The daodejing of Laozi
The daodejing of Laozi is a Daoist with a personality that has brought a lot of influence on Chinese thought. The Laozi or Daodejing transformed into what it is today in the third century. Today, it continues to get so much popularity in the whole of East Asia and beyond. Philip J Ivanhoe’s lucid and philosophical interpretation give fresh insights into this classic work. The Language unit, which is unique to this edition, gives eight translations of the starting passage by famous and influential people and explains well, how they were, interpreted (Laozi, 20).
Laozi was a philosopher who lived in the early years and was a Daoist. The Daodejing is a leader or deity who existed among the Chinese community. The Zhuangzi is the first place to use Laozi as an individual name and to know Laozi and Lao Tan. The earliest things related to Laozi are found in the Zhuangzi’s chapters. Parts of the chapters of that work have ten areas where Laozi is the central object. Four of them have straight criticism about the Confucian. They have comprehensions from the Daodejing, and they could belong to the time when that collection was approaching a final form (45).
The major thing that makes this book exceptional is that it has included a Chinese to English dictionary for all of the characters used in the Dao De Jing. Every dictionary entry has the traditional and uncomplicated characters as well as the. Every character is split down into its contents with a description of those contents. Also, there is an included brief etymology for the character, some historical and cultural background information surrounding the use of the character. There is a diagram too, diagram on how to write each one. Another fundamental part of the dictionary is the addition of a concordance for each character, which indicates the number of the chapter and position of every character within the Dao De Jing. This makes provision for a user to look up the several times that a specific character was used in the text, for of comparison reasons in the text.
In reference to a book called Rites, a person called Lao Tan was a specialist of rituals (Laozi, 56). On four times, Confucius is said to have answered to questions by requesting responses from Lao Tan. Research says that Confucius once helped Lao Tan in a funeral ceremony. In the Zhuangzi Lao Tan usually criticizes Confucius. It is the first book to use Laozi as an individual’s name and to know there is Laozi and Lao tan. The Zhuangzi contains work from a tutor called Zhuang Zhou who existed between 370-300 BCE (68). Units one to seven of the present thirty three are the most frequently known to Zhuangzi, which means Zhuang is a master. Guo Xiang reviewed the work in the first fifty years of the third Century. He worked on fifty two parts, which he had found. He turned down the material because he considered it inferior. He spared thirty three units and separated them into two parts. There were inner units and outer ones. Apart from that, the ones that remained originated from other people and they have different perspectives of opinions.
Lao Tan refers to Confucius by his name in three comprehensions. This kind of freedom is only entitled to an individual with authority and power. It makes people see that Lao Tan was Confucius’ tutor hence considered him a superior. This is not confirmed to be true. Confucius was a confused person who was not successful. Laozi work was an archivist and considered Confucius written work not important. Hence; not worth preserving in the library. In another case, Confucius says that he understood well what was called six classics (Laozi, 70). He went ahead and convinced seventy-two kings about the truth. Unfortunately, they were not bothered about that. When Laozi learnt this, he persuaded Confucius to stop minding irrelevant things.
The Dao De Jing has been viewed as one of the most fundamental philosophical and spiritual texts to be written in the early years of China. It has been interpreted more times than any other documented work apart from the Bible. The name Dao means a road, and is often translated as way. This is because sometimes Dao is used as a noun but other times as a verb. Dao is reality itself, the way things come together as they transform. All this brings out the deep Chinese belief that change is the most important trait of things. In the classic change, the patterns of this change are shown by numbers representing 64 relations of forces called hexagrams (Laozi, 76). Dao is the change of these forces, most frequently simply known as yin and yang. The Xici is a statement on the Yi jing founded in almost the same time as the DDJ.
The teaching of Daodejing is that people cannot fathom the Dao. This is because even though it is named in any way, it cannot be captured. It is beyond the people’s thoughts. Those who wu Wei may become one with it and thus obtain the Dao. Wu Wei is a not easy to translate. Yet, it is generally accepted that the traditional making it as non action or no action is incorrect. Daoism is not a philosophy of doing nothing. Wu Wei means people should act naturally. The vital concept is that there is no need for people altering the process of reality. Wu Wei should be the way people live, because the Dao is beneficial. It does not harm anyone (Laozi, 83).
The way to get to heaven will always be doing the right thing and it comes from the Dao alone. No one can explain the nature of why the Dao is beneficial and good. Not even the sages can explain it. The earth is a reality that is full of spirits of forces. It is compared with to a sacred image used in religious ritual. The Dao occupies the place in reality where the family uses as an altar, for ancestors and gods. People should not think that that life is unfair. This is not true because in heaven things are very much in place.
It does not mean that correlatives in Chinese philosophy are opposites of each other. They represent the ebb and processes of the reality forces: yin yang, masculine and feminine too much defect; leadership, following; active and dullness. As one approaches the fullness of yin, yang begins to show at the horizon and it emerges. Its lessons on correlation frequently (Laozi, 98). For instance, those who are crooked will be corrected. The bent ones will be straight. Those who are empty will be filled. Since these look paradoxical, they best understood as correlational in meaning. The DDJ thinks that straightforward words sound paradoxical. This does not imply they are. In fact, they are not.
Sages pay attention to their internal energies. They clear their vision, show plainness and become like unused wood. They live naturally and away from desires of human beings. They settle themselves and learn how to live in a content way with what they have. The Daodejing makes uses some very known analogies to clarify his point. Sages understand the value of voidness as shown by how emptiness is utilized in a bowl, door, window, valley or canyon. They preserve the female, which means they know how to respond hence, assertive and active. Shouldering and an embrace, represent inner strength and it helps to have harmony (Laozi, 105).
Those adhering to the Dao do not struggle, tamper, or look for control. They do not wish to assist life along or use their hearts and mind to solve or life’s difficulties and entanglements. Indeed, the DDJ warns that those who would attempt to do something with the world will not be successful. They will actually destroy it. Sages do not participate in disputes and arguments, or try to show they are correct. They are flexible, humble and like water. It finds its own place, conquering the difficult and robust by being supple. Sages act expecting no reward and they put themselves last and yet come first. They never make a put themselves on air, boast or are arrogant. Sages make peace, creatures do not harm them and soldiers do not kill them. Heaven takes care of the sage and they become invincible (Laozi, 114).
Among the most debatable of the teachings in the DDJ are those closely related with rulers. Today’s research is approaching an agreement that the people who organized and put together the concepts of the DDJ participated in the leadership. They could have also participated in performing rituals and other religious ceremonies. As it may seem, many of the aphorisms directed to the leaders sound surprising at first sight. According to the DDJ, the appropriate leader keeps knowledge from the people, fills their stomachs, opens their hearts and eliminates their desires (Laozi, 117). A sagely leader decreases the size of the state and maintains the population to be small. Although the leader possesses armory, they are never used. The leader does not seek to be prominent.
The leader is a shadowy presence and when the leader’s work is finished, the people say they are content. All this is interesting because Philosopher and theorist Han Feizi used Daodejing. He used it to bring unity to China. It is sad to know that this leader filled stomachs, kept knowledge from the people and emptied the minds of people. He destroyed all the books containing content about medicine, agriculture or astronomy (Laozi, 120)
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