Two great philosophers who influenced the Chinese thought were Confucius and Lao-tzu, the latter founding Taoism. Lao-tzu, said to have lived between 604 and 531 BC, based his religion on right conduct and practice of thrift, humanity and compassion. Form and ceremony held no place in his religion. Some of the other principles preached by Taoism are simplicity, patience, contentment and harmony. Taoism began its decline about AD 906, especially after the Tang Dynasty, and today its followers number few that 52 million, many abandoning it and embracing Buddhism. In 2005, altogether, there were said to be 27,34,000 Taoists worldwide.
According to Taoism, the universe is believed to be kept in balance by the opposing forces of yin and yang that operate in dynamic tension between themselves. Yin is female and watery; the force in the moon and rain which reach its peak in winter; yang is masculine and solid; the force in the sun and earth which reaches its peak in the summer. The interaction of yin and yang is beloved to shape all life.
From the fourth century, rivalry between Taoist and Mahayana Buddhists was strong in China, leading to persecution of one religion by the other. This was resolved by mutual assimilation, and Taoism developed monastic communities similar to those of the Buddhist.
- Who is the founder of Taoism ?
- How universe is controlled according to Taoism ?
- What is the significance of Yin and Yang ?
- Taoism: Growth of a Religion by Isabelle Robinet and Phyllis Brooks
- Practical Taoism by Thomas Cleary
- Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance by C. Alexander Simpkins and Annellen Simpkins
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Taoism by Brandon Toropov; Chad Hansen
- The Shambhala Guide to Taoism (Shambhala Guides) by Eva Won
- The Inner Teachings of Taoism by Chang Po-tuan and Thomas Cleary
- Taoism: The Road to Immortality by John Blofeld
- Taoism by Ken Cohe
- 365 Tao: Daily Meditations by Ming-dao Deng
- Eastern Religions: Hinduism, Buddism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto by Michael D. Coogan