Taoism

Introduction

According to Smith (1994), Taoism is defined as a religious philosophical tradition that has molded the people of East Asia for a period exceeding two millennia. Taoism was founded by Lao Tzu in the 6th century B.C., though the scholars do not have any knowledge regarding this man. The name Lao Tzu can be translated as the Old Fellow which is a title of respect and endeavor (Smith, 1991). Tao is usually translated as a way or path, but with numerous meanings in the Chinese philosophy and folk religion. Taoist ethics and propriety are concerned with moderation, humility, and compassion which are the Jewels of the Tao, while the Taoist thought put emphasis on nature and the relationship between the cosmos and humanity (Smith, 1991). The Taoist practices and rules are intended to bring about harmony with the cosmos or the Universe. The popular Taoism is characterized by reverence for immortals and ancestral spirits. Taoism is comprised of four key concepts which include: Wu Wei, Ch’i, Feng-Shui, and Te (Kohn, 2000). Organized Taoism differentiates its ritual activity from the ritual activity of the folk religion that a number of professional Taoists consider as devalued.

Taoism was aimed in the accomplishment of Tao. Tao is considered the ultimate reality, to have been in existence even before the existence of the universe, and it will continue to guide universe and all things contained in it. Tao is known as the potency of the cosmos, which includes deities, gods, divine beings, souls and spirits. It is sometimes regarded as the source, or Mother of all things. But this source is not a Supreme Being or a god as the case with monotheistic religions. Taoism does not focus on worshiping one god or Supreme Being but it is concerned with harmonizing with Tao. This achievement of harmony with Tao is considered as living according to the requirements of nature. According to Smith (1994), nature should not be abused and exploited, and an individual is required to befriend it instead of conquering it.

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