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Ancient China - Philosophy, Laozi and Zhuangzi

            Two of China's early philosophers, Laozi and Zhuangzi, believed that Dao is the law of nature. Daoism, also commonly referred to as Taoism, is a native Chinese religion often associated with the Daode jing. Although it is not specifically known who wrote it or when it was written, early philosophers believe that it was constructed by the first Daoism philosopher himself, Laozi. Often mistaken for a meditation manual, the book sends a message of The Way; "the totality of the Way--the way things are, as well as the way things should be--eludes codification, definition, and linguistic determination"" (Schirokauer & Brown pg. 43). .
             An even more comprehensive book than the Daode jing was the Zhuangzi. Named after its creator and considered one of the most definitive texts of Daoism, the Zhuangzi describes his philosophy and his way of life. Supplementing the teachings of Laozi, "Zhuangzi espoused a holistic philosophy of life, encouraging disengagement from the artificialities of socialization, and cultivation of our natural "ancestral " potencies and skills, in order to live a simple and natural, but full and flourishing life " (Chuang Tzu).
             Having influenced many different Chinese religions, the Dao de jing is one of the most important texts in ancient history. Described as obscure and illimitable, an extremely important concept derived from the text is the Yin and Yang. With Yin being negative or female, and Yang being positive or male, they are opposites. Although they are opposites they cannot exist without each other. This is because there needs to be balance and harmony. Yin and Yang is believed to exist in pairs; male and female, good and bad, wet and dry, hot and cold. Another major point in the Daodejing is the concept of wu-wei, meaning "non doing." Although it does not take the implicated definition of doing nothing at all, it simply means not interfering with natures predetermined course.

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