By Saman H, Taeeun K, Tanya K, and Sheetal H

Origins of the Religion


  • Daoism (also known as Taoism) originated in China, Oral tradition maintains that Daoism came from the Kunlun Mountains of northern Tibet to China between 4,000-5,000 years ago.
  • Founded 550 BCE (6th century)The founder of the religion is Lao Tzu(Philosopher sixth and third century BCE) and Zhuangzi.

Basic religious beliefs:

  • Daoism is a belief based on philosophy and thought (worshipping deities is not as much)
  • Emphasis on behavior and leading others and governing others balanced with nature and the divine
  • writings emphasized the mythical and magical aspects of life rather than the importance of public service.
  • Main theme of Daoism: Balance

Classification of religion:

  • Ethnic Religion- never diffused internationally and leaders believe people should come to them if they want to convert

Branches or divisions of the religion:

  • Major Sects--Zhengyi (Qingwei,Jingming,Zhengyi, and Zhenwu Xuanwu)and Quanzhen(Wuzu (five ancestors),Ziyang (purple sun) of South Wuzu sects.Baiyun Temple in Beijing.
  • Philosophical Taoism, Religious Taoism and Folk Taoism. Chen Tao, Ascended Masters
  • Yellow Turban Movement and the Celestial Masters Sec. were popular revolutionary cult branches in 3rd century A.D.(Han Dynasty)

Geographic Distribution

-How the religion diffused:

  • Contagious diffusion: The Empire of China was united closely under emperors. When Zhang Daoling founded Mount Qingcheng as the center of the empire, Daoism spread quickly within China.
  • Hierarchical diffusion: Daoism became one of the three main traditions in China and a semi-official Chinese religion during the Tang dynasty. It was adopted as a state religion of China in 440 CE.
  • Relocation diffusion: Daoism spread to other parts of the globe when the Chinese people relocated to different parts of the world and took their religion with them.
-Holy places: Tai Shan, Heng Shan Bei, Heng Shan NanSong Shan

-Where it is practiced today: Daoism is mainly practiced in eastern Asia. It’s especially commonly practiced in China and Taiwan, but the number of adherents around the world are growing. About 30,000 people in North America are believed to practice Daoism.

-Number of followers:

  • About 20 million people are thought to follow only Daoism, and about 225 million people are thought to follow Daoism along with another Chinese religion such as Buddhism.
  • The number is impossible to estimate because many of its followers also identify with other religions.

Unique Features

Daoist Immortals

The 8 immortals of Daoism. Stories of the Eight Immortals are popular in Taoism folklore, dramas, and novels.

Place of Worship: Temple

A Dai temple is an intricate traditional chinese building with symbols and sculptures carved into the walls.
Dai Temple at Mount Tai, one of the holiest mountains in China
What is Taoism? Aspects [HD]

Essential Question

How is Daoism, being an ethnic religion, reflected through the lifestyles and history of the daoist people?