Taoism (Daoism)

Asu Dhakal-Ajay Prabhu-Annabelle Kim

Origins of Taoism


Taoism originated in China. There is not exact date that the religion was founded, but some say it was founded during the 6th century.

Basic Religious Belief

Taoists' main purpose is to seek dao which is the way or path.


Taoism is an ethnic religion because the religion is not widespread throughout the world and only appeals to a specific group of people.

Divisions of Taoism

Toaism is divided into 2 branches, which are Quanzhen and Zhengy. Quanzhen means all purity and those who are followers of this branch cannot eat meat or get married. In addition, they live in gongs, which are. The other branch is Zhengy which means orthodoxy. Those who follow this branch live at home and are always married.

Geographic Distribution of Taoism

Diffusion of Taoism

Taoism never diffused out of China, but had widespread diffusion through China. It diffused through contagious diffusion because the religion is very popular in only an area in China. Taoism did not diffused out of China because the Taoists believed that people should come to them if they wanted to convert. This mind set was the reason why there are no Taoist missionaries.

Holy Places and Holidays

Tai Shan, Heng Shan Bei, Hua Shan, Heng Shan, and Song Shan are the holy mountains of Taoism. Each mountain is located towards a specific compass direction. The Taoists believe strongly in the holiness of these Chinese mountains. The most sacred mountain is Tai Shan, the eastern mountain. It is associated with the rising sun which makes it the most important of the five mountains.

Taoism has many holidays that are spread throughout the year. Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Ghost Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, and Double Ninth Day are all Taoism holidays. Some holidays, such as Chinese New Year, do not only apply to follows of Taoism but also to followers of other religions as well.

Where is Taosim Practiced Today?

The 2,700,00 followers are now distributed throughout China and the Chinese diaspora.

Unique Features of Taoism

Key Figures

Some of the most important figures in Taoism are Lao Tse (Tze), Chuang Tzu, Hsien, Immortal Lu Dong Bin, the Jade Emperor, the Three Purities, and the also-Buddhist Kuan Yin.

The picture below is a portrait of Lao Tse, the founded of Taoism.

Places of Worships

Taoist temples of different scales are scattered all over China. Generally, they can be divided into three kinds: palace-like temples, ordinary temples and simple hut or caves. Though of various sizes, they are built to serve the same function.One of the famous temples is the Gong Chinese temple.

According to legend, Qing Yang Gong was said to be the birth place of the founder of Taoism, Lao Tsu, and is where he made the first sermon about Taoism. Ever since Taoism was established, this temple was said to be holy place for immortals to get together. According to recorded history, this temple was visited by two emperors of the Tang Dynasty. The temple was named by one of these two emperors. Because of this, Qing Yang Gong is regarded as a cultural and historical site of great importance in Chengdu.

Holy Texts

Taoism has no specific scripture, however there are several books which are considered to be the main sources of this faith. The first is the Tao te Ching (or Dao de Jing), which is a collection of poems and stories which were written by the Chinese philosopher Lao Tze. This book of poetry and philosophy explains the Way of the Tao. The book itself is sometimes also called Lao Tze.

The second most important work is the Chuang Tzu or Zhuang Zi, written by the man of the same name.

The final main text is the Lie Zi, which was named after the man who was believed to have written it.

In the video below, the speakers mention the Tao te Ching and how in this very holy text, it is said that people should find their own path and find their own bliss. It also mentions that people should be one with nature. These two concepts appeal to people who are so trapped with their work or something that does not give them joy,

World Religions: Taoism (Daoism)

Religious Symbols

Yin Yang, the dark black part of it represents Earth, darkness, cold, female, depth, passivity, and death and the white light part of it represents Heaven, light, male, heat, height, activity, and life. Another significant symbol is the eight trigrams, also known as "bagua".

Impact on Social and Family Structures

Taoists all believe in finding bliss and happiness in themselves. They believe that being at peace with each other is also very important. Due to that, Taoists have very peaceful relationships with their family, with no ultimate power over the other. Respect and obedience is also very important in Taoist families.

These two men are members of the Quanzhen branch. These people are only surrounded by men because this branch of Taoism does not permit marriage.

Impact on Cultural Beliefs and Expectations

Taoists believe very much in how people have two different sides to them. This is what is represented in the Yin Yang. Because of this belief, Taoists are very understanding. Each person must nurture the Ch'i (air, breath) that has been given to them. Development of virtue is one's chief task. The Three Jewels to be sought are compassion, moderation and humility.

The picture below shows how the Yin Yang symbol affects Taoists and how the Taoists incorporate this sign with their everyday life on Earth.

Essential Question

How does Taoism beliefs differ from other ethnic religions' beliefs?