Access*: Interdisciplinary Journal of Student Research and Scholarship
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
Greene, A. Amon
"The Tao Te Ching [Laozi] /Lao-tzu Metaphysics (What is existence?),"
Access*: Interdisciplinary Journal of Student Research and Scholarship: Vol. 1:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.tacoma.uw.edu/access/vol1/iss1/4
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