Tai Chi Philosophy

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Nazarbayev University Title: The Interaction of Daoism and Confucianism with Tai Chi Philosophy REL 213 Chinese Religious Traditions 10.30.2014 Zhanna Kurmangaziyeva Chinese religions are very diverse implementing their philosophy to people’s lives. Religious influence is evident from studying Chinese leisure and activities, such as Tai Chi Chuan. (Wang and Stringer 2000, 33-41). Traditional and religious context directly affected the perception of martial arts and Tai Chi exercises giving rise to borrowed terminology from spiritual texts. Three main spiritual philosophies affected Tai Chi development are Confucianism, Yin and Yang, and Daoism. The main concept of Tai Chi Chuan is thought and mind interconnectedness, which was complemented…show more content…
There are different theories of its origin; however, most supported one is transformation of Confucian traditional rites to fit Daoist philosophy. Spread of Tai Chi occurred with appearance of Daoist popular practices and its diffusion to Chinese culture (Poceski 2009). Tai Chi Chuan also was affected by Buddhist practices especially by Chan School and was transforming over time. For instance, meditation practices in Chan School involved techniques with beating, shouting, and verbal ramblings to achieve spiritual enlightenment. In spite of Daoist and Chan School popularity, Chinese did not acquire Tai Chi Chuan with Buddhist meditation practices directly it adapted to traditions already existing in China. Ultimately religious context shaped Tai Chi Chuan philosophy and exercises fitting…show more content…
First, Daoism with spiritual basis is fundamental in transformational philosophy of Tai Chi. Second, Confucianism with educational and spiritual emphasis on respect and benevolence. The major religious contribution to Tai Chi, however, was primary Yin and Yang philosophy. Underlying concepts of Tai Chi Chuan is an idea that learning to move slow will help to move fast, training soft martial arts will teach hard parts of our body. The trainings were assumed that external trainings inevitably will lead to internal ones to reach self- cultivation. The reasons came from religious backgrounds and are all important as they were part of Tai Chi depending on time frame period. Although Daoism and Buddhism are probably initiators of the Tai Chi exercises Confucianism was always present in the Chinese cultures. Even during Tang dynasty (618- 907 CE) when Daoist and Buddhist, such as Chan School teachings were popular and widespread Yin and Yang philosophy with Confucianism were dominant. Nowadays Tai Chi Teachings are vague having terminology corresponding to translations, but meanings sometimes are not conserved and vary. The example of misinterpretation is goal of Tai Chi Chuan philosophy, in Daoist interpretation it is achieving Dao and immortality, while Confucian with Yin and Yang philosophy is to be in harmony with nature and act with benevolence. Enlightenment is another termini misinterpreted and translated

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