Taoism

Presentation by: Helen, Adreesh, Sonia

Origins of the Religion

Taoist ideas and early writing were found as early as (550 B.C.E.) is generally the time period when a variety of spiritual thinkers were putting their ideas into writing. There was early teachings found in the Warring period in the Eastern Han Dynasty. Daoism traces its roots to 6th Century BC Chinese philosopher Laozi wrote the iconic book Dao De Jing on the tenets of the Dao.

Basic religious beliefs

Primary belief is practicing and learning “the way”(dao) which is the ultimate truth in the universe and respecting nature.Also due to buddhism influences, they also believe in cosmology, alchemy and reincarnation.The ying and yang are forces that belong together according to Daoists. Achemical tradition is focused primarily on making the human body immortal. Often, this includes special breathing and meditation techniques, many are also vegetarian.

Classifications of Taoism

Taoism is an ethnic religion and has four different types

Branches or divisions of taoism

Religious- refers to the more folk aspect of Daoism
Alchemical/Monastic-Believe in immortality as they drink toxic elixirs,do tai chi and meditate which is designed to cease their end and promote long life and/or immortality.
Political- people who create movements using Daoism. The most famous of these are the Celestial Masters and the Five Pecks of Rice Gang. These groups were a kind of early communism, and promised to care for people in bad times. They also provided magical cures for illness
Philosophical- addresses the state of the “self”. A social philosophy in that it is mostly concerned with how the self relates to society and the cosmos. It is based predominantly on two major texts the Tao te Ching

Geographic Distribution

Diffusion

Taoist ideas and early writing were found as early as (550 B.C.E.) is generally the time period when a variety of spiritual thinkers were putting their ideas into writing. There was early teachings found in the Warring period in the Eastern Han Dynasty. Daoism traces its roots to 6th Century BC Chinese philosopher Laozi wrote the iconic book Dao De Jing on the tenets of the Dao.

Holy Places

Tai Shan, Taoist mountain of the east, Shandong province
Heng Shan Bei, Taoist mountain of the north, Shanxi province
Hua Shan, Taoist mountain of the west, Shanxi province
Heng Shan Nan, Taoist mountain of the south, Hunan province
Song Shan, Taoist mountain of the center, Henan province

Where Taoism is practiced today

It is an indigenous Chinese religion, with millions of adherents throughout China, so it’s particularly in rural areas. It is also practiced with those who take the religion wherever they go; immigrants have practiced it in the US before. It is also practiced in Taiwan.

Number of followers

Taoism has about 227 million followers

Unique Features

What is Taoism? Aspects [HD]

Key Figures and Important People

Laozi was the first philosopher of Chinese Taoism in the 6th century BC. He is traditionally named as the author of the Daodejing, though modern scholars say that the work had more than one author. He is venerated as a philosopher by the Confucianists, as a saint or god by the common people of China, and as a divinity and the representative of the Tao by Taoists.
Zhuangzi was a native of the state of Meng, on the border of present-day Shandong and Henan provinces, and is said to have lived as a hermit. Zhuangzi emphasizes the relativity of all ideas and conventions that are the basis of judgments and distinctions; he puts forward as the solution to the problems of the human condition freedom in identification with the universal Tao, or principle of Nature.

Place of Worship

A temple which they call Daoguan

Holy Texts

The highest virtue is to act without a sense of self
The highest kindness is to give without a condition
The highest justice is to see without a preference
When Tao is lost one must learn the rules of virtue
When virtue is lost, the rules of kindness
When kindness is lost, the rules of justice
When justice is lost, the rules of conduct

Impact on social and family structures

They also believe in letting “fate” determine its own existence and not acting in the path of it. Taoism stresses the importance of paying proper respect to elders, especially parents and grandparents, and deceased ancestors are honored with various ceremonies and rituals.

Impact on cultural beliefs and expectations

Often expectations of Daoist are:
  • Be true to myself
  • Connect to the world as I want to be treated.
  • Connect to those outside my nature with decisive action.
  • To those unwilling to accept me for my true nature, no action is required:
  • Just silently let them be themselves as I remain myself.
  • I own nothing; I am merely a passing custodian of items outside of my nature.
Taoist are against threats of punishment, because they cause more harm than good also Daoist belief that non-action will result in a clearer picture of the situation without clouded thought. But that mean that each person must follow the dao or will reap that consequences in their future reincarnations

Essential Question

How/Why can Taoism be considered a religion and/or a philosophy?