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