Taoism (Daoism)

"The Way"

Nicholas Gutierrez, Dheeraj Nuthakki, Layeth Khazendar

The Origin of Taoism

Origin of Religion: Origin is in China with founder Lao Tzu around 550 B.C.E

Basic Religious beliefs:

  • They believe in Ch’i which means "air" or "breath”, as a concept it refers to the energy flow or life force that is said to pervade all things.
  • Taoists believe that there are Three Jewels, or characteristics, that all Taoists should live by. These jewels are stated in the Tao Te Ching. The three jewels are compassion, moderation and humility.
  • They believe in Immortals which are like super-humans or perfected persons who are worshipped by Taoists.
  • They believe in The Tao (Way or Path) which is the mysterious natural order of the universe. It is the path that one must follow in life.
  • They believe in Yin and Yang which are believed to govern the behavior of all things.

Classification of Taoism: Ethnic religion

Sects of Taoism:

- The Heavenly (or Celestial) Masters sect, founded in West China. It advocated faith healing through the confession of sin and at one time recruited members as soldiers and engaged in war against the government. This is the most popular sect.

- The Supreme Peace sect adopted practices much like those of the Heavenly Master sect and launched a great rebellion that went on for several years.

- The Mao-shan (Mount Mao) sect introduced rituals involving both external and internal alchemies, mediumistic practice, and visionary communication with divinities.

- The Ling-pao (Marvelous Treasure) sect introduced the worship of divinities called T'ien-tsun (Heavenly Lords).

- The Ch'uan-chen (Completely Real) sect was founded in the 12th century as a Taoist monastic movement.

The Geographic Distribution of Taoism

How the religion diffused: Taoism diffused from an unknown source in China all around the county. During the communist regime, taoism was attacked and its memory almost destroyed, and Taoism is growing once again, this time worldwide still with a main concentration in China.

Holy places: The statue of Lao Tzu is located in the Quanzhou province of China on the site of Mt. Qingyuan and is a significant holy place for Taoist. There are Taoist temples all over the world, where taoists gather to worship.

Where it is practiced today: Taoism is primarily practiced in Asia, more specifically China, in fact 5.8% of Asians are Taoists.

Number of followers: There are 20 million adherents of Taoism. Although, many people consider themselves to be a mix of taoist and another religion (usually confucianism).

Below: This is a map showing the distribution of taoists across the world. As you can see, the main concentration of Taoists are in China.

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Unique Features of Taoism

Key figures and important people: Lao Tzu was the founder of Taoism. He wrote Tao Te Ching. Chuang Tzu was a philosopher and he authored only parts of the first 7 chapters of the present text, the so-called "Inner Chapters".

Holy Text: Tao Te Ching was a book written by Lao Tzu; this is what Taoists follow or live their lives according too; not really a specific text though. Chuang Tzu was a book written by Chuang Tzu: it contains stories, philosophies, and anecdotes.

Religious Symbols: Yin-Yang is a religious symbol. The outer circle of it represents everything. Yin and Yang are two energies that make up everything and they both need each other for everything to work. Yin represents dark while Yang represents light.

Place of worship: Temple

Impact on social and family structures:

  • It is traditional to build talisman to keep away the evil spirits and to protect from those who are dark.
  • It is also tradition to have ceremonies hosted by monasteries and priests; this is a way of worship for Taoists.
  • They base their family structures on being in harmony with Tao and to be very spiritual with one's customs and lifestyle.
  • Woman are treated as equals or higher than men; Taoists also try to stay with their feminine side along with their masculine side to keep views from both genders.

Impact on cultural beliefs and expectations:

1. Everything one does should be natural and one should have peace with everyone.

2. Everything happens for a reason and one should be themselves and not conform to what others say one should be.

3. Be humble and always hear both sides of the story before judging taking an opinion on the subject.

4. Always know that there is a bad side and a good side and that they must have each other or else the world could not last.

5. Love each other and don't harm the innocent.

6. Always be in harmony with others and nature and only do what is natural and not out of the ordinary.

7. Follow Lao Tzu’s book and use that for guidance when you are not sure what to do next.

8. Live with others in peace and focus more on the spiritual side.

9. There is heaven and by doing good in life, one shall be rewarded in the afterlife.

Video Descriptions

Video 1:

This video describes the origin, the diffusion, the belief, and symbols of Taoism.

Video 2:

This is a video that explains the meaning of the yin yang very well. It goes in depth about the meaning and how the Taoists view it.

(Videos are below)

Essential Question: How has Taoism affected the worlds' culture as a whole?


"BBC - Religion: Taoism." BBC - Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012.


"Taoism - ReligionFacts." Religion, World Religions, Comparative Religion - Just the

facts on the world's religions.. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012. <http://www.religionfacts.com/taoism/index.htm>.

"What is Taoism? Aspects [HD] - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012.


"Symbol explanation: Yin - Yang - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 7Dec. 2012.


"Taoism Origins, Taoism History, Taoism Beliefs." Patheos | Hosting the Conversation on Faith. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012.


Group Taoism

Group Taoism is dedicated to producing AP quality material. We set high standards for ourselves and expect only the best. As a group in Ms. Furnish's 5th period AP-HUG class we take pride in our work and are always open to positive feedback. Any comments questions or concerns are greatly appreciated.


Nicholas Gutierrez

Dheeraj Nuthakki

Layeth Khazendar