Confucian And Taoist Portrait Of A Traditional Chinese Gentleman

889 Words Oct 29th, 2015 4 Pages
Confucian & Taoist Portrait of a Traditional Chinese Gentleman In examining the Confucian and Taoist ways of life, an image is created displaying how the ideal Chinese gentleman should be. These ancient Chinese styles of living clearly outline key virtues and principles that one should internalize in order to fulfill his or her spiritual duty. The Analects, written by Confucius, defines the superior man as one who strives for social harmony by renewing traditional ways of life in order to correct the present. A Confucian gentleman follows the principles of Li. On the other hand, the Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu, shows that a Taoist sage reflects harmony with nature in all aspects of his life. The ideal gentleman focuses more on his inner balance than he focuses on society. Altogether, the traditional Chinese gentleman has an overall goal of self-improvement, in light of both Confucianism and Taoism. The male form of a Taoist sage finds peace in nature. He follows the Way, the Tao. The Tao signifies harmony with natural order and it is the ultimate principle of the universe. The Tao Te Ching describes the Tao as the “origin of all things” (page 9). The Tao “blunts all sharp edges, it unties all tangles, it harmonizes all lights, it unites the world into one whole” (page 9). Although the Tao is a complex being, a traditional Taoist sage must have faith and follow the Way. Additionally, the goal of Taoism is to gain balance in life through nature and by pursuing…

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