Taoism (or Daoism, as it is popularly known in many countries) is a religious and philosophical system that exists from a prehistorically folk tradition in China. Tao refers to ‘path’, ‘way’ or nature and defines the natural world and the course of all natural things. Thus, Taoism refers to the path towards establishing peace with the Tao. Taoism is incredibly influential in China and its surrounding countries. Taoism emphasizes on humility, compassion and moderation. These are also known as the ‘jewels of Taoism’.
The philosophical Taoism is not institutionalized; however religious Taoism is orderly and institutionalized. One of the most wide read texts of Taoism is the Tao- Te-ching. Following are a few of its contents:
- The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and
unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and
- Always without desire we must be found,
if its deep mystery we would sound;
but if desire always within us be,
its outer fringe is all that we shall see.
Tao within itself consists of various concepts like the Te, Wu Wei and Pu. Te deals with power and integrity. Wu Wei is associated with effortless actions or doing and Pu (as an extension of Wu Wei) is considered to teach living without any additional illusions. Tao can be considered a book, with its three concepts as various chapters teaching the methods of simple living. Taoism also embodies within itself the fact that the human body is nothing but a microscopic element in the vast universe. The body is bound, by the Chinese beliefs, with five elements. There are five organs that draw a parallel to the five elements of earth, five directions and the various seasons. Understanding this truth of life would lead the human to attain a higher sense of spirituality.