College and University > Religion > Taoism
Taoism is a religion with a Chinese origin. It started from the writings of Lao Tzu in about the 4th century BCE. How the religion is practiced seems quite confusing to many people, though. The definition of the so-called “Tao” is especially puzzling.
To practitioners of Taoism, the Tao cannot be defined. They say that one should not seek its definition at first, for it will define itself later on as one goes along. Others would call the Tao as the ultimate cosmic force that flows through everything, but such a definition is often viewed as very vague.
Because it is a folk religion of the early Chinese, Taoism often focuses on nature worship. Followers of Taoism aims to achieve a life in complete balance with the Tao, which they believe is what maintains the harmony of the universe.
Speaking of harmony, this is a core principle of Taoism. Balance is key, as in the symbol of yin and yang. Living in harmony with one another is actually one of Lao Tzu’s teachings. In his book called the Tao-Te-Ching, there are three lines of poetry that say “Yield and overcome. Empty and become full. Bend and become straight.” Again, the key concept of balance is emphasized in these short statements. Indirectly, they teach humility, peace of mind, and having a teachable attitude.
Most of the content of the Tao-Te-Ching reminds people that they are connected to others as well as to the earth. As such, they should be conscious of how their thoughts and actions affect others around them, and in so doing, they can live in peace and harmony with one another.
Taoists also believe that there are no “bad people”, only people who behave badly. As such, they claim that people need to be guided into the right path so that they can become “good people” who live in harmony with others.