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Page 1 Whatever the truth Taoism and Confucianism have to be seen side-by-side as two distinct responses to the social political and philosophical conditions of life two and a half millennia ago in China Whereas Confucianism is greatly concerned with social relations conduct and human society Taoism has a much more individualistic and mystical character greatly influenced by nature In Lao Tzus view things were said to create unnatural action wei by shaping desires yu The process of learning the names ming used in the doctrines helped one to make distinctions between good and evil beautiful and ugly high and low and being yu and non- being wu thereby shaping desires To abandon knowledge was to abandon names distinctions tastes and desires Thus spontaneous behavior wu-wei resulted Wing - Tsit Chan 136 791 Contemplating the remarkable natural world Lao Tzu felt that it was man and his activities which constituted a blight on the otherwise perfect order of things Thus he counseled people to turn away from the folly of human pursuits and to return to ones natural wellspring Wing - Tsit Chan 148 141-142 163 169 The five colors cause ones eyes to be blind The five tones cause ones ears to be deaf The five flavors cause ones plate to be spoiled Racing and hunting cause ones mind to be mad Goods that are hard to get injure ones activities For this reason the sage is concerned with the belly and not the eyes Therefore he rejects the one but accepts the other Lao Tzu in Wing-Tsit Chan 145 Page 2 The central vehicle of achieving tranquillity was the Tao a term which has been translated as the way or the path Wing-Tsit Chan 736 Te in this context refers to virtue and Ching refers to laws Thus the Tao Te Ching could be translated as The Law or Canon of Virtue and its Way The Tao was the
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