RELIGIOUS STUDIES 101B Lecture Notes March 19
LAOZI - founder of Philosophical Daoism. hagiographical,
probably didn't exist. born when he was eighty as an old man.
mother carried him eighty years.
TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF DAO, philosophic and religious.
DAO means "way"
there are THREE ways:
● 'the way', physical way, like a path
● 'way of proper conduct', more of a moral meaning
● 'the way things are', metaphysical meaning.
the metaphysical way is most prominent in the DAODEJING
THINGS TO DISCUSS
Chinese traditions are very complicated.
YOU MUST READ THE JAPANESE TRADITION CHAPTER before class on
tuesday. also, the teacher evaluations are that day.
- key figure. like the Paul of Daoism
- whimsicla playful writer, unlike the daodejing which is
abstract poetry. - continues with same
- his stories are collected into an eponymous text, ZHUANGZI
- divided into three parts
1. SEVEN INNER CHAPTERS (for sure written by zhuangzi)
2. OUTTER CHAPTERS
these are commentaries by followers of Zhuangzi.
differences in philosophy.
Zhuangzi says holy people sometimes shun politics and sometimes
take on a hermeneutical/ascetic/hermetical quality (going off
and thinking, but available for sage wisdom, but not part of
society). there is a range on who can offer wisodm. there is a
promotion of SPONTANEITY (ZIRAN).
less of a difference in status as to who can offer sage wisdom.
in contrast to the theme of 'doing nothing' promoted by laozi,
zhuangzi promotes ziran, sponteneity.
1. CONCEPT OF DAO AS ONE AND PRIMARY SOURCE IN THE UNIVERSE
2. INNER DISCIPLINE AS A WAY TO EMPTY OUT THE HEART MIND
(heart mind is from mencius. good example of syncretism)
3. DAO FOR BENEVOLENT GOVERNMENT (the use of dao and
discipline for benevolent govt)
there are other DAOIST principles that became prominent:
● THE DAO - the one, the way.
● WUWEI - ideal of effortless, no action. natural behaviour. this doesn't mean laziness or pacivity. it is more of a
recommendation that you do not take any unnecessary
actions. if you come to a road block, don't get angry,
don't wait, just take a different way and be happy. make
content with what you have available to you.
● SIMPLICITY - in line with wuwei, live as simply as
possible and appreciate the ordinary. the potter should not
spend his whole life making the perfect bowl, be happy with
the ordinary and simple. formal education is generally
frowned upon. frowning on large bureaucratic government
cause they are needlessly complicated. small kingdoms
peopel can go about their business simply.
● GENTLENESS - general rejection of weapons and war and
restraint from harsh words and unnecessary violence. the
need for peace and harmony is in all the chinese
traditions, they come out of the periods of warring states.
love of peace.
● RELATIVITY - rather than seeing things from your pov as
the only way of seeing things, or seeing things as
opposites, daoism says to see beyond your position and look
at the whole, not just opposites. like yin and yang, things
are not opposing opposites, they are compliments.
tehre are commmonalities between philosophical and religious
daoism, even though we are treating them as separate (just
treating them separately for ease of learning)
Huang-Lao thinkers (early name of daoists) were influential at
the Han court. in 139 BCE, lui submitted a copy of Huainanzi to
the Emperor (a comprehensive guide for kings).
some argue that this was an attempt to get confucianism out
- the beliefs in contemporary texts are SYNCRETIC. daoism was flexible and adapted to historical circumstances.
- one of the main goals of Daoism was to move with the Formless
and provide for all living things.
- the way, dao, was always open to change
- the concepts of 'NUMINOUS ESSENCE' and 'FORMLESS' are unique
to Daoism amongst the chinese trads
- it was believed that meditation practives would help the
daoists return to the dao.
- huge concern for health from this
- numinous essense was in the dao and became dissipated. they
are trying to put it back
- confucainism and daoism came ot share concepts of a universal
way, welfare, self-cultivation and harmony. the approaches to
cultivation were different.
- DAOISTS came to use rituals in their practices too, but they
focused a great deal on CULTIVATING THE MIND
- "RELIGION-IFICATION" in a nutshell: philosophical concepts
absorved by religious practies: these elements made Daoism much
- Another important element: the revering of ancestor and
elderly family members. Hooray for the old!
- the desire to live a long time or forever led to the
development of new ritu