Tao

related topics
{theory, work, human}
{god, call, give}
{language, word, form}
{war, force, army}
{math, number, function}
{system, computer, user}
{line, north, south}

Tao (, pinyin: About this sound dào ) is a metaphysical concept originating in Taoism that has been adopted in Confucianism, Chan and Zen Buddhism and more broadly in East Asian religions and ancient Chinese philosophy. While the word itself literally translates as 'way', 'path', or 'route', or sometimes more loosely as 'doctrine' or 'principle', it is generally used to signify the primordial essence or fundamental aspect of the universe. In Taoist philosophy the word Tao is not generally considered to be a 'name' for a 'thing': it is a reference to the natural order of existence, often referred to as the "eternally nameless” (Tao Te Ching-32. Lao-Tzu) to distinguish it from the countless 'named' things which are considered to be its manifestations. In Buddhism and Confucianism, by contrast, Tao has come to refer to the outcome of meditative or moral practices (respectively), which is closer in meaning to the Taoist concept of Te (virtue).

In all its uses, Tao is considered to have ineffable qualities that prevent it from being defined or expressed in words. It can, however, be known or experienced, and its principles can be followed or practiced. Much of East Asian philosophical writing focuses on the value of adhering to the principles of Tao and the various consequences of failing to do so. In Confucianism and religious forms of Taoism these are often explicitly moral/ethical arguments about proper behavior, while Buddhism and more philosophical forms of Taoism usually refer to the natural and mercurial outcomes of action (comparable to karma). Tao is intrinsically related to the concepts yin and yang, where every action creates counter-actions as unavoidable movements within manifestations of the Tao, and proper practice variously involves accepting, conforming to, or working with these natural developments.

Contents

Full article ▸

related documents
Occult
Parmenides
Hinayana
Zeno of Citium
Astrology
Brave New World
Sun Tzu
Democritus
Kōan
Anti-realism
The Myth of Sisyphus
Categorization
Non-cognitivism
Oxymoron
The Dispossessed
Scientist
Pessimism
Psychoanalytic literary criticism
Ethical egoism
Religious humanism
Proposition
Humour
Subject (philosophy)
Genius
Visual thinking
Validity
Ruth Benedict
Meta-ethics
Mind map
Nyaya