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Indian and Chinese Philosophy

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Adrián Slavkovský

This textbook offers a brief overview of the main philosophical schools of the two most significant cultures in ancient Asia, from where these thoughts have spread widely – it concerns ancient India and China. Most important philosophical concepts of that region like holistic or ceremonial approach to reality, openness to transcendence, pluralism of opinions, behaviour leading by a sense of harmony are somehow complementary to our prevailing contemporary Western thought. Therefore they can be enriching and balancing for us and our culture.
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9. Taoism

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Keywords: Tao, Wu wei, Yin and Yang, paradox, metaphor

9.1 Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing)

Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are considered the three most significant systems of thought in China. Throughout history, they influenced each other, there were even attempts to combine them. The term Taoism is an umbrella term for several schools of thought, which have common themes. The most distinctive text of the system was the Dao De Jing, whose authorship is traditionally accredited to Laozi and Zhuangzi, a text that is named after the author Zhuangzi. In present times, it is believed that both texts were being created for a long time and several authors participated in their creation. Texts do not refer to each other and they were included into the common Taoist corpus in the 3rd century A.D. ← 91 | 92 →

The common signs of Taoism include the development of the Tao path, the emphasis on metaethics in reflexions on moral, the development of concepts on the return to naturalness and spontaneity and also the indirect and non-confrontational style of writing, which does not appeal to rationality in the first place, but to intuition and imagination, by using analogies, elements of poetry, humour and self-irony.

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