Dating back to the 6th century is the religion of Taoism, which is also expressed as Daoism. The religion is based upon the Tao Te Ching teachings, originating from China. Some of the values taught within this form of worship include spiritual harmony, as well as social duty. Often compared and similar to Confucianism, the two religions were founded during the same time period.
The main religion has two important aspects that are followed includes “philosophical Taoism,” which is dominated by the writings of Lao-Tzu and Chuang-Tzu. Other early mystics are followed as well in these teachings. “Religious Taoism” focuses on the religious traditions meant to achieve immortality. Throughout the world, it is recorded that there are more than 20 million Taoists. The majority of worshippers can be found in countries, including Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia. In areas, such as the United States, forms of alternative medicine and martial arts focus on some of the teachings of Taoism.
Taoism was founded by Lao-Tze in 550 BCE in China, which is where the bulk of its followers reside. The sacred texts are called the Tao Te Ching and the Chuang-Tzu, which were originally written in Chinese. Followers of Taoism worship in a temple, where they acknowledge spiritual beings named Immortals, which are considered to be beings with super-human qualities. They were first encountered in print within the Chuang-Tzu. This sacred text spoke of these beings that lived faraway places, free of trouble and able to live without effort. These beings are also described as possessing the capability to remain ageless, as well as the ability to fly.
Taoists are taught that they are born pure with traces of imperfection, which can be altered through a life filled with following the Tao and pursuing good intentions. Their purpose in life is to attain harmony and peace from within, as well as a long life.
Some of the beliefs that a Taoists follows are establishing harmony with what is natural throughout life. A Taoist is not supposed to “oppose, strive or struggle.” A main focus of this religion is that of reaching a level of immortality. This can be found in a variety of results, including eternal life, a long life, as well as gaining the ability to perform superhuman tasks. When a Taoist seeks longevity, they may follow a few lifestyle rules, such as paying attention to the way their body is treated, including exercise, diet and pampering the mind. Other actions that may be followed include breathing exercises, creating elixirs, as well as leading a life of morality.
In regards to the afterlife, Taoists believe that they will revert back to a state of non-being, which follows the belief of yang turning into yin (a being to a non-being). The Yin-Yang is an important and well-recognized symbol of the religion. The religion stresses that death should be neither feared nor desired. For more on Taoism, there is an article called “Terms Dealing With Taoism,” which will shed light on terminology associated with the religion.