In our exploring religions segment today, we are going to look at the eastern philosophy of Taoism.
Quick Facts About Taoism.
Some facts concerning Taoism:
- Taoism is also written in English as Daoism. “Daoism” is closer to the correct pronunciation of Taoism, as the “T” does not sound as a “T” in English, but rather a “D.”
- Taoism is about the Tao or “The Way.”
- Taoism originated in China 2000 years ago.
- Lao Tzu is attributed with the founding of Taoism and is reportedly the author of the texts of Taoism titled, The Tao Te Ching.
- The Tao is not God and it is not worshiped as God.
- There are many deities worshiped in Taoists temples.
What Does Taoism Promote?
Taoism promotes the idea of balance. The yin yang sign that is common place today for various reasons, has its roots in Taoism.
People are urged to live with detachment from this world and to live calmly within it.
The yin yang symbolizes light and dark in harmony and in unity. This is the very ideal of self in the Taoist belief through the encouragement of harmony with self and nature.
Self development and being virtuous are promoted within Taoism.
Taoism also encourages the pursuit of spiritual immortality.
There is not necessarily any ritualistic practices among the Taoishi (Taoists priests).
Tai Chi is one practice of Taoism. A martial art that is characterized by slow and steady movements, Tai Chi keeps with the yin yang of Taoism through its movements and focus of practitioners.
However, some other things are practiced commonly in Taoism.
- feng shui
- chanting of scriptures
Many of the rites and rituals of Taoism are highly complex and are usually left to priests to perform with practitioners in the congregation to do little more than observe.
Before the rise of Communist China, Taoism was the strongest religion in China.
But, with the rise of the Communists in China, there came persecution for the Taoists because their religion (or philosophy) was non Communist and the movement at the time of the Communists was to eradicate any non-Communists religions.
Taoism focuses primarily upon bringing harmony, peace, and balance to the many layers of the cosmos.
The cosmos include the world, the universe as a whole, nature, society, and even self in Taoist beliefs.
One of the major rituals of Taoism is the chiao.
It is a ritual to renew the cosmos, and it is several rites.