Eastern Virtue

There is Virtue in Balance

Lesson Objectives

• Appreciate the moral teachings of Laozi and Daoism

• Appreciate the moral teachings of the Buddha and Buddhism

• Appreciate the moral teachings of Confucius and Confucianism

• Prepare for the Midterm Exam!

Key Terms

Wu Wei


Buddhist Moral Conduct



Note: Chinese transliteration

In accordance with the the U.N., the National Library of Congress, and the American Academy of Religion's best practices, this course uses the pinyin method (Dao, Laozi, Qi) rather than the archaic Wade-Giles method

(Tao, Lao Tzu, Ch'i) for transliterating Chinese (eg. 道, 老子, 氣).

Daoism: Go with the Flow

I know right from wrong by seeking balance, following the flow of the Dao.

The Dao | The Way

• The Dao is the ancient Chinese superstructure of the cosmos

     • This compares well with the Mexican concept of Teotl

     • Two opposing but equal forces (yin + yang) act against each other

     • When this dynamic action is in harmony, goodness is the result

• Respect the natural balance and order of the world

     • This compares well with St. Aquinas' Natural Law Theory

• Live in harmony with the environment

     • We will delve into this topic a bit more in Environmental Ethics

Wu Wei | Action without Contrivance

• Wu Wei means to act without intention

     • let go of plans and act without ego

     • Be "in the zone" (eg. athletes, musicians)

• Wu Wei requires one to 'tap into' the Dao — let it (nature?) happen

     • Have hope, but expect that anything can happen

     • Let go of expectations (we're just here to have fun!)

     • Work around obstacles, rather than defeating or ignoring them

• Egoless Action

     • Remove yourself from the equation as best as you can

     • The less ego you bring, the more fluid your momentum will be

     • Move like water. It is more powerful than the stone.

Daoist Virtues

• Like the Swedes, aim for a simple lifestyle of humility and modesty

• Let your choices be driven by compassion, kindness, and empathy

• Live in harmony with nature and the environment