Meaning of Taoism

What is Taoism:

Taoism is a philosophical current that emerged in China at the time of the Hundred Schools of Thought (770 – 221 BC), and which constitute the basis of current Eastern thought. His greatest thinker was Lao-Tse or Laozi.

Laozi bases his philosophy on the inherent harmony of nature defined as Tao, ‘way’ in Spanish. The description of the Tao is found in the book Tao Te Ching either Dao De Jing which means ‘Book of the way and virtue’. The work is a compilation of several authors of the same doctrine, whose main author is Laozi.

Although Taoism was not born as a religious system, in the second century AD it was imposed as a cult doctrine in China, and the imperial priest Zhang Daoling became the first pontiff of this belief.

Taoism as a philosophical system

These are some of the characteristics of Taoism, understood as a philosophical current.

  • It exalts values ​​such as compassion, kindness, piety, sacrifice, honesty, fairness, teaching, analysis, introspection, harmony with nature, selflessness and magnanimity.
  • It lacks a dogma which must be followed.
  • It rejects concepts or beliefs based on prejudice or dogmatic submission, such as religious submission, nationalism or filial loyalty.
  • He defends the harmony of man with the Tao and believes in the ethereal course of events.
  • expose the concept wu weiwhich means flow, and is associated with harmony with nature.
  • It exalts stillness as a way to achieve harmony, with the goal of being completely in the Tao: the encounter with the true self.
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Taoism as a religion

As a religious system, Taoism incorporates ideas from the naturalistic school, or Ying-Yang school. These are some of its most representative fundamentals.

  • It is based on the existence of three forces: an active force (yang), a passive force (ying) and a third force that contains the other two, called Tao.
  • The Tao is the source from which all that exists emanates, but even so, it cannot be reached by human thought. Hence, one of the main sentences of the Tao Te Ching affirm that “the Tao that can be called Tao is not the true Tao”.
  • The Tao has no space or time and is the source of the natural order that explains by itself the behavior of things. Hence, Taoism proposes an understanding and integration of man with the flow of nature.
  • To walk the path of the Tao, a spiritual preparation is necessary that involves the practice of silence and stillness. Only in a state of total relaxation is it possible to contemplate the soul.
  • The Tao believes in immortality, and those who follow this path can become ‘angels’.
  • It applies the principle of non-action which states that we should not try to control or interfere with the natural order of things. Otherwise, we disconnect from the Tao.
  • Everything has a natural flow, so you should avoid what feels forced or far from genuine passions.

See also:

  • Yin Yang.
  • Confucianism.