- Origins: Taoism, also known as Daoism, is an indigenous religion which found its inception in China. It is associated with the Daode jing which is a political and philosophical text written by Laozi around 3rd-4th century B.C. It came into existence as an organized religion after the Way of the Celestial Masters sect was founded by Daoling. This sect and others engaged in ritual practices. Taoism propagates a harmony among nature, humanity and the divine.
- Deity: A vast pantheon of gods and goddesses are recognized, although Taoism does not acknowledge that any deity that are eternal or paramount. All gods are actually divine emissions of the celestial energy of the universe.
- Headquarters: There is no centralized authority and there are many sects of Taoism. The White Cloud Temple in Beijing is however considered to be an important center for administration and for the training of the Taoist priests.
Taoism is a practice for one’s entire life. It teaches an individual to pace the process of exploration, wandering to tread the path of human life. Words are simply signs which point toward the non-conceptual reality. One needs to aim at comprehending this ultimate reality in life. Innumerable people practice Taoism in various forms outside China, especially in Korea and Vietnam.
Chinese thought has been aware of the intertwined relationship of man with the nature and the universe. Also, the idea of heaven, cyclic view of universe and time, divinity of the sovereign and respect for ancestors have been prevalent in the Chinese society and philosophy.
Taoism has it’s the individual and spirituality as its focus and aims at attaining immortality through longevity of life or eternal life or attainment of superhuman physical abilities.
Taoist practices include quite a lot of things which aid in the attainment of the goal of life.
- TAOISM FOCUSES ATTENTION ON THE HUMAN BODY THROUGH THE DIET, MINDFULNESS AND EXERCISES.
- CH’I OR THE BREATH HAS TO BE REGULATED TO MAKE ITS POWER GET CIRCULATED TO ALL BODY PARTS.
- THE SEXUAL ENERGY HAS TO BE HARNESSED BY RETAINING THE SEMEN AND UTILIZING THE POWER IN THE BODY
- THE ALCHEMY HAS BE TO EXPLORED FOR FINDING THE ELIXIR OF IMMORTALITY
- ONE NEEDS TO BEHAVE IN THE MORAL WAY BEING HARMONIOUS WITH TAO
- THE ISLES OF THE BLESSED HAS TO BE SEARCHED AND THE IMMORTALS WHO LIVE THERE NEED TO BE PERSUADED TO LET US KNOW THE SECRETS
Taoism believes that the ideal person is the hermit who comprehends human life and lives in accordance with Taoist notions. The best way to live in this world is by being in harmony with the natural course of everything present in the temporal realm. A true Taoist would not struggle or oppose he opposites as it is known that all opposites are interdependent and relative.
Tao is taken to be the ultimate reality or mysterious Way which is the natural order of the universe. However, the sages have opined that nothing can be defined about Tao.
IMPORTANT FIGURE AND INFLUENCES
Chuang Tzu (3rd century BC) is another leading figure in Taoism and has a book which is attributed to him. The book is known as Chuang-Tzu. TAOISM has influenced martial arts, acupunctures, FengShui, Tai Chi, holistic medicine, herbalism and meditation.