Taoism is an ancient tradition of philosophy and religious
belief that is deeply rooted in Chinese customs and worldview,
originated in China 2000 years ago.
It is a religion of unity and opposites; Yin and Yang. The
principle of Yin Yang sees the world as filled with complementary
forces action and non-action, light and dark, hot and cold, and so
Origin of Taoism
Taoism is the first religion originated from China.
Taoism has no founder and no founding date. It grew out of
various religious and philosophical traditions in ancient China,
including shamanism and nature religion.
Early religious Taoism was rooted in the ideas of the Taoist
thinkers, to which were added local religious rituals and beliefs,
both to provide examples of Taoist philosophy, and integrate Taoism
into the existing world views of all levels of the Chinese
Taoism was first recognised as a religious system during the
4th and 3rd centuries BCE. The publication of the Tao Te Ching and
other works provided a focus for Taoist thinking.
Taoism = Philosophy + Local beliefs (Culture)
Philosophy of Tao
The Tao is the ultimate creative principle of the universe. All
things are unified and connected in the Tao.
It is also regarded as the way of nature.
The way of nature includes: Wu Wei living by or going along
with the true nature of the world - or at least without obstructing
the Tao - letting things take their natural course Wu Ji lives of
balance and harmony, this doesn't stop a person living a proactive
life but their activities should fit into the natural pattern of
Things related to Tao
Feng Shui Jin Dan Ba Gua Fortune telling Tai Chi
achieving harmony or union with nature selfdevelopme nt TAO
being 'virtuous' the pursuit of spiritual immortality
Taoism's rich palette of liturgy and ritual makes the Tao more
real to human beings and provides a way in which humanity can align
itself more closely to the Tao to produce better lives for
Some followers believe that the ways of Tao can lead them to
immortality and eternity. Their main objective is to gain
immortality so that they can achieve eternity, like goddesses.
What do Taoists do?
Honor Heavens and Gods Worship and respect their ancestors
Practice monastery Refining of inner self Practice Taoist rituals
Save people Benefit others
In practice Taoism recommends the same sorts of moral behaviour
to its followers as other religions. It disapproves of killing,
stealing, lying and promiscuity, and promotes altruistic, helpful
and kindly behaviour.
Cultivate the Tao within oneself; and one's virtue will be
perfected. Cultivate it within the household, and one's virtue will
be abundant. Cultivate it within the neighbourhood, and one's
virtue will be enduring. Cultivate it within the nation, and one's
virtue will be overflowing. Cultivate it within the entire world,
and one's virtue will be universal. Tao Te Ching 54
**Philosophically, the virtues of Tao can benefit the
Taoists practice good virtues so that They can become immortal
and godly They can avoid punishments from gods of hell **These two
conventional objectives have made Taoism highly popular in
The Concept of Hell
Ancient Taoism had no concept of Hell, as Morality was seen to
be a man-made distinction and there was no concept of an immaterial
soul. In its home country China, where Taoism adopted tenets of
other religions, popular belief endows Taoist Hell with many
deities and spirits who punish sin in a variety of horrible ways.
This is also considered Karma for Taoism. Incorporating ideas from
Taoism and Buddhism as well as traditional Chinese folk religion,
Diyu is a kind of purgatory place which serves not only to punish
but also to renew spirits ready for their next incarnation.
Taoism sees hell as a kind of boot-camp where most people would
go through in the almost eternal cycle of birth, life, death and
reincarnation. The good guys would pass through the 10 courts of
hell and its 18 levels with little or no suffering while the
evildoers would get their due, such as being burned by fire, boiled
in hot water, tongues cut, etc images of these processes are duly
represented in the many paintings hung in the shrine of hell. In
addition, the God of Hell, in Taoism, is not evil Satan, but a mere
administrator who have to perform the task of reforming the
What happens when Taoists sin? Have a peek at Chinas Taoist
Temple- Cheng Huang Miao
The Tao Culture
Taoism is considered as animism. Lets wiki animism: Animism
encompasses the beliefs that there is no separation between the
spiritual and physical (or material) world, and souls or spirits
exist, not only in humans, but also animals, plants, rocks,
geographic features such as mountains or rivers, or other entities
of the natural environment, including thunder, wind, and shadows.
Animism may further attribute souls to abstract concepts such as
words, true names, or metaphors in mythology.
The Gods of Tao
Taoism includes many deities, that are worshipped in Taoist
temples, they are part of the universe and depend, like everything,
on the Tao.
The Three Purities
Jade Emperor Yu Huang Da Di
The Eight Immortals
Goddess of the Gates Men shen
Goddess of Justice Guan Di
The Three Star-gods of Happiness, Rank and Affluence, and
Taoism's Nine Cardinal Principles
Taoism is comprised of several texts, including the Tao Te
Ching, Chuang Tzu, the Book of Lieh-Tzu, the Canon of Reason and
Virtue and additional Taoist texts. The most central and well known
book of Taoism is the Tao Te Ching.
9 Principles: 1. The Goal is Contentment 2. Oneness A Holistic
View 3. Manifestations of the Tao 4. Nature is Unkind 5. Society
versus the Individual 6. Humanity and Justice are Artificial Values
7. Non-interference 8. Camouflage 9. Desires and Limitations
1. The Goal is Contentment Lao Tzu defined contentment as the
only measure by which we should gauge personal success and how to
use it as a filter through which society's values should be passed.
By adhering to this strict test, dysfunctional impulses, like fame
and fortune, can be warded off. Finally, the religious aspects of
Taoism teach us that a content physical existence will best prepare
the soul for that time when the body is cast off. Whether physical,
mental, or metaphysical, contentment is the ultimate goal.
2. Oneness A Holistic View Taoism is a philosophical and
religious system built on a holistic view of reality. It unifies
all existence with principles that cut across both the seen and
unseen dimensions. Its famous yin/yang symbol represents universal
oneness with black and white colors rotating in a circle. This
iconic image represents the duality of all phenomena whether summer
and winter, male and female, or life and death as opposing
manifestations of the same principle and not to be viewed as
3. Manifestations of the Tao Taoism acknowledges man's inherent
intellectual limitations and consequently avoids concepts that
cannot be tested and verified by practical application reason alone
is not to be trusted. This prerequisite requires the Taoist to
learn by observing concrete manifestations ("teh") of larger
universal forces and not rely upon speculation alone. In this
regard, Nature serves as the uncorrupted manifestation of the
Heavens and the model from which a Taoist should take his
4. Nature is Unkind Despite pastoral representations that the
natural world is an environment of polite coexistence, observed
reality exhibits a harsher truth typified by the strong preying on
the weak in the ever-present food chain. Apparently there is little
mercy in the natural world as all effort is devoted towards
survival. Therefore, Lao Tzu insists "the Sage is unkind," urging
the Taoist to avoid the Siren call of Universal Love and instead
embrace a mindset of harsh indifference towards all but a few loved
ones. Enlightened self-interest would be the best way to describe
this principle to modern sensibilities.
5. Society versus the Individual Taoism is a philosophy for the
Individual. It regards Society as including confused people who
voluntarily submit to beguiling social conventions. Lao Tzu
cautions that social conventions may include virtues and behaviors
which benefit society at the expense of the individual; i.e.
sacrificing personal contentment for the good of anonymous others.
Thus the Taoist separates ineffective virtues from effective ones
by understanding that there are helpful individual values and
potentially unhelpful social values.
6. Humanity and Justice are Artificial Values With the duality
of Society versus the Individual clearly described, Lao Tzu goes
further by unambiguously identifying the source of detrimental
social values. He writes that "humanity and justice" are virtues
that may be beguiling, but are in fact harmful to individual
contentment. This is a hard concept for many to accept: How could
humanity and justice be bad? The answer lies in recognizing that
society largely promulgates artificial and not natural notions of
virtues. "Humanity" is really artificial love and "Justice" is
actually artificial punishment.
7. Non-interference The Taoist acknowledges his inherent
limitations and how much effort it takes to develop one's mind,
body and spirit. As such, Lao Tzu's philosophy recommends
dedicating all of one's energy towards achieving personal
contentment and not waste precious time interfering with others.
This means not trying to change things that do not bring tangible
personal benefits. For example, Taoists remain uninvolved in
politics because attempting to improve society wastes focus, time
and energy with little personal gain. But there is a deeper
implication too: Taoists let things achieve harmony on their own,
according to their natural traits.
8. Camouflage Recognizing that the Individual may hold
different values from members of Society has important consequences
for appropriate behavior. Since the values of a Taoist feature
natural self-interest, they can appear superficially selfish and
possibly earn resentment from one's surrounding community. To deal
with this undesired animosity, Lao Tzu maintains that one needs to
disguise such beliefs using a strategy of camouflage. Thus, Lao Tzu
has been called the "First Philosopher of Camouflage."
9. Desires and Limitations One of its most prescient warnings
in the Tao Te Ching is to avoid the popular notion that "the sky's
the limit." This myth causes people to jeopardize themselves with
plans motivated by unchecked desires and unrealistic expectations.
Thus our inherent desires, including pride, make contentment
unachievable without practical tests to remind us of our
limitations. This ensures that our mental model of the world is
firmly grounded in reality, arresting tendencies to chase chimeras
and remain in a content state of what is attainable.