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The Dao , or Way, of Confucius can be said to be 'Truth'. Confucianism regards the Way, or Truth, as concordant with a particular approach to life, politics, and tradition. It is held as equally necessary and well regarded as De virtue and ren humanity. Confucius presents a humanistic 'Dao'.

He only rarely speaks of the t'ien Dao Way of Heaven. An influential early Confucian, Hsiin Tzu, explicitly noted this contrast. Though he acknowledged the existence and celestial importance of the Way of Heaven, he insisted that the Dao principally concerns human affairs. As a formal religious concept in Confucianism, Dao is the Absolute towards which the faithful move.

In Zhongyong The Doctrine of the Mean , harmony with the Absolute is equivalent to integrity and sincerity. The Great Learning expands on this concept explaining that the Way illuminates virtue, improves the people, and resides within the purest morality. During the Tang dynasty , Han Yu further formalized and defined Confucian beliefs as an apologetic response to Buddhism. He emphasized the ethics of the Way.

Do Nothing and Do Everything: An Illustrated New Taoism

He explicitly paired 'Dao' and 'De', focusing on humane nature and righteousness. Buddhism first started to spread in China during the first century AD and was experiencing a golden age of growth and maturation by the fourth century AD. Hundreds of collections of Pali and Sanskrit texts were translated into Chinese by Buddhist monks within a short period of time. Dhyana was translated as ch'an and later as zen , giving Zen Buddhism its name. The use of Chinese concepts, such as Dao, that were close to Buddhist ideas and terms helped spread the religion and make it more amenable to the Chinese people.

However, the differences between the Sanskrit and Chinese terminology led to some initial misunderstandings and the eventual development of East Asian Buddhism as a distinct entity. As part of this process, many Chinese words introduced their rich semantic and philosophical associations into Buddhism, including the use of 'Dao' for central concepts and tenets of Buddhism.

Pai-chang Huai-hai told a student who was grappling with difficult portions of suttas , "Take up words in order to manifest meaning and you'll obtain 'meaning'. Cut off words and meaning is emptiness. Emptiness is the Dao. The Dao is cutting off words and speech. Pai-chang's statement plays upon this usage in the context of the fluid and varied Chinese usage of 'Dao'. Words and meaning are used to refer to rituals and practice.

The 'emptiness' refers to the Buddhist concept of sunyata. Finding the Dao and Buddha-nature is not simply a matter of formulations, but an active response to the Four Noble Truths that cannot be fully expressed or conveyed in words and concrete associations. The use of 'Dao' in this context refers to the literal 'way' of Buddhism, the return to the universal source, dharma , proper meditation, and nirvana , among other associations.

During the Song dynasty , Neo-Confucians regarded Dao as the purest thing-in-itself. Shao Yong regarded the Dao as the origin of heaven, earth, and everything within them. In contrast, Zhang Zai presented a vitalistic Dao that was the fundamental component or effect of ch'i , the motive energy behind life and the world. A number of later scholars adopted this interpretation, such as Tai Chen during the Qing Dynasty.

Cheng Hao regarded the fundamental matter of li, and thus Dao, to be humaneness. Developing compassion, altruism, and other humane virtues is the following of the Way. Cheng Yi followed this interpretation, elaborating on this perspective of Dao through teachings about yin-yang interactions , the cultivation and preservation of life; and the axiom of a morally just universe. In total, the Dao is equated with the Absolute. Nothing exists apart from the Principle of Heaven in Neo-Confucianism. The Way is contained within all things.

Thus, the religious life is not an elite or special journey for Neo-Confucians. The normal, mundane life is the path that leads to the Absolute, because the Absolute is contained within the mundane objects and events of daily life. Noted Christian author C. Lewis used the word Tao to describe "the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, the kind of thing the Universe is and the kind of things we are.

Here the Way refers to the path of righteousness and salvation as revealed through Christ. John , indicating that the translators considered the concept of Tao to be somewhat equivalent to logos in Greek philosophy. It typifies the most common Chinese character classification of "radical-phonetic" or "phono-semantic" graphs, which compound a " radical " or "signific" roughly providing semantic information with a " phonetic " suggesting ancient pronunciation.

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The earliest written forms of dao are bronzeware script and seal script characters from Zhou Dynasty — BCE bronzes and writings. The linguist Peter A. Boodberg explained,. This is supported by textual examples of the use of the primary tao in the verbal sense "to lead" e. Tao would seem, then, to be etymologically a more dynamic concept than we have made it translation-wise. It would be more appropriately rendered by "lead way" and "lode" "way," "course," "journey," "leading," "guidance"; cf. These Confucian Analects citations of dao verbally meaning "to guide; to lead" are: "The Master said, 'In guiding a state of a thousand chariots, approach your duties with reverence and be trustworthy in what you say" and "The Master said, 'Guide them by edicts, keep them in line with punishments, and the common people will stay out of trouble but will have no sense of shame.

In Middle Chinese ca. In Old Chinese ca. Note that brackets clarify abbreviations and ellipsis marks omitted usage examples. Victor H. The archaic pronunciation of Tao sounded approximately like drog or dorg. This links it to the Proto-Indo-European root drogh to run along and Indo-European dhorg way, movement. The nearest Sanskrit Old Indian cognates to Tao drog are dhrajas course, motion and dhraj course. The most closely related English words are "track" and "trek", while "trail" and "tract" are derived from other cognate Indo-European roots.

Following the Way, then, is like going on a cosmic trek.


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Even more unexpected than the panoply of Indo-European cognates for Tao drog is the Hebrew root d-r-g for the same word and Arabic t-r-q , which yields words meaning "track, path, way, way of doing things" and is important in Islamic philosophical discourse. Since , when the International Organization for Standardization adopted Pinyin as the standard romanization of Chinese , many Western languages have changed from spelling this loanword tao in national systems e. In Taoism, an absolute entity which is the source of the universe; the way in which this absolute entity functions.

In Confucianism and in extended uses, the way to be followed, the right conduct; doctrine or method. The earliest recorded usages were Tao , Tau , Taou , and Dao See also: Hundred Schools of Thought. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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For other uses, see Dao disambiguation and Tao disambiguation. Not to be confused with Tau. Holy places. Main article: De Chinese. See also: Taoism.

Daoism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

See also: Confucianism. See also: Chinese Buddhism and Zen. See also: Neoconfucianism.

See also: Christianity. It is viewed as a reflection of, or close in action to, the Tao. The Tao is often expressed as a sea or flood that cannot be dammed or denied.

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It flows around and over obstacles like water, setting an example for those who wish to live in accord with it. Quote: "sectarii quidam Tausu vocant". Chinese gloss in Pasquale M. Fonti ricciane: documenti originali concernenti Matteo Ricci e la storia delle prime relazioni tra l'Europa e la Cina , Libreria dello Stato, ; can be found by searching for "tausu".

Louis J.

Do Nothing and Do Everything: An Illustrated New Taoism

Gallagher China in the Sixteenth Century: The Journals of Matteo Ricci ; , apparently has a typo Taufu instead of Tausu in the text of his translation of this line p. Quote: " Ultravisum, Baxter, William H. A Handbook of Old Chinese Phonology. Mouton de Gruyter. Bodde, Derk; Fung, Yu-Lan A short history of Chinese philosophy. Simon and Schuster.


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Boodberg, Peter A. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. Cane, Eulalio Paul Harmony: Radical Taoism Gently Applied. Trafford Publishing. Chang, Stephen T.