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___ Taoism, Daoism (Chinese: 道教; pinyin: Dàojiāo)
Chinese philosophy to signify the fundamental or true nature of the world: simplicity and selflessness in conformity with the Tao, leading a life of non-purposive action, a life expressing the essence of spontaneity..
Taoism, also known as Daoism, arose about the same time as Confucianism. Laoze (Chinese: 老子; pinyin: Lǎozǐ, also Laotzi, Laotse, Lao-Tse, Lao-tzu, Lao Zi or Lão Tu), is considered to have written a book of 81 chapters, named Tao Te Ching, also Daodejing (trad. Chinese: 道德經; simpl. Chinese: 道德经; pinyin: Dàodéjīng), a classical Chinese text, mainly concerning 道 tao/ dào "way," and 德 te/dé "virtue”, life, strength.
Taoist thought focuses on genuineness, longevity, health, immortality, vitality, wu wei (non-action, a natural action, a perfect equilibrium with tao), detachment, refinement (emptiness), spontaneity, transformation and omni-potentiality.
This religious and philosophical tradition of Taoism had its roots in the nature worship and divination of the earliest Chinese people.
Nothing in the Universe is fixed, static or non moving; per se everything is transforming all the time.
Analogies exist between all levels of existence: the Universe, the cosmos, Earth and mankind are structured analogically and are equal in detail, forming an interconnected whole.
With and due to the transformations and changes of the phenomena everything and every being spontaneously, by intuition and in impulse establishes its own ‘way’.
From an ethical point of view it is considered correct not to interfere with the spontaneity or alter it by any means, expressed by ‘wu wei’ (chin. 無爲 / 无为, wúwéi or also in Chinese: 爲無爲 / 为无为, wéi wúwéi, non- action as in abstention of any action opposing nature).
All things with their transformations and changes are considered to be self regulating, self expressing in their natural form.
‘Wu wei’ does not signify not acting at all, but rather not forcing things on their way. Wu wei signifies that the action should be immediately in accordance with the Tao, hence the necessary will be done without exaggeration, hyperbole or overeagerness as these are considered obstructive, though rather in an easy, facile, non disturbing way, leading to overall harmony and balance. It is a state of inner tranquillity, which will show the right effortless action at the right time.
Taoism does not identify man's will as the root problem. Rather, it asserts that man must place his will in harmony with the natural universe.
The return to tao, the return to the interconnected whole and unity, can only be accomplished if dualistic thoughts are abolished and acts are conducted naturally and spontaneously.
The wu wei is characterised by an activity undertaken to perceive the Tao within all things and to conform oneself to its "way."
When following the ‘wu wei’, the goal is called ‘pu’ (simplified Chinese: 朴; traditional Chinese: 樸; pinyin: pǔ, pú; lit. "uncut wood", translated as "uncarved block", "unsewn log", or "simplicity"), representing a passive state of receptiveness. It is believed to be the true nature of the mind, unburdened by knowledge or experiences. Pu is a symbol for a state of pure potential and perception without prejudice, without illusion.
The ‘te’ (Chinese: 德; pinyin: dé, "power; virtue", ‘”heart”, "inherent character, personal character; inner power inner strength; integrity") is the manifestation of the Tao within all things, the active expression, the active living, or cultivation, of the "way" Tao, the implementation and manifestation of the Tao through undesigned actions.
All things in the Universe, including mankind, are a microsomes of the Universe, to which all natural laws such as The Five Elements Theory, Feng Shui, the concept of the bagua and especially the the yin - yang philosophy, being an important concept of taoism since yin and yang emerge from the tao- apply.
By understanding himself, man may gain knowledge of the universe, and vice versa.
In Laotzi’s definition, tao is considered to be the pervasive principle of all things in the universe, being the highest reality and the highest mystery, the primordial originality and unity, a cosmical law and an absolute. From the tao diverted the ‘ten thousand things’, namely the cosmos, as well as the order of thing, similar to a law of nature. But tao itself is not an omnipotent being, but the genesis, the source and the alliance, the conjunction of opposites and as such not definable.
Tao is ‘the nameless', because neither it nor its principles can ever be adequately expressed in words.
From a philosophical point of view tao can be seen apart and beyond from all defining abstract concepts, because it is the reason for and the reason of being, the transcendental origin and transcendental philosophy and as such incorporates all, including the antipode of being and non being.
Based on that, nothing can be said referring the tao, because every single definition would impose a restriction. But tao is both, unlimited transcendency as well as the immanent principle of the cosmos and the universe.
The effects of tao create the genesis by generating duality, yin and yang, light and shadow, since every action creates a counter-action as a natural, unavoidable movement within manifestations of the Tao. From the metamorphosis, movement, motion, flow, interaction and interplay of the duality emerges and arises the world.
The ‘Three Jewels of Tao’ (Chinese: 三寶; pinyin: sānbǎo) refer to the three virtues of taoism:
2) moderation, simplicity, frugality
3 ) humility, modesty
Heaven, the pantheon (of which the Chinese taoist culture has over 30) mirrored the political system of China at that time with all of its civil servants, bureaucrats, having an army, a royal family, parasitical courtiers, higher or lower ranking deities, who could be promoted or demoted according to their actions (see: 8 Immortals, Chang’e,
The seven brightest stars of the constellation are Ursa Major, the Great Bear, also called the Big Dipper.
The Dipper Mother, Dou Mu (斗母 - dǒumǔ), a star deity and a Taoist adoption of the Tantric deity Marici, is the mother of the stars of Ursa Major, the Big Dipper and is considered to be a personification of light and dawn.
Thought to derive from one of the devas (inhabitants of the heavenly realms) of Buddhism, she is associated with healing and childbirth. Often she is depicted as sitting on a lotus throne and wearing a crown. She has a third eye in her forehead, and her eighteen arms hold a variety of sacred weapons and vessels.
Legend has it that many ages ago, a great queen vowed to give birth to children who would help to guide the movements of the Tao. One fine spring day, she disrobed and entered a pool to bathe. Suddenly, she felt "moved," and nine lotus buds rose from the pond. The lotus, a symbol borrowed from Buddhism, signifies purity and spiritual enlightenment since it rises from the mud (representing the physical impurities of the world) to become a brilliant flower. Each of these lotus buds opened to reveal a star, including the seven stars of the Northern Dipper (Big Dipper), one of the most important constellations in Taoism. Subsequently, this queen was deified, becoming known as the "Dipper Mother."
(Note: Chinese Buddhism, which when first introduced into China, was largely interpreted through the use of Taoist words and concepts.)
In contrast to the Confucian program of social reform through moral principle, ritual, and government regulation, the true way of restoration for the Taoists consisted in the banishment of learned sageliness and the discarding of wisdom. "Manifest the simple," urged Lao-tzu, "embrace the primitive, reduce selfishness, have few desires."
As the Tao operates impartially in the universe, so should mankind disavow assertive, purposive action. The Taoist life is not, however, a life of total inactivity. It is rather a life of nonpurposive action (wu-wei). Stated positively, it is a life expressing the essence of spontaneity (tzu-jan, "self-so").See also:
Ancestor Worship in Taoism
History of China
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The Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be defined is not the unchanging name.
Non-existence is called the antecedent of heaven and earth;
Existence is the mother of all things. 老子