Taoism Mikala Green
Facts • Taoism, also known as Daoism, is an indigenous Chinese religion. • Created in the 3rd or 4th century B.C.E. • Created using Laozi’s biography. • Laozi was recorded to live between 160 and 200 years due to his self- cultivation and longevity practices. • Taode Jing and Shili are biography’s that hold most sacred information. • Embellished with mythical elements • Many contemporary historians believe that as a historical figure, Laozi never existed at all.
Facts continued • One long enduring legend of Laozi is that his virginal mother concieved him through the radiance of the Pole Star (a central symbol of Taoism). She carried him for 81 years, but he left her body each night to study the Tao. She gave birth to him through her left armpit, leaning against a plum tree. He was born and old man with white hair. • Laozi means Old Child. • Taoism is one of the four major religions of China.
Beliefs • There is no one sacred narrative that is more meaningful than all others. • According to the Taode jing, something existed before “heaven and earth,” this was called Tao. • All natural phenomenon are generated by the alternation between yin and yang energies. • The cycle of existence spontaneously moves through the five phases: water, fire, wood, metal and earth. • Within everything is qi. The animating breath that is the source of all life.
Beliefs Continued • Tao is not an entity or divine being. • Queen Mother of the West was an early deity that is still worshipped today. • Taiya, the Great Unity or the Supreme One, is another. • He is regarded as the deity who resides in the Great Dipper and built and unified the Nine Palaces of Heaven.
Rituals • Sacred time: Meditating to “return to the root,” or experience the cosmos before creation occurred. • Sacred Space: Goes hand in hand with Sacred time. Space that symbolizes the cosmos. Created right before ritual, and returns to normal after. • Rites and ceremonies: funeral rites or periodic rites on behalf of ancestors; rites on behalf of local communities.
Rituals and devotion In daily life • Each Taoshi, Taoist priests, has an "office" where the household altar is kept, along with statues or paintings of deities and important figures in Taoist history. • When an individual comes to consult, first the layperson will explain his or her problem or illness, while the Taoshi quietly listens. He will then quickly write a talismanic symbol that embodies the energy of his vital power to be transferred to his "client." This talisman will either be carried until the problem is resolved, or ingested by burning and dissolving the ashes in water, or rolled into a little ball and taken as a pill.
Self-cultivating practices • gymnastic or breath-control exercises, special diets, meditation, etc. • Visualization practices are common, such as visualizing the gods within the body or visualizing journeys to the celestial palaces. • performed on certain days, and at certain times of the day, establishing harmony with the celestial realms. • these exercises are meant to "Keep the One.”
Symbolism • Cranes, birds in general, pine tree’s and evergreen’s are symbols of immortality. • The gourd symbolizes medicine or chaos. • Caves symbolize mystery. • The tiger and dragon symbolize yin and yang • A flaming pearl symbolizes the One, Pole Star, and the original qi. • This symbol is used to signify full initiation as a Taoist priest, and is often found on the roofs of Taoist temples between two dragons.
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Leadership • In the Zhengi Taoist tradition, the priest is almost always married, which is required to become a priest of the highest rank. • Priest can be of any social class and be male or female, though most are male. • Quanzhen clergy typically reside in monasteries. • Quanzhen nuns are less likely to be engaged with the community, but some become influential and high-ranking figures
Gender and sexuality • Tao have always had a positive attitude toward women. • The idea of balancing male and female energies is fundamental to Taoism • One early practice was ritual sexual intercourse by unmarried people. The goal was the union of yin and yang energies.
Where is this practiced? • Today, there are 20 million Taoists worldwide. Most live in China, Taiwan or Southeast Asia. Taoism is also increasingly influential in the West, especially in the fields of alternative medicine and martial arts like Tai Chi.
Society and This religion • Taoism has had profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries. • Beyond China, Taoism also had influence on surrounding societies in Asia. • Chinese alchemy, Chinese astrology, Zen Buddhism, several martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, and many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history.
WORKS CITED! "Patheos Library." Taoism Origins, Taoism History, Taoism Beliefs. Web. 04 May 2012. <http://www.patheos.com/Library/Taoism.html>. "Fast Facts on Taoism (Daoism)." Fast Facts on Taoism. Web. 04 May 2012. <http://www.religionfacts.com/taoism/fastfacts.htm>. "Taoism." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 05 Apr. 2012. Web. 04 May 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism>. "Topic Page: Taoism." Taoism. Web. 04 May 2012. <http://www.credoreference.com/topic/taoism>.