The Confucianism represents outer (social) and official side of the traditional Chinese worldview, the inner (spiritual) side is represented by the Taoism. The Taoism and Confucianism don't contradict each other at all but supplement (and always did) one another.
The founder of Taoism is considered to be the legendary ancient sage Lao-tzu. Other famous representatives are Chuan-tzu and Le-tzu. The main book of Taoism is “Tao Te Chin” prescribed to Lao-tzu (though the linguistic analysis shows that it can't be so).
The keyword remains Tao but unlike the Confucianism it is treated not as the place and the social function of a man in society (i.e. in the external sense) but as something quite irrational (about which nothing definite can be said). “Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal [true] Tao”. It nevertheless compounds the primary base for all existing things. Tao in Taoism is an irrational origin impregnable for the human reason, it's a secret hidden from understanding. “Trying to penetrate this mystery leads only to mystery”. It's impossible to express it, to say about it loudly. It can be only felt intuitively by the wises but not by profanes. “When a profane hears of Tao he laughs, if he would not it would not be the real Tao”. Tao is something existing by itself without other grounds or sources. All that exists exists by dint of Tao. The Tao however doesn't rule anything, it doesn't rule even itself. It's a chaos, something quite chaotic compatible except with the water flux. As the water doesn't struggle but retreats and nevertheless moves on and turns gigantic stones so the Tao does nothing but all turns out to be done. The Tao is paradoxical, it's beyond any frame or scheme and can't be put into any conception. The Tao is the highest wisdom and the absence of any wisdom simultaneously. “The wisdom of Tao is the madness of the mundane world”. No wonder that the element of irony and buffoonery comprehensible not to everybody in Taoism is very strong.
The Taoist sages don't prove or preach. They in general keep aloof from the mundane fuss. The Taoist wise is a stranger for the wide society. There is a tale that Chuan-tzu having heard about one famous Taoist’s funeral came to look at. He saw a lot of people sobbing about this Taoist’s death. He spat, turned around and went back saying that if such great quantity of people was whining for this man as for the own father he (this man) had not been a real Taoist. The man who realized Tao is simultaneously in the world and beyond it, he's everything and he's nothing. This is the innermost wisdom of Tao. There is also another tale on this subject. Once Chuan-tzu saw a tree curved and crooked during its life. He exclaimed “What an ugly tree is there, it fits for nothing”. In the night he saw a dream about the tree which came to him and said “You are a fool, Chuan-tzu. I'm crooked and fit for nothing but thanks to it I've lived till the old. Be I straight and flat I would be sawn off for boards but thus I've survived”. In the same way the man of Tao does.
Tao is also the way by which the chi flows. The chi is a power or energy compounding the substance of the world. All existing exists because it has a chi. There is a chi of Earth, a chi of Heaven, a chi of the human organism etc. All that has place is some or other chi combination. Chi is like a breathing of the Whole, i.e. of the Tao. It's divided (here the Yin-Yang metaphysics begins) into the pair of opposites: Yin and Yang. They are two polar qualities appropriate to all things. Yang is the light, active, masculine origin, some sort of positive; Yin is the dark, passive, feminine origin, some sort of negative. They exist thanks to each other and are impossible without one another. It's illustrated by the famous Tai-chi symbol symbolizing the correlation and mutual penetration of polarities containing and supplementing each other and impossible without one another.
In the famous “I Ching” (The Book of changes) (another Chinese ancient book, the main book of the Yin-Yang metaphysics) Yin is represented by broken (- -), Yang by solid (--) lines. Each situation or event according to I Ching can be represented through the combination of three (trigrams) or six (hexagrams) lines. There are 8 trigrams (inner level) and 64 hexagrams (outer level). This is the universal structure of the world and its development. Using this system it's possible to predict the development of situation (the main using of I Ching is divination). There is nothing eternal and unchangeable except the changes of themselves. It's also useless to struggle trying to overcome situation, it's needed only to wait the favorable turn of it. “Sitting on a river-bank and looking at water it's possible to see foe's corpse swimming by” says the Chinese proverb.
From here such traditional science (or art) of China as Feng Shui comes. In the narrow sense it's the geomanty (the teaching of the auspicious and non-auspicious for humans places of the terrestrial surface), in the wide sense it's the art to find oneself in the needed moment in the needed place. Feng Shui is grounded on the chi- and Yin-Yang theory. Another application of the chi-theory is Chigun, the art of ruling the inner energy of the human organism. The Chigun or the Chinese yoga is based on the similar approaches as the Indian yoga and used by the traditional Chinese medicine and military arts. The human organism according to the Chinese point of view is beforehand the energetic system. Diseases are conditioned by a violation of the normal chi-motion in organism. The cure consists in the restoration of it through acupuncture (to clean up the chi-channels by activating according key-points of them), chigun and other remedies. The energetic point of view makes relative the opinion about separate existence of things or humans. Actually they are parts of the Whole transiting into each other. As a tale tells once Chuan-tzu dreamt about being a butterfly. Having awaked he could not realize for some time who he was either Chuan-tzu dreaming about being the butterfly or the butterfly dreaming about being Chuan-tzu. In the same way the correlation of all things in the Universe keeps on .
Control questions and exercises
1. Point out basic peculiarities of the Indian traditional worldview. What difference is between the orthodox and non-orthodox systems of Ancient India?
2. Point out similitudes and differences between the Christianity, Buddhism and Advaita-vedanta?
3. How are the spheres of influence between the Confucianism and Taoism distributed?
4. In what do the specifics of the traditional Chinese and Indian sciences lie in comparing with the European ones?
5. Find out as much as possible parallels between the modern European sciences and different trends of the Oriental philosophy.