Eastern Religions and the Importance of Nature

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Through out the many religions of the world there seems to be a common element of nature. Through the course of this paper we will seek out this element with in specific Eastern religions. There are many degrees of commitment within each of the religions discussed from the extreme of Taoism, Shinto and Confucianism, these being the religions we will further discuss. A religion to which nature contributes a substantial amount of influence is Taoism. Considerably argued that Laozi even existed, he is thought to be the founder of Taoism in the sixth century. The Ying- Yang and the Daode Jing are two important elements, which illustrate how they embrace and view nature. The Ying Yang symbol is described as two elements joined together to form one; it represents perfect balance. The black and white parts represent feminine and masculine energies. In this theory it is believed that one cannot exist without the other. The two dots in this symbol signify opposites; none being stronger than the other, in other words, to be equal. Night and day, summer and winter, life and death are all phenomena that point to nature. Yin is related to femininity, the moon, cold temperatures, darkness and the Earth while Yang is related to masculinity, the sun, warm temperatures, brightness, creation and the sky in the constant order of nature (Toropov & Hansen p.60). The Daode Jing, which is known to be their guide or manual, makes several references to nature and harmony. “Humanity follows the earth. Earth follows nature. Nature follows the Tao. Tao follows what is so.” (Daode Jing, chapter 25 Hansen Translation). This excerpt is a clear example of its constant order of nature and nature’s relation to the Daode Jing. The Daode Jing uses images such as water, women and children, valleys and darkness. All of these objects hold a symbolic meaning. Taoism beliefs are closely linked with nature. The concept of ying yang and the Daode Jing both indicate that nature plays a major part in...
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