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Hints on Taoist Philosophy

The Taoist philosophy is expressed mainly in the book of Lao-tzu, Tao-te ching.

Generally speaking, Lao-tzu's philosophy can be summed up in a few words as Ssu-ma Ch'ien (in his Historical Records) does when he speaks about the Master that he preaches the retreat from the world and the keeping of a low profile.

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Yet in Tao-te ching we find many other ideas expressed more or less elusively.

For example, there is much talk about what Tao is, the key concept of Taoism. There are also notes about the creation of the universe that has taken place in stages, starting from a state of void that doesn't exclude a primordial "something".

Taoist adept
The Taoist disciple carefully observes the things and events to discern the meaning (Source: https://ro.pinterest.com/

Starting from Tao and its characteristics - nondoing, emptiness, return, etc. – Lao-tzu proposes a way of life based on these characteristics.

Thus the disciple practices nonaction, cultivates mental emptiness does not interfere with world events and keeps a low profile. The conduct of water is given as an example, because it really occupies a lower place and at the same time nourishes all beings.

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Water offers also the model of sovereing's conduct. He must practice nonaction and avoid the desire to impose himself to the public attention. He must show restraint and caution when dealing with social and political matters.

Taoist philosophy therefore includes several theoretical and practical aspects. The theoretical ones refer to the main concepts developed by Lao-tzu and his disciples Chuang-tzu and Lieh-tzu.

They took over the ideas of Lao-tzu and embraced them, enriched and even expanded.

Lieh-tzu flyig on the wind
Lieh-tzu flying on the wind is the symbol of the true Taoist meditation (Source: http://ainapurpr1.blogspot.com/2017/01/lieh -tzu.html

An important emphasis is placed on the state of meditation that differs entirely from its yogic variants.

Meditation in Taoism is not a fusion with everything that exists, but is conceived, on the one hand, by a careful observation of events to discern their meaning, and, on the other hand, by the detachment from all social conventions and ethical goals.

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The Taoist philosophy insists much on the concept of emptiness, which is not only presented in correlation with its opposite - the fullness. The emptiness of Taoists is the origin of all that exist, and thus it is very close to the Buddhist concept.

Finally, Taoism does not specifically deal with death that is seen as an effect of the law of  transformation, like birth, and can not be avoided.

Death is not really the end of what exists but only part of the eternal oscillation of coming and going law of Tao.

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