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Shang Di

thought of a personal god




the active aspect of reality that expresses itself in speech, light and heat


the respective aspect of the universe


the Confucian book of literature which is still used today "the book of changes"

qi or chi

energies of the body and world


slow moving exercise used to manage chi


science of managing chi

Zhang Daoling

the founder of the Way of the Heavenly Masters

The Heavenly Master

Zhang Daoling


the Daoist canon consisting of thousands of books and is influenced by Buddhism

What are the elements of Chinese belief?

spirits, Tian, veneration of ancestors, seeing patterns in nature, yin and yang and divination


active in every aspect of nature, power of spirits lurking in nature and the world of nature, notions of harmony with the spirits should be maintained, good spirits bring health, wealth, long life and fertility, bad spirits brought disease, fatality and natural disasters


a power or principle, controls the flow of the world, became a prevalent idea in the Zhou dynasty not a goal, impersonal divine force that controls events on earth and has a cosmic moral principle that determines right and wrong

Veneration of ancestors

ancestors at death became spirits who needed to be placated to ensure their positive influence on living family members, ancestors continue to have an impact on the living

patterns in nature

i.e. the progression of seasons, the paths of the sun and the moon and the cycle of birth and death, the motion of waves and ripples of the mountain ranges, the rhythm of the Dao and alternations of the Yin and yang, happens for a reason, random

yin and yang

symbolized by the circle of light and dark, represents the complementary by opposing forces of the universe that generates all forms of reality, balance, complementary inside themselves, not total opposites, have part of the other within, things are always relative i.e. who knows, what is good and what is bad?


reading signs and powers of the world, i.e. yijing "book of changes"-ask the book about the future and toss the coin, and look for patterns

China history with government and religion

since 1949 it was a communist country and religion was band from 1949-1976, since 1978 religion and many other things have gained freedom

What is Daoism?

philosophy of the universe, the world, nature the humans, comes from ancient China, long history that evolves, belief in the Dao and Laozi, context and scriptures that are made relevant, scriptures including Daodejing and Zhuangzi are worshipped


the creator of Daoism, name means "old child", became a librarian and one day he became tired of his job so he took his own ox and rode it to far west China, guard wouldn't let him pass until he wrote down his teachings which are now the Daodejing, he brought his teachings to India and when he returned to China he ascended into the sky, he is the human incarnation of the Dao


translates to mean "the classical book about the way and its power", the teachings of Laozi, written down by him before he left the western Chinese border, decided teachings would help others in the future, more poetry than prose, 81 chapters

The Dao

the way, the process of how the universe and nature flows, the creator of all things, the origin of everything, referred to many times in the Daodejing, describes the manor in which people will live when in harmony with the Dao, nameless and has no form, can't be fully described or grasped completely, does not want or desire any personal credit, does not try to be great, simply "is", what isn't the Dao, not a personal god.

Dao Metaphors

water, woman, child, valley, darkness, bowl, river


flows around and through things, strong but gentle


sensitive, yet affective and powerful


full of energy, wonder and naturalness


yin, yet growth mystery


can be safe and full of possibilities


may be used but capacity in never exhausted, bottomless and blends its sharpness, becomes one with the world, exists forever, existed before the Lord


flows whichever way and provides provisions for all, no credit or pleasure, everyone is welcome, without desire, eternal


name of author and the book, elaborates the potential results of being one with the Dao, whimsical stories, pleasure we can gain with simplicity, work reelects many common Daoist themes,

What are the five themes of basic early teachings of the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi

Dao, Wu wei, Simplicity, Gentleness, and relativity.

Wu wei

the idea of effortlessness, it is translated as no strain. It implies that unnecessary actions or actions that are not spontaneous; should be eliminated from daily life, you should let things happen naturally.


urges its followers to eliminate whatever is unnecessary, and artificial and to appreciate the simple and apparently ordinary, described in the daodejing when it refers to dao as a river


completely against violence, war, and guns. "The wise person loves peace and resistance and avoids all violence"


People see things from a limited point of view that is based on their own concerns, ex. good/bad, beautiful/ugly (horse story), crucial for people to stop stereotyping and think outside of the barrier.

Quest for longevity

striving for long or immortal life, used internal alchemy to try to elongate life, also used "yoga" but it wasn't called yoga, also used elixirs such as liquid gold because it didn't rust, then died.

Two forms of organizations in daoism are______ and _________

They way of the heavenly master, and the way of complete perfection

The way of the heavenly master

Zhang Daoling was the founder, the heads of the organizations were called heavenly masters, very popular in Taiwan

The way of complete perfection

blend of daoism, buddhism, and confucianism. involves monasteries and groups of celibate monks. this form of daoism was suppressed by the chinese gov't immensely at first.

How did buddhism influence daoism?

Vast production of texts and books, set up a monastic comm., concept of the three purities, recipes for longevity and magical powers

What kinds of deities were worshipped in Daoism?

most important are the three purities, there are also Laozi, spirits of nature and household gods

Female deities

motherly Mazu Damu, the Queen Mother of the West

How does Chinese nature paintings reflect Daoist perspective and themes?

The main theme is that people most learn to appreciate tiny details in life, perspective-far away vs. close up, learn to appreciate nature, use of emptiness, people and pictures looking off into the distance

How does Chinese poetry reflect Daoist themes and ideas?

Li Bai often annotated through poetry on many Daoist stories such as Zhuangzi, view poetry as part of education, poetry stream-complete a full poem before it gets to the end, short lines and short poems, nature theme, not much detail and same idea of emptiness, open ended

landscape paintings

things that represent the Dao, look unfinished, require people to fill in empty space with their imagination,

close up paintings

allows you to see things you cant usually see, imagination, more detail, different aspect of nature that helps you appreciate smaller details

Li Bai

a famous poet that wrote about the butterfly dream, died because he was drunk on a boat one night and tried to reach for the moons reflection and drowned,

Ma Yuan

a master at painting from a far away perspective

Moon gate

a circular gate leading into gardens that symbolizes the combining of heaven and Earth


human built structures in the gardens that look like they belong, blend in, bring in rock formations to be like mountains, contrast of water and high mountains to symbolize opposites (yin and yang), curvy paths because in nature the path is never straight, not religious places but a space for thinking

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