Free «Lao-Tzu» Essay Sample

Lao-Tzu name translates to something like old master which is slightly older contemporary of Buddha, Confucius, and Heraclitus. Lao-Tzu philosophy suggests that he spoke hesitantly and was disinclined to write. Mendelowitz says that Lao-Tzu passed through the Great Wall of China into wilderness and worldly retirement (2). It is said that what he left behind has resounded as another still small voice echoing through the corridors of time (Mendelowitz, 2).

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The thoughts of Lao-tzu's never let us forget that we are the human beings who he says that must struggle, feel, and choose for ourselves, live with ourselves. Mendelowitz (9) noted that Lao-tzu had ethos that disregarded the emotional, even conflicted, domains by leaping too conveniently into the established and expedient. In addition, Seddon indicated that Lao Tzu has been known to have the precise origins of his school of Taoism that remains elusive (25).

Tzu and Giles says that Lao-tzu is associated with the great political lesson of laisser-faire that is carried and assimilated in excess (11). As  a result on the whole the Chinese may be said to have adopted Lao Tzu's main principles of government with no small success. Tzu and Giles also indicated that it is hard to believe that a rigidly despotic Empire, encumbered with an irksome array of laws and statutes, could have remained homogeneous and intact throughout so lengthy period (11). It was also suggested that Lao Tzu may have reached this doctrine of non-interference by observing that the Supreme Power, Tao, governs the Universe by fixed laws, and yet leaves to man an apparently unrestricted freedom of will.

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Lao Tzu recognizes very little distinction between knowledge and virtue, the rational and moral sides of man's nature. Tzu and Giles further indicated that virtue with him is simply the knowledge of Tao, just as with Plato it is the knowledge of the good (13). They continue to indicate that Lao Tzu's despondency would have been greater still, could he have foreseen how his pure and idealistic teaching was destined to be dragged in the mire of degrading superstition which for centuries has made Taoism a byword of reproach.

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Laozi and Bynner noted that although Lao-tzu spoke wisdom that attracted many followers, he had refused to the end of his life to set it down, considering the way of life and the ways of the world, he had decided that a great deal was done and said in the world which might better be spared (11). They also noted that it is told that Confucius, impressed by Laotzu's influence on people, visited him once to ask advice, ironically enough on points of ceremonial etiquette. Lao-tzu could speak of scholars as a corrupting nuisance. Laozi and Bynner say that other scholars more imaginative than Giles differed with him (15).

The current tendency gives the mystical ethics of Lao-tzu as a surer place in import for the world than the practical properties of Confucius. According to Laozi and Bynner Lao-Tzu had a profound influence on a great part of the world's population (15). This is because apart from the superstitious and the misled who have taken over the name for religious sects and have perverted its meaning into alchemy, geomancy, occultism, and church trick generally (Laozi and Bynner, 15). Another important aspect is that Lao Tzu had a creative quietism that has been the foundation of China's age long survival.

In conclusion, Laozi and Bynner noted that no one in history has shown better than Lao Tzu how to keep the root of democracy clean. This was not democracy alone but all life that grows at one's own door step. Some authors say that Lao Tzu is one of the chief weapons against tanks, artillery, and bombs as he quotes "conduct your triumph as a funeral". In this context we note that Lao Tzu opens himself to the universe despite his inappropriate philosophies.

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