Daodejing Analysis

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The Daodejing, similar to the Analects, was written during the Warring State period, a time when the Zhou kingdom disintegrated into a series of feudal states fighting for power—a time of fragmentation and chaos. The Daodejing was written for Daoist, educated men, and people interested in Daoist teachings. The Daodejing was written to inform people, therefore, it was written as if speaking to a student. Laozi, the author of the Daodejing, although has no proof of existence, is believed to be a keeper of archives in the royal court and a teacher who travelled around China. The purpose of the Daodejing is to articulate Laozi’s ideas on Daosim and inform people about his philosophy.

These three passages selected from the Daodejing are good representative of the three core ideas of Daoism—the Dao, wuwei, and yin and yang.

The first passage (1.) writes about the Dao, also known as the Way. The Dao is the source of everything in the universe, the power or force that sustains the natural order of
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The passage writes that opposite existences unite to create a necessary whole, and therefore, cannot be separated. We should not call one good and the other bad because they cannot exist without one another. We may like one aspect more than the other, but we have to keep in mind that we can only do so when the other exists as a comparison. Without ugliness, how do we know what’s beautiful? Laozi is teaching us to look at things from a different perspective and appreciate the balance of yin and yang.

Similar to Confucius, Laozi also sought out a solution to create harmony in a world full of chaos and fragmentation. But Laozi found the solution through Daosim. The three ideas, the Dao, wuwei and yin and yang, are three key concepts in Daoism that leads to the harmony that Laozi strived for. These ideas, although created hundreds of years ago, still deeply influence Chinese thinking and culture
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