What is Taoism?

Ten Things we Know About Taoism

1. The third religion of China, after Buddhism and Confucianism. It’s core scripture being a small book of 80 or so poems and jottings (the Tao-te Ching/Daode Jing), beginning with  – ‘that which can be talked about is not the Tao’. It certainly does not lack a sense of humor!

2.  Known for speaking of being in ‘harmony with all things’, practicing quietism (periods of quiet), and being pacifist.

3. Is the bedrock for the present-day practices of qigong, Tai-chi and health preservation exercises, due to it developing a language for the internal world of the body/mind.

4.  Rather too fond of obscure and enigmatic utterances and one-liners, probably due to its penchant for an immersion in nature.

5.  Has imbued the whole of Chinese culture, with its ideas of moderation (Yin-Yang), ‘less is more’, and (sometimes) a panoply of spirits.

6.  Underpins traditional Chinese medicine with its spirit of ‘scientific’ inquiry and elemental substance.

7.  Its traditional founders were Laozi (or Lao Tzu, ‘the old chap’) and Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu), writing well before 100 BCE.  Zhuangzi is known for his ‘butterfly dream’ story.

8.  Has been described by Professor Joseph Needham as ‘the future model of scientific thought for mankind’.

9.  Wrote extensively about the internal machinations of the body, in the language of ‘internal alchemy’ and was the first culture to suggest an ‘elixir of everlasting life’ along with the transformation of ‘lead into GOLD – ideas which paved the way for modern chemistry.

10. Is uncannily close to Modern Physics, relativity and quantum theory, discussing ‘nothingness’, ‘non-action’ and interpenetration, and seeking to move beyond the every-day constraints of time.