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The Teaching of Dao 10-通道 10  

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Dao Sages-Lao Tse(老子) and Zhuang Tse (莊子) or Lao Zhuang (老莊)


Lao Tse is revered as a deity in most religious forms of Taoism. The Dao De Ching (道德經), also referred to as the Lao Tse was created in the late Spring and Autumn Periods (770-478 BC). Such scripture covers every aspect of nature, society and human life.  Such text was translated into more than 500 versions in 30 languages. The spirit expressed in Dao De Ching can help people relax and produce serenity in their soul and minds in today’s’ ever changing environment.

 

According to Chinese tradition, Lao Tse lived in the 6th century BC. Historians variously contend that Lao Tse is a synthesis of multiple historical figures, that he is a mythical figure, or that he actually lived in the 4th century BC, concurrent with the Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States Period.

 

A central figure in Chinese culture, both nobility and common people claim Lao Tse in their lineage. Throughout history, Lao Tse's work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements.

 

Lao Tse was described as a ‘cool’ sage while Zhuang Tse was regarded as a ‘happy go lucky’ sage where Zhuang Tse placed emphasis on freedom over others. Lao Tse’s Dao De Ching with approximately 5000 words were simple but not so easy to understand and comprehend while Zhuang Tse’s work was with anecdotes and easy to comprehend. But the core is the same that is to find the right ‘Dao’ in life.

 

Zhuang Tse expresses pity to a skull he sees lying at the side of the road. Zhuang Tse laments that the skull is now dead, but the skull retorts, "How do you know it's bad to be dead?"

 

It was the butterfly dream that makes Zhuang Tse famous. Once Zhuang Tse dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with him and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Zhuang Tse. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuang Tse. But he didn't know if he was Zhuang Tse who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuang Tse. Between Zhuang Tse and a butterfly there must be some distinction!

 

The core of Dao Teaching is to live harmoniously with environment in the context of Cosmic (Heaven), Human and Earth in mind (天人感應).  Daoism was the first to emphasis Tien Ren He Yi (天人合一), the Oneness interaction of Heaven and Human. It was later that Confucianism placed emphasis on Tien Ren He De (天人合德), the Virtues interaction between Human and Heaven.

 

 

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