The Daodejing: The Laozi

Good Essays
The Daodejing, sometimes referred to simply as the Laozi after its author, is a classic Chinese text, fundamental for the study and practice of Daoism (Taoism). Daoism is heavily based on the concept of Yin Yang, a symbol which represents the two basic principles which govern the entire universe, i.e., the Yin and the Yang. The Yin and the Yang do not hold fixed definitions, but instead they are described as complete opposites which continuously transform into each other in order to keep the world in perfect equilibrium. Laozi explains this concept of absolute balance as he writes, “If you would shrink it,/You must first cause it to be expanded;/If you would weaken it,/You must first cause it to be strengthened...This is called the subtly illumined./The…show more content…
The definition of the Dao, or the Way, is intentionally left rather ambiguous in many classic Chinese texts in order to inspire people to meditate on its vast implications. The Source of the Way, therefore, rather paradoxically addresses the origin of a nameless entity, that is, where the concept of the Dao comes from. An excerpt from the Yuandao reads, “From the beginning when there was constantly nothing/It has been deeply merged with Vast Emptiness./Empty and merged as one./Constantly One and nothing more...Human beings all rely on it, yet none know its name./Human beings all make use of it, yet none see its form” (de Bary 253). This text alone serves to legitimize political authority within China in that it eliminates any potential opposition based on infinite regress. It is nearly impossible to comprehend the origin of emptiness, let alone attempt to contradict its existence, which is what makes the Yuandao such a persuasive religious argument. Thus, by understanding the truth of the emptiness of the Dao, the king too becomes empty and it is this emptiness that allows the rest of the universe to exist and what prompts the people to so willingly abide by his
Get Access