Taoism Research And Reflection... Essay

1504 words - 6 pages

If you were to translate the word Tao into English it would be defined as path, or the way. However it is basically indefinable. It is not tangible it, has to be experienced. Taoism refers to a power which envelops, surrounds, and flows through all things, living and non-living. The "Tao" regulates natural processes and nourishes balance in the universe. It embodies the harmony of opposites. For example; there would be no love without hate, no light without dark, no male without female.The founder of Taoism is said by many to be Lao-Tse, an ex-follower of Confucius. He was searching for a way that would avoid the constant warfare that disrupted society during his life. His result was his book the Tao-te-Ching. Others believe that Lao-Tse is a mythical character.Taoism started as a combination of psychology and philosophy but evolved into a religious faith in 440 AD when it was adopted as a state religion. At that time Lao-Tse became popularly recognized as a god. Taoism, beside Buddhism and Confucianism, became one of the three great religions of China. So it gave the Chinese a little more choice in what they wanted to believe in. The fall of the Ching Dynasty in 1911 brought the end of state support for Taoism. Much of the Taoist tradition was shattered during the next period of warlordism. After the communist victory in 1949, religious freedom was very restricted. The new government put monks to manual labor, confiscated temples, and plundered treasures. By the 1960s the millions of monks were reduced to only 50,000. During the Cultural Revolution in China, much of the remaining Taoist heritage was destroyed. Some religious tolerance has been brought back under Deng Xiao-ping from 1982 to the present time.Now Taoism has about 20 million followers, and is mainly centered in Taiwan. About 30,000 Taoists live in North America and about 1,720 live in Canada according to a 1991 census review. Taoism has had a major impact on North American culture like martial arts, acupuncture, holistic medicine, herbalism, and meditation.Tao is believed to be the first cause of the universe. It is a force that flows through all life. It is in everything so you must listen to receive enlightenment. Each believer's goal is to become one with Tao. Taoist priests view the many gods as manifestations of the one Tao. The thought of a real god is unknown to them, so is the idea of the creation of the universe. Therefore, they do not pray as we do; there is no God to hear the prayers or to act upon them. They look for answers to life's problems through inner meditation and outer observation. In comparison with the beliefs and practices of the priesthood, most Taoists have believed that spirits pervaded nature. Taoists generally have an interest in promoting health and vitality. Taoists usually have an interest in health and vitality. One should plan ahead and carefully consider each action before making it. They believe that you should take care of your Ch'i, or your air,...

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