Best Taoism in 2022

The Essence of Taoism

Shang-ch'ing's revelations promise to preserve the world after a purging. Upon his arrival, the "Sage of the Latter Days," or hou-sheng, will eliminate the negative forces of the world and create a new world order for the "seed people." These revelations were only a small influence on later centuries of Taoism, however, since they failed to produce felicities.


The Tao Te Ching is a classic text from China, attributed to the sage Laozi. Its composition and authorship dates are debated, however, and there are many interpretations. The essence of Taoism can be summarized in two quotes from the Tao. Laozi was a sage and philosopher of the Han Dynasty, and his teachings are considered timeless and universal.

The Old Master, Lao-tzu, served in the Chou capital for many years, but became disillusioned with the corrupt political climate and retired. While residing in a monastery, he was asked by a gatekeeper to write down his teachings. His 5,000-character-long text describes his theory of tao and te, or tao. His theory was subsequently known as Tao te ching.


The term Taoism is an euphemism for the fundamental nature of the universe. This unnameable, primordial force predates and encompasses all of life. It is considered to be the flow of 'chi' energy, which maintains the equilibrium and balance of the Tao. There are numerous parallels between the various levels of existence, from the universe to mankind. The concept is a blend of indigenous religious heritage and classical philosophy.

The first precept of Taoism is called the 'Yin' and is one of the four pillars of the 'Yin' philosophy. This theory suggests that every act of life has an equal and opposite counter-action, which creates an endless cycle of motion and flow. Taoism also teaches that the third treasure is a six-character phrase, meaning simplicity of desire. It outlines the taoist way of life, and seeks to avoid premature death through the cultivation of this phrase.

Lao-tzu's writings

Often, the language and symbols of the Laozi are obscure and difficult to understand. For instance, in chapter 2 of the Laozi, the "mutual production" of being and nonbeing is described. Yet in chapter 40, it states that being originates from nonbeing. These differences in the language and symbols make it difficult to pinpoint the source of the writings. However, there are some points in common between the different versions.

The Way of Life, or the Dao De Jing and Ching, was written by Lao-tzu in 259 BCE and is considered one of the most important works of Taoism. While Laozi did not advocate any particular political system, many scholars view it as a form of anarchy or hierarchy. Instead, he believed that the ultimate goal is to understand one's nature and live by it.


The earliest texts describing the teachings of Lao-tsang Taoisim cite the work of Chang-kao, a mysterious healer who claimed to have received a revelation, meng-wei, and covenant from Lord Lao. His followers hailed him as a celestial master, and later founded a religious organization. The Hsiang-erh (or medicinal herbs) that he created was presumably produced by his descendants.

In the T'ang period (618-907), Chinese rulers began to recognize the leaders of the Cheng-i school and summoned them to perform rites in the imperial court. In fact, one Manchu emperor named a Cheng-i priest his grand minister. However, in the mid-nineteenth century, a harsh emperor, known as Ch'ien-lung, banished the Taoists from his court.


While the Laozi commentary places emphasis on the ideal nature of the yin-yang system, most commentators in traditional China have seen the Dao as fickle, as if it were not stable or fixed. Rather, it reveals the ideal state of the yin-yang system as one of harmony and fecundity. This view is not limited to the Tao-tsang Taoist texts.

Dao, or the Dao, cannot be considered as the source of being. Infinite regress cannot be overcome by the Dao as the source of being. In contrast, Laozi uses the concept of "nonbeing," wu, to represent a radical transcendence of the ground of being. This concept has many applications in modern studies. As such, it is important to understand that Tao-tsang Taoism is a philosophy that emphasizes the nature of being, not a religion.

Taoist sages

The teachings of the Taoist sages have been hailed for centuries for their transformational impact on human consciousness, community organization, and the cultivation of the common good. For example, in the translation of Sun Tzu's Art of War, Huainanzi, the sages discuss the organization of healthy societies, managing the complexity of group dynamics, and cultivating harmony, freedom, and sustainability in the world.

The Taoist sages warn against greed, arguing that humans were born to live simply and without ambition. They are not in it to make themselves wealthy or powerful. They are meant to be free of desire and knowledge. According to the sages, if people follow the dao, they will be eternally young, without the need for material possessions, and free of all conflict. In addition, they have a long life, and they are unhurried by the world around them.

Daoist sages

The writings of the Daoist sages were preserved and rediscovered through a variety of methods. One of the most popular was the collection of writings by Yang Xi, who formed the basis for Highest Purity Daoism. In addition to being well-written, these texts contained exquisite calligraphy. The text itself dates from about 166 CE and is the oldest extant work by a Daoist sage.

The word "sage" means "wise person." In Taoism, a sage is one who has acquired wisdom and knowledge that goes beyond intellectual learning to a more intuitive understanding of life. In the past, Taoist sages have discussed four main principles of the Taoist way of life: the interconnectedness of all things and the underlying unity of their apparent opposites. The yin-yang philosophy also teaches us that a person can achieve power by aligning themselves with the Tao.


The origins of Taoism can be traced back to prehistoric China, and it has exerted a powerful influence on Chinese culture throughout the centuries. As the times changed, the doctrines and practices of Taoism changed as well. In addition, Taoism practices were refined and the doctrines adapted to accommodate the changing world. Today, Taoism continues to influence Chinese culture.

In the philosophy of Taoism, there is a central idea called the tao, which describes the order of the universe in harmony with the virtues of compassion and moderation. The ying-yang symbol represents the polar forces, and these two concepts have been compared to Confucianism and other ancient systems of philosophy. While both systems address the daily rules of conduct, Taoism is concerned with the spiritual level.

Distinctive characteristics

Although the art of calligraphy is widely practiced throughout the world, there are some distinct characteristics of Taoism. These characteristics are called Pa-Ping, which mean "integral perfection". The art of Taoism is the only tradition where self-cultivation is considered a major component. Consequently, learning to read tai chi chuan requires some practice. Listed below are some of the key characteristics of Taoism.

The fundamental philosophy of Taoism is that everything in the universe is an expression of a balancing force, or 'yin'. 'Yin' stands for the two opposites and matching pairs, which in turn represent the whole. It is the principle that everything is connected to one another and that nothing makes sense on its own. The practice of 'wu wei' involves abstaining from doing anything contrary to nature.

Origins in prehistoric folk religions

The earliest evidence for Taoism dates back to prehistoric folk religions in the Shang Dynasty. Peasants of that time, who were in close contact with nature, incorporated the idea of eternal life into their beliefs. Trees that died in winter would reappear in the spring and grass would grow again. They concluded that people went somewhere after they died. Confucians held similar beliefs, and believed that their ancestors continued to live after death.

During the Song Dynasty, the philosophy of the early Taoists was increasingly influenced by local folk religions. Many of these religions embraced natural values and a non-political government. The earliest Taoist texts express skepticism toward conventional moralities and Mencius' benevolence-based revisions. Early Taoists were also critical of hierarchical social structures.

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