Good and Evil are the balancing forces of nature that work opposite to one another. Good things help to grow and become better while bad things break you into pieces and lead you towards death.
Taoism beliefs on Good and Evil are that good flows with the way of Tao and empowers us to grow while evil is something that acts as a resistance to the growth. Evil damages the flow from the Tao. The way to overcome evil is to follow Tao, to realize wu-wei in life.
Taoism Beliefs on Good and Evil
Taoism beliefs on good and evil must be understood precisely and correctly before coming to any conclusions as the topic is very subjective and varies from person to person based on their imaginations and experiences.
Just like the word “Tao” might mean different to different folks based on the direction in which their minds are headed. However, in reality, Tao just teaches one thing that is to go with the flow and maintain the balance of nature by living in harmony with it.
Taoism beliefs on good and bad is that good is anything that flows with the way of the Tao, i.e. the Yuen Sun’s flow to your body leading you towards positive things that empower you. Evil, on the other hand, is anything that stops you from doing good. It damages or interferes with your flow from the Tao.
Thus, things that stop you from gaining strength and power (delivery of Yuen Sun’s power) to your body, is the true evil. These bad things break into pieces and lead you towards death. If you are a Taoist, then you should be in a pedigree that you have destined to.
Each Taoist has their own Yuen Sun assigned which acts as the Tao of your life. This is supported by the lineage of the Tao that ultimately leads them towards their destiny. This is the true power that brings actual sense to the life of a Tao.
A Sifu is a person who gives birth to your Taoist life and then teaches you the actual path of Taoism. Therefore, the sifu in the lineage is also your Tao, so anything that goes against their teachings will also be considered evil.
Example: If you are from lineage A that has its Tao in the X direction and then suddenly you started to get into lineage B whose Tao goes into Y direction then you will be doing evil because you have chosen to against your Tao.
Thus, the Taoism beliefs on good and evil demand you go in just one flow rather than flowing everywhere because that would ultimately lead to chaos and confusion.
Anything that does harm or gives fight to your Yuen Sun, ending it from giving you the pre-heaven vims and assets, is also evil.
Read: Taoism Beliefs in God and Spirits
The Interdependence of all Dualities – Good and Evil
Taoism beliefs on good and evil are highly dependent on the perceived vs actual truth. In reality, they don’t hold any definite position against good or evil; rather they believe in the interdependence of the 2 realities.
So both are a by-product of each other, as when one commits a good then the other automatically commits an evil. Thus, one must understand that all the actions contain some aspects of both good and evil. This is symbolized in the t’ai chi, more commonly referred to as the yin-yang symbol.
All the actions have some good (yang) and some evil (yin) aspect to them which needs to be balanced as per Tao. They believe that nature is responsible to maintain the balance between the Yang-Yin and thus, one without the other would be inefficient or ineffective.
They believe that egoistic people will never be able to maintain the true balance of good and evil and it is, therefore, the non-egoistic disciples that truly unfold the true spiritual wisdom from nature.
Another popular Taoism belief on good and evil is that a sage is well aware of all the true realities of good and bad. On the other hand, a foolish person concentrates on good or evil while the sage is well-aware of the fact that one will soon be replaced by the other to maintain the balance.
Analogous to the Buddhist idea of Sunyata (“the void”), good and evil are just empty abstract ideas that have no lasting free reality.
Read: Taoism Beliefs on Abortion
What is Evil in Taoism?
Taoism beliefs on good and evil are based on the teachings of Tao. A Tao is a leading force that guides a disciple towards the true meaning of life, helping them to live in peace and harmony.
In the ancient Taoist traditions, especially in Tao te Ching, evil is classified into 2 broad categories namely;
- Casual Evil
- Consequential Evil
Those evils that are said to be caused due to some other evil fall into the category of casual evil while those evils are believed to be the consequence of casual evils. Those who do casual evil i.e. the evil that originated from human will, lead ultimately to suffering.
Thus, if one wishes to overcome the evil then they must follow Tao, to understand the meaning of wu-wei in life.
Read: Taoism Beliefs on Marriage Rituals
Is Consequential Evil Bad?
Taoism beliefs on good and evil might vary but it believes that evil is not always bad. Let us understand consequential evil with the help of an example of exorcism. If a priest is performing an exorcism, then they are practising evil magic to destroy the power of the evil spirit.
Once the spirit has taken control over the body of the person, then it possesses the power to make all the decisions and it has already become the “Tao” of the body. But to save the person from evil, we need to go against it. Therefore, consequential evil is not always bad.
Thus, one must train others that in the real world, Taoism beliefs on good and bad is dependent on the true purpose of the cause and not just on the theoretical philosophies, as it is the way of life.
Example: A kid has got into a bad company and has started doing all the wrong things, then we can conclude that his Tao is already going in the wrong flow. Thus, the right approach, in this case, would be to make him sit with us and make him understand the true meaning of Tao.
As it teaches us that one must always live with peace and maintain harmony with nature, thereby balancing the cosmos. Thus, evil can be sometimes an extremely useful practice too as it could save someone’s entire life from getting destroyed.
Read: Taoism Beliefs on Education and Teaching
Taoism Beliefs on Evil or Bad
Taoism beliefs on good and bad are that one must understand the situation first before deciding if something is good or bad. For example: if someone is trying to protect themselves from a killer and in the self-defence, the killer gets killed then what would you call it, good or bad?
The word Evil or Bad is completely subjective, as we must know the complete situation before coming to any conclusions and apply patterns to things and understand their true meaning.
Few examples of evil are;
- Casual evil caused by one’s own will and determination.
- Going against the beliefs of your sifu.
- Doing black magic or any kind of luck stealing magic to negatively harm others.
- Performing sorcery that harms your Yuen Sun is potentially evil.
Read: Taoism Beliefs on Death and Afterlife
Taoism beliefs on good and evil are that both are absolute terms, and one must first gain an understanding of the entire situation before coming to any decisions. This can be properly done by an in-depth understanding of Tao and its teachings.
Good for someone might be evil for others while Evil for someone might prove to be good ultimately for the greater good. Thus, one must take a complete understanding of the scenario and consider additional factors like choices, destiny and the impact of taking sudden decisions.
Thus, one can truly become the master of their destiny by knowing what they want and following the Tao.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What is a good person according to Taoism?
The Taoist idea about a good person is someone who takes all the necessary actions to change and thus become a great example for others to follow. They should develop themselves so that they could live with harmony and peace in one another. So the philosophy is not to do good things, but to become a good person.
Does Taoism have a God?
Taoism does not have a God in the way that the Abrahamic religions do. There is no omnipotent being beyond the cosmos, who created and controls the universe. Nonetheless, Taoism has many gods, most of them borrowed from other cultures. These deities are within this universe and are themselves subject to the Tao.
Does Taoism believe in heaven?
There is significant scholarly debate about the Taoist understanding of death. The process of death itself is described as shijie or “release from the corpse”, but what happens after is described variously as transformation, immortality or ascension to heaven.