The Way Essay Samples
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The Way, or Taoism, is a world-renowned method of living one’s life. Often confused with a simple and peaceful way of living, the religions of the world that have adopted Taoism or, the Way, have many intricate philosophical and ethical origins followers are expected to abide by. Confucianists and Daoists are two groups that have adopted the Way, using it to navigate the perils of the mortal world. It meant different things to each group, and they followed it for different reasons in an effort to make sense of themselves and the world around them.
Confucianists interpreted the Way, or Tao, as the truth. A Confuscianist’s way, or truth, was used in specific accordance with ethics, philosophy, and politics. The truth was supposed to act as a moral compass. For example, ancient texts say wealth and honor are often what people desire, but they do not contribute to the view the Way shows. Similarly, many people look down upon being impoverished or poor, but if the choices that bring this upon an individual are in tune with the Way, they should be cherished and even sought after, because the Way is always correct . We can ascertain then, that Confucianists followed the Way in order to understand how to better live their lives according the Truth within themselves. Confucianists were humanistic, regarding a humanst, virtuous approach to life.
Daoists also had a unique approach to the Way. While there are many variations of Daoism, some interpretations are universal. For example, Daoists believed the Way was a literal interpretation of the path through life. Daoists, for example, have texts that state one life gives birth to two, and two gives birth to three . Essentially, a lineage, and a population are born through the Way, and the path of people signifies the path of life. The statement shows Daoists believed the Way was a representation of people begetting other people. Birth was a part of life, and ensured a path that would be forged for others. The Way, for Daoists, also represented the pathway through life to heaven.
The Way can seem trivial to other cultures. Why does either group bother to care for the Way? Can they not glean the lessons, or understand the path of life without the philosophical teachings of Taoism? They could, but the Way also offers each individual the chance to savor more in their daily life. Not only that, but individuals also learn how to love their lives more than they previously had. For example, ancient Chinese texts from both Confucianists and Daoists demonstrate how otherwise lowly individuals, such as cooks and stable boys, are shown how to love and appreciate life through the Way . What is more, they are able to live simply and not take for granted what others of higher statuses in life take for granted because they have come to understand there is only one true Way to live one’s life peacefully. Though the Way represents different values in each religion, for both denominations, it shows the value of life and peace within us.
In sum, Confucianists and Daoists follow the Way differently, and for different reasons. However, the ideals are equally important to both religious groups. Confucianists use the Way as a truth or moral compass. They need it for philosophical and political principles and use it to set standards for how to live their daily lives. The Way is a system for Confuscianists to navigate the difficulties of life, allowing them to make otherwise difficult decisions easier. One may avoid being poor because the poor are looked down upon, however if these choices do not conflict with the Way, a Confucianist knows these choices are okay. Daoists use the Way as literal pathway through life, and toward heaven. People are born, decisions are made, and all must be done correctly in order for life to be easy and peace to be maintained. A Daoist uses the Way as a lesser moral compass, and a guide through life, though it is moral of a guiderail, providing cliff notes for how life should be lived and what to expect.
Holcome, Charles. A History of East Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Book.
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