What is Taoism

Taoism contains many profound theories which at first may be difficult to understand. In general, these theories reflect Taoism as a balanced relationship between human beings and nature.

The most basic concept of this religion is Tao. Originally, Tao refers to the road extending in one direction. Roads having many forks or directions are not Tao in Taoists' opinions. Tao also refers to the rules governing the behaviors of humn beings and objects. For example the sun, earth, moon and other celestial bodies run along certain tracks. Laozi, the founder of Taoism, added his unique idea on Tao and made Tao as the core of his theology. In his opinion, Tao is a whole existing before the heaven and earth. Everything is the deviation of Tao. Laozi's Taoist theory contains dialectic thoughts, such as his consideration of the law of Tao to pertain to the opposites of human beings, concepts, and objects. For example, high and low, big and small, long and short, these opposite pairs exist on the condition of each other. Misfortune can also transform into fortune under certain situations. Another example is that there is no eternal weakness or hardness. Laozi used water as an example to support this thought. On the one hand water may be seen as the weakest thing in the world, but on the other, it can destroy the hardest thing such as a rock.
Statue of Shang Qing (Upper Pure)
Statue of Shang Qing God
A Taoist
A Taoist
In order to make this theory more clear and vivid, Taoism draws a Taiji Diagram: a curve dividing a circle into two parts, one half is in white representing Yang (the bright side), while the other is in black, representing Yin (the dark side). There is a black dot in the white part, while a white dot is in the black part representing the Yin and Yang of each other and can transform into the counterpart. The diagram looks like two fish end to end, so it is also called the Diagram of Yin Yang Fish.

Qi, another concept, makes reference to the whole world and the foundation of the unity of the world. It is the basic source of any tangible and intangible objects, including Gods and spirits, as well as humans and ghosts. The vital essence of Qi is called Jing (genuine energy), which is believed to be necessary in order to create anything when arranged in certain ways. Jing, Qi and Shen (Spirit) are considered to be the three most important elements in human beings.

Taoism wants peace and stability like many other religions. The early Taiping Classic (Peace Classic) expressed Taoists' own understanding on peace. Taoism thinks that people must perform according to inherent rules in order to establish a harmonious and orderly world where everyone is equal and kind to each other. Along with this is the belief  that there should be a world without wars, since it appears that wars bring people nothing but disaster and suffering. This religion is always against wars and weapons which thought to be inauspicious. Besides, a peaceful society also enables people to live harmoniously with nature, and to also protect nature instead of destroying it.
Statues of Jade Emperor, Heavenly King Li and Lord Lao Zi in Taoism
Statues of Jade Emperor, 
Heavenly King Li and Lord Lao Zi
Divining Patterns in Taoism
Divining patterns were used 
to foretell the future event in Taoism.
Moreover, Taoism performs non-action and non-intention in order to purify the soul. Rules should better simplify the government affair to reduce the disturbance of political measures to society and common people. These and other Taoist ideas are very useful to the present society, and a peaceful and harmonious society will come if these principles are well acted out.
- Last updated on Apr. 21, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on What Taoism is
Asked by Shanza from PAKISTAN | Sep. 30, 2016 10:13Reply
Taoism believe that there is any god?
Answers (1)
Answered by Fanny from FRANCE | Oct. 07, 2016 22:32

Yes, just like Buddhism, Taoists also believe there are gods in the heaven blessing people in the world.
Asked by David from USA | May. 09, 2016 03:44Reply
In Taoism what happens to the human spirit/soul (Shen?) when the person dies?
Do Taoists believe in a human consciousness apart from the physical body? Do they believe the soul can continue to exist as a self conscious state of self awareness after physical death? If so, what happens to the soul? Do they then believe in reincarnation like the Buhddists? Or would it be something else?
Answers (3)
Answered by Robinson from CHINA | May. 09, 2016 21:48

The most important doctrine of Taoism is the Unity of Man and Nature. Unlike the Buddhism, they believe that both the physical body and soul are a part of the nature named Qi and should be return to nature again after death. After people die, the physical body is buried to blend in with the earth, while soul becomes Qi and turns into a natural element again.
Answered by David from USA | May. 11, 2016 07:38

So then how would a Taoist explain a "Life after death" experience? Experiences such as when a person has died and their spirit leaves their body. Most people who experience this say that they are very much alive although their body is dead. (Of course we are talking about people who have been resuscitated after being pronounced dead.)
Answered by Robinson | May. 11, 2016 20:55

As I know, the doctrines of this religion don't advocate afterlife. They insist that people only have one life. What they have pursued is an eternal life.
Asked by Jamie Hawkings from SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES | Dec. 02, 2014 17:30Reply
Which of the following is not a religion?
Answers (4)
Answered by Jack from INDONESIA | Dec. 02, 2014 23:44

Answered by Hello from ANGUILLA | Mar. 02, 2016 19:15

Confucianism is a religion.
Answered by sandy from AUSTRALIA | Mar. 21, 2020 20:34

Taoism is a religion but is also known as a philosophy
Answered by ozziek from UK | Jun. 11, 2020 02:15

Confuscianism is not a religion. It is a more of a philosophy based on the teachings of Confusius the Chinese philosopher.
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