10 Interesting Facts about Taoism

One of these following facts about Taoism might probably give you much information about what Taoism is. Taoism is a philosophical, ethical, and religious tradition of Chinese origin that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. The term “Tao” means “way”, “path” or “principle”, and can also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions other than Taoism. In Taoism, however, “Tao” denotes something that is both the source and the driving force behind everything that exists. To get to know more about Taoism, here are some facts about Taoism you might be interested in. 

Facts about Taoism 1: History of Taoism

Laozi is traditionally regarded as the founder of Taoism and is closely associated in this context with “original”, or “primordial”, Taoism. Whether he actually existed is disputed; however, the work attributed to him – the Tao The Ching – is dated to the late 4th century BC.

Facts about Taoism 2: School of Naturalist

Taoism draws its cosmological foundations from the School of Naturalists (in form of its main elements – yin and yang and the Five Phases), which developed during the Warring States period (4th to 3rd centuries BC).

Facts about Taoism - Dai Temple

Facts about Taoism – Dai Temple

Facts about Taoism 3: Elements of Taoism

Some elements of Taoism may be traced to prehistoric folk religions in China that later coalesced into a Taoist tradition. In particular, many Taoist practices drew from the Warring-States-era phenomena of the “wu” and the “fanshi”, even though later Taoists insisted that this was not the case.

Facts about Taoism 4: Ethics

Taoism tends to emphasize various themes of the “Tao Te Ching” and “Zhuangzi”, such as naturalness, spontaneity, simplicity, detachment from desires, and most important of all, wu wei. However, the concepts of those keystone texts can not be equated with Taoism as a whole.

Facts about Taoism - A century-old Taoist Temple

Facts about Taoism – A century-old Taoist Temple

Facts about Taoism 5: Naturalness

Naturalness is regarded as a central value in Taoism. It describes the “primordial state” of all things as well as a basic character of the Tao, and is usually associated with spontaneity and creativity.

Facts about Taoism 6: Other Texts

While the Tao Te Ching is most famous, there are many other important texts in traditional Taoism including Mohism, Taishang Ganying Pian (“Treatise of the Exalted One on Response and Retribution”) discusses sin and ethics, and has become a popular morality tract in the last few centuries. It asserts that those in harmony with Tao will live long and fruitful lives.

Facts about Taoism - Statue of Taoist Deity

Facts about Taoism – Statue of Taoist Deity

Facts about Taoism 7: Rituals

At certain dates, food may be set out as a sacrifice to the spirits of the deceased or the gods, such as during the Qingming Festival. This may include slaughtered animals, such as pigs and ducks, or fruit.

Facts about Taoism 8: Art and Poetry

Throughout Chinese history there have been many examples of art being influenced by Taoist thought. Notable painters influenced by Taosim include Wu Wei, Huang Gongwang, Mi Fu, Muqi Fachang, Shitao, Ni Zan, Tang Mi and Wang Tseng-tsu.

Facts about Taoism - Tao Priest

Facts about Taoism – Tao Priest

Facts about Taoism 9: Political Aspects

Unlike Confucianism, Taoism favors philosophical anarchism, pluralism, and laissez-faire-government. Laozi has been cited as an early example of a proponent of liberalism. On the other hand, politics never have been a main issue in Taoism.

Facts about Taoism 10: Relation with Other Religions

In general, Taoism rejects the Confucianist emphasis on rituals, hierarchical social order, and conventional morality, and favors naturalness, spontaneity, and individualism instead.

Facts about Taoism - Taoist Temple

Facts about Taoism – Taoist Temple

Hope you would find those Taoism facts really interesting and useful for your additional reading.

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