Dear brothers and sisters, good day. How are all you good people of Earth doing? I’m Clark and this is a continuation of my “Understanding Religions” series! Today we look at Taoism basic beliefs, including a bit on how it came about and how it is doing in the world today. Taoism is a religion that is widely practiced in certain parts of Asia, and its fascinating beliefs made for an interesting research…
By the way, here’s part 8 of the series if you missed it.
Taoism Basic Beliefs
Taoism teaches adherence to the way (Tao means way or path in Chinese), which is the law of all things in the Universe. Taoists focus on harmonizing with nature (both the natural and supernatural world) by balancing yin and yang (sets of two opposing yet complementing principles in the world around us, for instance female for yin and male for yang). If they can do this they will be able to merge with the Tao and become immortal or deities.
Taoists believe that people can become immortal or deities by directing natural forces through the body. Important Taoist deities include the Jade Emperor (High God of the Taoists), Ju Jai Of (God of Luck), Chu Sheng Niang (Goddess of Birth and Fertility), Kuan Kung (God of War), Fu Hsing (God of Happiness), Tsai She (God of Wealth) and Tsao Chun (God of the Kitchen) who controls each person’s lifespan and destiny.
Taoists focus on developing chi through meditation and disengagement. Chi is our life-force, soul, essence, or inner self. Tai Chi is a form of meditation or physical exercise for the life-force within us to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body.
Taoists believe that good actions will mean a better life for the soul.
How Taoism Came About
Taoism was started by Lao Tze, a Chinese philosopher who lived approximately 2,500 years ago. There is uncertainty in regards to the life of Lao Tze. It was even said that Lao Tze spent 80 years in his mother’s womb before emerging as a fully grown man!
Lao Tze was an authority on astronomy, astrology and divination, and he became an archivist and historian for the emperor during the Zhou dynasty. Towards the end of his life, he became saddened because the dynasty was descending into chaos and society was unwilling to follow the path to natural goodness. He left his job and traveled west on an ox. At a mountain pass, the guard of the gates recognized him and asked for wisdom in exchange for letting him pass. Hence, Lao Tze wrote down what he knew and that was how the Taoist text Tao-Te-Ching came to be.
Lao Tze is said to have influenced a young Confucius. Confucius, of course, was one of the greatest philosophers of China.
Taoism and the World
Today Taoism is practiced by about 5 million people mostly in Asian countries like China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Vietnam. Taoists are taught that straining in life is counterproductive. Instead, they’re encouraged not to resist or fight the natural order of things but to flow with the shape of events and circumstances. Taoists are encouraged to be spontaneous.
Taoists are encouraged to love their parents, practice tolerance, cultivate self-control of the mind and body, and also stay in excellent physical and mental shape.
Stay Tuned, Sisters and Brothers!
That is it for part 9. I hope you’re very much enjoying reading this series because for sure I’m very much enjoying doing the necessary research. Please share if you do and subscribe to my emails! Remember to come back to my website often. Just leave any questions or comments that you might have below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks a lot!
Part 10: Shinto