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Taoism - enchanted



Taoism
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Taoism - yin yang
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*) Taoism (*
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Chinese Taoism is a mystical philosophy in which no statement is accepted as being absolutely true or absolutely false, no action either completely virtuous or completely lacking in merit.

To the taoist sage everything is in flux, always in the process of turning into its own opposite, and at the same time everything is immutable and eternal. A statement can simultaneously true and false; an effect can precede the events that caused it; things can be in two places at the same time.

A bizarre way of looking at reality, and yet Toaist paradoxes about the nature of space and time, and the events that take place in them, are reminicent of some of the theories associated with contempory mathematical particle physics, this makes it difficult for the open-minded observer to reject.

The central tenet of the Taoist philosophy is the primary existance of the Tao. Although it remains untranslatable in its eternity of meanings, on one level it signifies the "Path" or the "Way". The Tao is a path in many sences. It is the way that has to be followed by "the superior person", it conveys the idea of a human being who lives in accordance with the laws of the great cosmis principles and the greater principles that subsumes them.

The Tao first manifested itself as pure and undifferentiated energy, "chi", which, as soon as it became manifest, divided into the primal pairs of opposites, yin and yang, form and force, cosmic "femininity" and "masculinity". Yang the masculine, is associated with force instigating motion that causes change; Yin, the passive female, absorbs the force of Yang so that, in constant changing the whole remains the same. The paradox of the Tao has been linked to a wheel that spins - while there is constant motion, the centre is constantly still.

Yin and Yang are opposites, but they are inseperatable and each is dependant on the other. Each carries the other within it: they are not opposed in a fixed dualism, but combine polarity and ambiguity to produce the dynamic energy of life.

The Taoist system inspires a sense of confidence in the natural couse of nature, and a mistrust in human intervention. This is expressed in the Taoist notion of wuwei - meaning a possitive non-intervention with the Tao. The Tao is not a deity but simple the innateness of life. From the Tao comes the One, which is the primal essence of being. The One splits and forms the two - yin and yang.

There is no concept of hell in the Taoist religion, no man is seen as fallen and in need of redemption. Rather, man is seen as having lost his way, and is in need of regaining his "path". All he has to do is lay down the burden of his desires and the "wandering thoughts" that obscure his veiw in order to see the "way" and be in harmony with the Tao.

In its purest nature the Tao believes that intuision is supreme, harmony with the Tao can be archieved only intuitively, not by mental reasoning. "We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want" says the Tao Te Ching.

Lao Tzu, the legendary founder of Taoism, explains the meaning of Taoism to Confucius:

Human life between Heaven and Earth is like a white colt
glimpsed through a crack in the wall, quickly past.

It pours forth, it overwhelms, yet there is nothing that does not emerge.
It drifts, it swirls, yet there is nothing that does not return.

Life is transformation, death is also transformation.
All living creatures are saddened, all humanity mourns.

However, it is simply the releasing of the Heavenly bowstring, or the emptying of the Heavenly satchel, a yielding and changing which release the soul, as the body follows, back at long last to the great Returning.

That without shape comes from shape, that with shape, returns to the shapeless...

This philosophy reflects one of the great magical themes of transformation: of life and death and a constant interplay between form and the formless as part of a universal pattern of energies.

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