Essay about The Most Accurate Understanding Of The Dao

1667 Words Oct 17th, 2016 7 Pages
In Chinese philosophy, the concept of the Dao or The Way appears frequently. Even within a specific text, such as the Laozi, the idea of The Way wavers from chapter to chapter. Nevertheless, out of all the seemingly contradictory explanations, the meaning of the Dao arises. While Chapter 1 expresses the most accurate understanding of The Way through its’ description and syntax, other passages such as Chapter 4 and Chapter 25 support and expand the interpretation, respectively. For the Laozi to begin it’s first sentence with an expression describing The Way is both meaningful and ironic. On a general level, the Dao can be understood as the proper path that one must follow. In Chapter 1 it is presented as a constant, moving process. It is not static. Rather, it adapts to the times and must be interpreted in context. Analyzing the first sentence, “a Way that can be followed is not a constant way” (Ivanhoe and Van Norden 159), the Dao’s inexpressible nature is uncovered. Unlike human nature’s desire to explain all things, The Way can not be categorized. It is not stagnant. Expanding on the verb ‘followed,’ imagine The Way as a fast moving object that races past in front of your eyes. It may seem fuzzy and indiscernible, but one knows that something is there. In the same way, the Dao is ever present and ever changing. However, this is ironic. Given that such concept is indescribable, the Laozi attempts to give it connotation from the beginning. Any such definition would be…

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