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Benjamin, Pat,
Taoism is one of Chinas major
religions indigenous to the country.
The primary belief is in learning and
practicing The Way (Dao) which is
the ultimate truth to the universe.
The religion was founded by Laozi.
The Yin-Yang symbol exemplifies that
there is no total good and evil or
negative and positive. The black
represents the Yin. The white
represents the Yang. Yin is also
associated with weakness and passivity
and Yang with strength and activity.
The symbol shows that within the Yang
there exists the Yin and vice versa. All
nature is the balance between the two.
How was the religion originally
2nd Century - 1100 AD
In the 2nd Century, the
Shangqing school of
Taoism emerged that
focused on meditation,
breathing and recitation
of verses
5th Century
The Lingbao school emerged
which borrowed much from
Buddhist teachings such as
reincarnation and cosmology.
6th Century
Zhengyi Taoists, who believed
in protective talismans and
rituals, emerged. Zhengyi
Taoists performed offering
rituals for showing thanks
and the retreat ritual that
includes repentance
recitations and abstinence.
Around 1254
Taoist priest Wang Chongyang developed the
Quanzhen school of Taoism. This school of thought
used meditation and breathing to promote longevity,
many are also vegetarian. The Quanzhen school also
further combines the three main Chinese teachings of
Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.
Late Song Dynasty (960-1279)
Due to the influence of this school, by the
late Song Dynasty many of the lines
between Taoism and other religions were
blurred. The Quanzhen school is also still
prominent today.
The key book of Taoism was
compiled around the 3rd
century BCE. It's called the
Tao Te Ching - The Way and
Its Power. Taoists regard
the Tao Te Ching as the
essential guide to living a
full spiritual and ethical life.
Some of the key beliefs that can be traced to
original scriptures and texts at the religions
The key belief of Taoism was life of harmony and
balance. Taoists believed in going with the flow of life
and fitting into the natural pattern of the universe.
This can be related to what the Tao Te Ching says :
The world is a spiritual vessel, and one cannot act upon it; one
who acts upon it destroys it.
The Turning Point of Taosim
The turning point of the religion was the usage of
buddhist teaching within the religion. This made
Taoism include some of the Buddhist way of thinking.
The Consequences
Taoism and Buddhism became similar in some ways.
Taoists created Buddhist-like monasteries and
adopted Buddhism's burning of incense. Books by
Taoists revealed a Buddhist influence.
How does the religion stand now?
Today, Taoism is mainly practiced in China and Taiwan, it
has also been spread throughout other parts of Asia and
throughout the world. There are about 20 million
followers worldwide. 30,000 of the followers are North
Americans. The Chinese government has tried to suppress
Taoism but its teachings and practices still thrive and
remain strong. Most followers practice Taoism in
conjunction with Confucianism, Buddhism, and other
religions. Also, most Chinese practice is a mix of
Confucianism and Taoism.
Longevity and immortality were sought through regulating the
energies of the body through breathing exercises, meditation,
and use of medicinal plants, talismans, and magical formulas.
Influenced by Buddhism. Taoists organized monastic orders.
Temple worship and forms of divination, including the I ching,
were practiced. talismans

Current Beliefs
Taoism's central value is naturalness, which one
achieves by freeing themselves from desire and
selfish thoughts and behaviors and embracing
simplicity in life.

Violence is considered to be a last resort in Taoism.

Taoists dont fear death. They believe death is

simply transformation from being to non being.

Taoists worships deities such as Yu-huang,

San-yuan, etc.
The highest achievement of a Taoist is to reach
immortality through meditation and deep breathing.

Taoists believe all human beings are naturally good but are corrupted by
law and an incorrect belief in how they are supposed to behave in

Taoists believe in the idea of Wu wei which means doing by not doing.
It means to just go with the flow and good things will come
A Chinese Taoist temple, generally called Gong, Guan
or Miao in Chinese, is the holy hall where Taoists
perform their religious ceremonies.