Daoism is a life philosophy that concerns living in line with the rules and patterns of nature. It is ecocentric instead of anthropocentric. In other words, Daoism sees the universe as an organic whole in which there is an intrinsic interconnectedness between the natural world (including animals) and human beings. The two values emphasized by Daoism are health and freedom, both of which are linked to the Daoist conception of nature and naturalness. The Daoist idea of naturalness (ziran) is based on the cosmological view that all things come from the Dao and that all things transform according to its pattern.
This essay examines the Daoist ethics of “natural life” and how it is understood within the bigger picture of an ecosystem shared by all living things. The author contends that the principle of health—the physical and spiritual well-being of a person—and the principle of human freedom should be associated with the ecological concerns of today.