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Taoism

Taoism Taoism or Daoism is a native Chinese religion that also has philosophical aspects, created approximately the 6th century BC by Lao Zi (Lao Tse) – a semi-mythical hermit and contemporary of Confucius- who left a mystical text known as Tao Te Ching ("The Way of Power"). This writing contains a collection of his wise sayings, compiled three centuries after its decease.

The Tao literally means “the Way” and its nature it hardly definable (some intellectuals consider that its central concept is indescribable). But, in general, it is the unifying and boundless force at the core of the universe.

Taoism is focused in the connection of the individual with the natural universe, so it sometimes might be thought as the Way of Nature -a doctrine of yielding to the inevitable forces of nature, and which promotes the neccesary harmony of the human being with such forces-. In its original and complex philosophy, everything is only one. Good and evil, life and death, light and darkness are all pieces of a single reality. In fact, Taoism is strongly linked with the famous term "Ying Yang" it is practice.

Taoism also teaches that common people can become gods when they have developed its internal Tao. The doctrine pursues conservation of health and immortality. Its ultimate aspiration is to become an immortal human being, obtainable through the cultivation of one's moral character and the perfection of one's ethical integrity.

Its philosophical side offers a contrast to Confucianism. The practice of Taoism affirms the virtues of meditation and withdrawal while Confucianism preaches duty to family and to society. That is why the Chinese art and literature have been deeply enriched by its ideas of contemplation, detachment and freedom from social concerns.

Zhang Daoling (Zhuang Zi) was the second great Taoist hermit master and like Lao Zi, he is a semi-mythical figure. In the 2nd century, Zhuang founded the Way of the Celestial Masters – the most important Taoist’s sect- and wrote a book of parables, a collection of beautiful allegorical tales that have delighted oriental readers for centuries.

In the mid-20th century the Chinese Taoist Association was established to rule Taoist activities. Decades after, during the Cultural Revolution, Taoism was banned, but currently it is experiencing an important revival, inside China and around the world.

Be aware that Taoist philosophy is centered on the mystical, so it is common that this religion is connected with folk religion, and that their followers venerate a number of gods and spirits.

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