University of Washington Tacoma

Access*: Interdisciplinary Journal of Student Research and Scholarship

Author Biography

A. Amon Greene is a 2017 cum laude graduate of the University of Washington Tacoma with an IAS degree in Global Studies (Concentrating in China and the Chinese diaspora) with minors in Education and Asian Studies. He has been a practicing massage therapist since 1996 and an ordained Taoist since 1997. He has traveled to Asia on multiple occasions for continuing education. In 1999 he studied at Wat Po in Bangkok, and in 2010 went to Shanghai's Massage School for the Blind. He taught as lead instructor at the N.W. School of Massage for nearly 15 years, he specialized in teaching the Asian Studies program. Amon is eager to share his long and profound study of Asian thought with others.

Document Type

Undergraduate Research Paper


As Chinese philosophies enter the global marketplace, Taoist ideas are emerging with greater frequency. In order to make Zhou Dynastic Taoist ideas accessible to Western acculturated readers a more conventionally “Western” examination of a key Taoist text the "Tao te ching/Dao de jing" by Lao Tzu/Laozi is presented in this paper. I examine the foundational metaphysics presented in the Tao te ching. Lao Tzu contends that the Tao transcends all conditions, all conceptualization and naming, presenting an inherent conundrum. I argue that by evoking a-rational and experiential discourse the Tao te ching attempts to impart impressions of The Tao. By this an example is set forth of the paramount value of wei-wu-wei (naturally derived action) as a greater means to achieving understanding than the more didactic approach favored by Lao Tzu’s contemporary Confucius (Kung-fu-tzu) and the thinkers that followed him. These two schools of thought share cosmology theories: e.g. The Tao, ch'i [qi]气, yin/yang阴/阳and te 德. However, their prescriptions for appreciating and harmonizing with these forces are mirror images of one another. In examining Taoist metaphysics through a more Western philosophical lens I attempt to give the reader a way to extract deeper mean from the Tao te ching.


University of Washington Tacoma


TIAS 498 A Directed Readings


Jane Compson