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What You Need to Know About Taoism

Taoism, also spelled as Daoism, is known to be one of the most famous Chinese philosophies still practiced in the modern world. The philosophy essentially wants us to balance our lives with the universe and let life flow as it is. It places importance on the cultivation of self. 

Its founding father, the Chinese philosopher Laozi, created the philosophy based on his own efforts in wanting to reform the corrupt government during his time through his teachings of virtue and justice. Taoism emphasizes that all living creatures are meant to live in a state of harmony. 

Here are some of the fundamental concepts of Taoism:


1. Cosmology

Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the School of Yin-yang and was deeply influenced by one of its oldest texts. This text expounds on a philosophical system to keep human behavior in line with the constant alternating cycles of nature. Taoism illustrates the notion that single entities and phenomena originate from the Dao. The Dao is both the “ultimateless” (or “limitless,” wuji) and the “great ultimate” (taiji). This is all based on the principle of the unity of the cosmos.


2. Understanding of the Body

Taoism views the human individual as a “microcosm” that corresponds to the big world as a “macrocosm.”   In religious Taoism, the body is inhabited by the same gods as those of the macrocosm.

The philosophy places importance on the spiritual body versus the physical one. Taoism sees the body as an instrument for “returning to the Dao.”

It even has three terms in relation to the “body.” The first word, ti, or “body,” refers to the physical body. The second term, xing, or “form,” is the principle of individuality at the physical level. The third term, shen, denotes the human being in all of his or her physical and non-physical aspects.


3. Return to the Dao

Tao (or Dao) is a cosmic force that flows through all things, binds and releases them. Taoism emphasizes that it’s ideal for every individual to return to original purity by “returning to the Dao” and the natural flow of life.


4. Change and transformation

This Taoism belief emphasizes that all things are subject to change and transform based on the cosmos’ rhythm. Zhuangzi, an ancient Chinese Taoist philosopher, related this belief of transformation through an activity of a potter and the bronze caster. They focus on shaping and transforming things to what they are meant to represent. This influenced the Chinese belief that change is inevitable, constant, and normal as it shows the cosmos taking a significant role in transforming our character and our lives.

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