Regents Prep: Global History: World Belief Systems
Taoism
Background
The Chinese philosophy of Taoism (or Daoism) developed in the latter part of the Chou Dynasty, during a period of turmoil in which it was not clear that Chinese civilization would survive. It represents a naturalistic ideal of how one should live their life.

The Basics
Founder
-The Chinese philosopher Lao Tze.
Geographic Origin-Developed in China around 500 BCE.
Currently Practiced-Elements of this philosophy are still practiced in Southeast Asia.
Significant Writings-Tao-te-Ching

Teachings and Beliefs
The Chinese term Tao can be translated into English, meaning "the way." It is a philosophy which teaches that Yin-Yang Symbolnature has a "way" in which it moves, and that people should passively accept the "way" of nature, rather than resist it. One concept related to this is that of wu-wei, which means "not doing." This means that people should not act unnaturally by doing things, but rather should openly accept the natural way. An emphasis is placed on the link between people and nature.  Taoism teaches that this link lessened the need for rules and order, and leads one to a better understanding of the world.

The Yin and Yang symbol (pictured above) has also been used to illustrate the natural harmony that exists in the world. Everything must have an opposing force that allows the harmonious universe to exist. For example:

Yin Yang
Light Dark
Male Female
Heavenly Earthly
Active Passive

Web Resources
The Geography of Taoism
(Morehead University)
Taoism
(Ontario Consultants)

 

Created by Thomas Caswell
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