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JGoff: Religious Daoism and Philosophical Daoism

To: alt.magick.tyagi
From: (mordred)
Subject: JGoff: Religious Daoism and Philosophical Daoism
Date: 16 May 1995 12:16:47 -0700

[from alt.philosophy.taoism: (John Goff)]

The point was made that the distinctions between Daoisms in China is not 
as clear cut as it appears to be in the West...One of the first things
ones needs to understand these things from the Chinese perspective is that 
none of these 'schools' really existed, anymore than you could walk around
Europe and point to a person on the street who would say, "I'm a 
Structuralist" or "I'm a Formalist."  No.  Yes, there are philosophers who
found philosophical schools, but no-one walks around in this country saying,
"I believe in physics, chemistry and biology don't really exist," or vice 
versa.  The real picture is much more complicated.  In fact, after the
Tang dynasty, the /vast/ majority of the populace was both Daoist /and/
Confucianist.  Obviously, these people didn't see a very large contradiction
here, as you don't see too many Christian Satanists walking about.

A.C. Graham's book "Disputers of the Tao" entirely concerns this question.
The fact is, everyone had a "Dao" Confucianists, Daoists, Mohists, etc.
What we call Daoism just never existed the way we think of it.  It really
is a lot like Western Philosophy in that sense, there are schools, (Formalist
Structuralist, etc.) but they operate from similar perspectives.  Also, what
do you about people like Lu Dong Bin (Lu Tong-pin) or Zhang Bo Duan (Chang
Po-tuan) who are /both/ 'religious' and 'philosophical' Daoists.  Don't get
hung up on terminology, words are subjective symbols.


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