What Is Taoism?

In Taoism, the concept of Xuan refers to the mental universe. Taoism believes that the Xuan is the first cause of the universe, the spiritual body of the material. The main belief and doctrine of Taoism are that Tao is the origin and law of all things in the universe. Taoism endorses the art of Wu Wei (Qing Jiang) as the philosophy of religion and its fundamental attitude towards social policy. It believes in giving society its natural course and in managing itself as a country.

Taoism is an ancient Chinese tradition, philosophy, and religious belief that is sometimes called Taoism, but this is the most accurate way to pronounce the Chinese word in English. The term “Tao” means “way,” or “principle”. Taoism is an ancient tradition rooted in Chinese customs and beliefs. It is the philosophy responsible for acupuncture, Feng Shui, popular Yin and Yang symbols of Zen, and martial art Tai Chi. Taoism (or Daoism) owes its name to the idea of Dao, which means the path of reality beyond human perception, a reality that Taoists associate with the natural world.

Although Taoism does not fall under the umbrella definition of a single organized religion such as Abrahamic traditions, it is often studied as a mere variant of the Chinese folk religion, and although the two have similar concepts, much of popular religion is separate from the principles and core teachings of Taoism. This has led some to debate whether Taoism should be considered as a philosophy or religion, but in the context of Chinese culture, this argument makes no sense. The philosopher Chung Ying-cheng sees Taoism as a religion embedded in Chinese history and tradition.

Like Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism, they fall into a pattern of thought and organization, but in the sense of religiosity, they take the form of philosophy and practical wisdom. Since the Chinese language has no concept to define lay people who adhere to the teachings and practices of religion, it falls within the realm of popular religion. Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism are the three predominant religions of the Chinese people. They all have a long and colorful history and have at some time been referred to as a philosophy, religion, or both.

Cosmological ideas and teachings from the school of Yin and Yang, an influence informed and acknowledged in the oldest text of the ancient Chinese classics, the I Ching, a system of philosophical thought and ethics for human behavior based on the articulation of the cycle of change in the natural and social worlds through hexagrams and instructions for divination practices that are still followed by modern religious Taoists. Taoism is in the unique position of being a philosophy that is able to adopt religious aspects from folkloric Chinese customs that satisfy followers and future followers alike.

Taoism (also known as Daoism) is a Chinese philosophy attributed to Lao Tzu (ca. 500 BC), which developed as a popular religion among people in rural areas of China and eventually became the official religion of the country during the Tang Dynasty. Like Daos, Taoism refers to the deviation from Confucian thought, which despises rigid rituals and social strata. Taoism or Daos is a philosophical, ethical, and religious tradition of Chinese origin and belief, whose Chinese example emphasizes living in harmony (tao, romanized as dao).

Taoism exerted great influence during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), when Emperor Xuanzong, who ruled from 712 to 756 AD, decreed Taoism to be the state religion and ordered people to keep Taoist scriptures to themselves. However, Taoism fell out of favor under the Tang Dynasty and refused to be replaced by Confucianism and Buddhism, although it is still practiced in China and other countries today. Taoism is an indigenous religious-philosophical tradition that has shaped Chinese life for more than 2000 years. Historian Sima Qian (145-86 BC) tells the story of Lao Tzu, curator of the Royal State Library, and Chu, a natural philosopher. As a philosophy, Taoism arose from the religion of the peasant class during the Shang Dynasty, which lived in nature.

Taoism is characterized by a positive and active attitude toward occult and metaphysical theories about the nature of reality and by an agnostic and pragmatic Confucian tradition that only considers it marginal to the reality of such issues, which most Confucians do not deny. In the broadest sense, the Taoist attitude to life is seen as acceptance and acquiescence to the cheerful and light-hearted side of the Chinese character, an attitude that balances and complements the moral, dutiful, austere, and purposeful character attributed to Confucianism.

Taoism was influenced by popular and national beliefs. Taoism says that man and animal live in equilibrium in the Tao universe. Taoists believe in spiritual immortality, in which spirits and bodies join the universe after death. Pure Taoism does not dwell in or know almighty God, nature, or spirit; it deals with nothingness, unity, experience, and unity (chi). Religious Taoism consists of the various rituals and spiritual practices of Taoists and Taoist monks, while philosophical Taoism consists of the most important philosophical works written over the years by the most influential Taoists and the corpus of ideas developed by them.

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