Taoism Beliefs

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Origins of the Universe

All matter is
a manifestation of the Ultimate Reality. Generally Taoist beliefs correctly predicted modern scientific discoveries in quantum physics; hence Fritjof Capra's "The Tao of Physics" is aptly named.

Good and Evil

To understand the
Taoist notion of Good and Evil, it is important to distinguish between the concept of evil versus the reality of evil.

As a concept,
Taoist do not hold the position of Good against Evil; rather they see the interdependence of all dualities. So when one labels something as an Good, one automatically creates Evil. That is, all concepts necessarily are based on one aspect coproducting another; if a concept were to have only one aspect it would be nonsensical. Similar to the Buddhist concept of Sunyata "the void", good and evil are just empty conceptual abstractions that have no permanent independent existence.

The reality of
Good and Evil is that all actions contain some aspect of each. This is represented in the t'ai chi, more commonly referred to as the yin-yang symbol. Any action would have some negative (yin) and some positive (yang) aspect to it. Taoist believe that nature is a continual balance between yin and yang, and that any attempt to go towards one extreme or the other will be ineffective, self-defeating and short-lived. When people interfere with the natural balance by trying to impose their egoistic plans, they will not succeed; rather, the non-egoistic person allows nature to unfold watching it ebb and flow from good to bad and back again.

Another way of
understanding this is that the sage person knows the reality of Good and Evil, whereas the fool concentrates on the concept of good and evil. The sage knows that any evil will soon be replaced by good, the fool is forever fruitlessly trying to eliminate evil. If action is necessary, the wise person follows Wu Wei (sometimes translated as "effortless action") which is in harmony with the Tao.

The semanticist Alfred
Korzybski expressed this distinction between the concept and the reality with the saying, "The map is not the territory." Alan Watts concurred with "The menu is not the meal."


 

Would you
like to learn more?
Here is another Alan Watt's book I'd recommend

tao watercourse way
Tao: The Watercourse Way
click to buy at Amazon


"A remarkable book because of Alan Watts's talent for
communicating Eastern ways of thought ...
not only the last of his works, but the best.... This book is a must."-- Shambhala Review

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