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Taoism: Historical Development

Page history last edited by Dillon 12 years, 2 months ago

Taoism: Historical Development

     

History of Taoism:

     Tao(pronounced "Dow") can be some what translated into English as path, or the way. It basically has no definition. It "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 (i.e. there would be no love without hate, no light without dark, no male without female.)"

 

     The founder of Taoism is believed to be Lao-Tse (604-531 BCE), a contemporary of Confucius. He was searching for a way that would avoid the constant feudal warfare and other conflicts that disrupted society during his lifetime. The result was his book: Tao-te-Ching (a.k.a. Daodejing). Others believe that he is a mythical character. 

 

     Taoism started as a combination of psychology and philosophy but evolved into a religious faith in 440 CE when it was adopted as a state religion. Taoism, along with Buddhism and Confucianism, became one of the three great religions of China. Much of the Taoist heritage was destroyed during the next period of warlordism. After the Communist victory in 1949, religious freedom was severely restricted. "The new government put monks to manual labor, confiscated temples, and plundered treasures. Several million monks were reduced to fewer than 50,000" by 1960.  During the cultural revolution in China from 1966 to 1976, much of the remaining Taoist heritage was destroyed.  

    

 

      Taoism currently has about 20 million followers, and is primarily centered in Taiwan. About 30,000 Taoists live in North America; 1,720 in Canada (1991 census). Taoism has had a significant impact on North American culture in areas of "acupuncture, herbalism, holistic medicine, meditation and martial arts..."

 

Souces: http://www.religioustolerance.org/taoism.htm

             en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism

             www.religiousworlds.com/taoism/index.html

 

 

                                                               

 

 

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