21 Facts About Taoism


Taoism teaches about the various disciplines for achieving perfection through self-cultivation.

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Early Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the School of Yinyang and was deeply influenced by one of the oldest texts of Chinese culture, the I Ching, which expounds a philosophical system about how to keep human behavior in accordance with the alternating cycles of nature.

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Taoism has had a profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries and Taoists, a title traditionally attributed only to the clergy and not to their lay followers, usually take care to note the distinction between their ritual tradition and the practices of Chinese folk religion and non-Taoist vernacular ritual orders, which are often mistakenly identified as pertaining to Taoism.

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The Mandarin Chinese pronunciation for the word is spelled as tao in the older Wade–Giles romanization system (from which the spelling 'Taoism' is derived), while it is spelled as dao in the newer Pinyin romanization system (from which the spelling "Daoism" is derived).

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The sinologists Isabelle Robinet and Livia Kohn agree that "Taoism has never been a unified religion, and has constantly consisted of a combination of teachings based on a variety of original revelations.

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Traditionally, the Chinese language does not have terms defining lay people adhering to the doctrines or the practices of Taoism, who fall instead within the field of folk religion.

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Taoist, in Western sinology, is traditionally used to translate daoshi, thus strictly defining the priests of Taoism, ordained clergymen of a Taoist institution who "represent Taoist culture on a professional basis", are experts of Taoist liturgy, and therefore can employ this knowledge and ritual skills for the benefit of a community.

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Term, with the meaning of "Taoist" as "lay member or believer of Taoism", is a modern invention that goes back to the introduction of the Western category of "organized religion" in China in the 20th century, but it has no significance for most of Chinese society in which Taoism continues to be an "order" of the larger body of Chinese religion.

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Laozi is traditionally regarded as one of the founders of Taoism and is closely associated in this context with original or primordial Taoism.

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Several Song emperors, most notably Huizong, were active in promoting Taoism, collecting Taoist texts and publishing editions of the Daozang.

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Today, Taoism is one of five official recognized religions in the People's Republic of China.

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However, Taoism is practiced without government involvement in Taiwan, where it claims millions of adherents.

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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.

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In Taoism, it is "the One, which is natural, spontaneous, eternal, nameless, and indescribable.

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Different branches of Taoism often have differing pantheons of lesser deities, where these deities reflect different notions of cosmology.

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Taoism tore apart temples, which demanded animal sacrifice and drove away its priests.

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Recurrent and important element of Taoism are rituals, exercises and substances aiming at aligning oneself spiritually with cosmic forces, at undertaking ecstatic spiritual journeys, or at improving physical health and thereby extending one's life, ideally to the point of immortality.

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Followers of Taoism are present in Chinese emigre communities outside Asia.

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Notable painters influenced by Taoism include Wu Wei, Huang Gongwang, Mi Fu, Muqi Fachang, Shitao, Ni Zan, Tang Mi, and Wang Zengzu.

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

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Taoism especially shaped the development of Chan Buddhism, introducing elements like the concept of naturalness, distrust of scripture and text, and emphasis on embracing "this life" and living in the "every-moment".

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