Nature And Taoism

1625 Words 7 Pages
The Influence of Nature on the Philosophy of Taoism In humanities great search for understanding the mysteries of life, mankind has created a number of religions that range from a minute following to a following of immeasurable proportions. Yet despite these billions of believers, the world still remains in a state of unrest. In ancient China, this period of unrest was referred to as “The Warring States period” which lasted from 480-221 BCE (Dr. Godshalk’s presentation on China). This period gave rise to the development of new philosophies that would lead, if followed, the reunification of China. One of the major religions that were introduced is Daoism (Taoism) by Lao Tzu. Taoism stresses not only the idea of a country unbounded my laws, …show more content…
For many religions, mountains are a place that brings one closer to heaven. In China, Taoism has five sacred mountains each having shrines for worship and practice. Martin Palmer accents the importance of mountains when he states, “These mountains are very special places. Even in periods of the worst excesses of the Cultural Revolution, pilgrims still made their way to these holy mountains.” Clearly mountains are important to the people of China. To this day, monks live in isolation on mountains to become one with nature by isolating themselves from the material world. Mountains are also a place in which humans could find a path towards immortality. According to Ronnie Littlejohn, “The Daoists did not think of immortality as… an achievement in the religious sense…It was the result of finding harmony with the dao, expressed through wisdom, meditation, and wu wei. Persons who had such knowledge were reputed to live in the mountains…Undoubtedly, some removal to the mountains was a part of the journey to becoming a zhen ren "true person." Because Daoists believed that nature and our own bodies were correlations of each other, they imagined their bodies as mountains inhabited by immortals.” So immortality is not what we think of living forever, but rather the accumulation of wisdom and becoming one with nature. The requirement to do so though requires followers to leave their comfortable …show more content…
Naturally, humans need a way to grow closer to nature and for some, going up to the mountains wasn’t quite a commitment they were willing to make. In return, to bring themselves closer to nature, gardens were built in specific ways to offer an escape to nature. “He compares feng-shui to the divinatory arts, where practitioners seek the alignment of physical bodies (both human and constructed), and architectural structures, with the unseen life forces of nature called qi.” By practicing feng-shui, man not only comes closer to nature, but also follows The Tao in an attempt to unite him with heaven and the cosmos. It is important to note that gardening was never meant to harm the landscape as that would go against The Tao. As Huo Jianying quotes, “Architecture of Gardening emphasizes the principle of 'making use of what is available.’ No matter where a garden is located-by a stream, on a hill, in a field, or near a grove- the pre-existing setting should be utilized and enhanced by clever architecture.” (62). By adding architecture, humans, specifically nobility could bring together themselves and nature together in harmony, which is what The Tao preaches. Gardening and feng-shui allows mankind to allow nature to envelop them and live in unity with it through elaborate architecture combined with formations that represent the natural

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