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Early Religions: Taoism

Early Religions: Taoism

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Early Religions: Taoism

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  1. Early Religions: Taoism “The Tao surrounds everyone and therefore everyone must listen to find enlightenment.” -Lao-Tse (604-531 BCE)

  2. Practices of Taoism • ultimate goal is to become one with Tao • seek answers to life’s problems through inner meditation and outer observation • must nurture the ‘Chi’ given to them

  3. The Founder • Lao-Tse (604-531 BCE) • He has been credited with writing the seminal Taoist work Example Dao De Jing(道德經) • As well he is acknowledgedas the founding father of Taoism • Chinese name:老子

  4. Place of Origin - Taoism's origins have been traced backed to the prehistoric Chinese religion - The organization of the Dao De Jing is the first record of Taoism in the third or fourth century BCE -Taoism, became one of China’s great religions

  5. History Of Taoism • Tao roughly translates to “the path” • It evolved into a religious faith in 440 CE when it was adopted as a state religion • With the end of the Ch'ing Dynasty in 1911, state support for Taoism ended

  6. History Of Taoism (cont.) • After the Communist victory in 1949, religious freedom was severely restricted. • Monks were put into labour camps. Several million were reduced down to less then 50 000. • Some religious tolerance has been restored under Deng Xiao-ping from 1982 to the present time. 

  7. SYMBOLS • There are many symbols and images associated with Taoism. However, there is once central symbol, known as: THE YIN-YANG or TAIJITU (太極圖) • Yin (black) represents eternity, dark, feminine, left side of the body, etc. • Yang (white) is its opposite and represents history, light, masculine, right side of the body, etc. • Together they represent the peace and harmony of the opposing sides.

  8. ADHERENTS • Last year, the estimated Taoist population was 31 million outside China ( primarily centered in Taiwan) and around 30,000 Taoists living in North America. INFLUENCE IN THE 21st CENTURY • Taoism can be seen in Western societies in areas of acupuncture and herbalism, certain exercises and martial arts such as Tai-chi, and other art forms such as feng-shui.

  9. Tai Chi • slow moving exercise • balances energy flow, promoting healthy life • exercise that requires whole body concentration

  10. Taoism • three jewels: compassion, moderation and humility • Taoists follow art of ‘wu wei’ • strongly promote health and vitality

  11. Religious vs. Philosophical • rituals such as presenting sacrifices, bowing toward an altar holding insense in one’s hand, parades, dragon dances coinciding with lunar calendar