and a religion, Daoism is an expression filled with many practices. All these practices are centralized around prolonging and enriching life. The definition of Daoism can be confusing to some but those that follow the belief explain it as living with nature and immersing themselves with the harmony and spirituality of their surroundings. Daoism has many parallels with the natural order described in ancient Chinese philosophy. The natural order described a lifestyle that coincides with seasons, elements, and powers. The people following ancient Chinese philosophy find a balance within these symbols to keep a natural order. Daoism followed suit with many of the paths that were already foregrounded by ancient Chinese philosophy, but it had slight differences that formed distinct individualism. Their respect for nature, their satire in writings and poetry and their practices made Daoism step beyond the shadow of the natural order while still holding onto some of its traits.
In China, the natural order was formed when the Mandate of Heaven failed by allowing Shang kings ruling unvirtuously, this demanded a reformation of morals and the laws that are abided by these morals, bringing us the natural order (Fiero, 2015). As the natual order took over much of Chinese culture, The Book of Changes was written to define many of the universe’s innerworkings. Daoism is focused on mankind and nature working in one to provide a balance through the earth and universe. A huge part of the natural order was explained as yin/yang, in this symbol you can find many aspects of Daoism that reflect both sides of this “lightness” and “darkness” that the yin/yang represents. Daoism is associated with many practices that are like yoga; concentrating on breathing, meditation and cultivating serenity in one’s life. These teaching of Daoism have both parts of the yin/yang to it; the lightness of thought and calmness that represents the yang (the male principal) and the understanding of earth and your balance with it as you go through life which represents the yin (the female principal)(Fiero, 2015). Though Daoism, if represented in a symbol, like yin/yang, would probably show a circle with the black and white components but the colors would be a little more mixed together and messier than its counterpart. Daoism still holds the basic belief of harmony and complementing functions that unify and complete one another. Differences are more apparent in the yin/yang symbol because they describe the forces, that while living amongst each other, are opposing forces, giving you the bold separation of colors that can easily differentiate which forces are yin and which are yang. The moon and the sun being in specific places on the yin/yang showed people’s reliance on knowing when the right t...