What is Taoism? Taoism is an ancient Chinese religion and a philosophical approach to life which emphasizes living in harmony with Tao or “the way.” Tao is the source of and force behind everything that exists, hence Tao is also a set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices geared towards living in accordance with one’s own true nature. Through meditation, non-action, naturalness, and spontaneity, “the way” becomes clear. The three ‘treasures’ of Taoism (or Daoism) are compassion, moderation, and humility.
The Path of Taoism
Greatly influenced by the ancient classic Chinese texts, notions of ying and yang are prominent in Taoism, which prescribes a system of daily living that includes divination practice and practices which help one live a more graceful, authentic life. The path of Taoism is the path of discovering who you are, accepting yourself, and living in accordance with your true nature.
Teaching people to live in accordance with their heart, the president of the China Taoist Association explains: “Taoism tells us that harmony should be achieved between human beings and nature. Taoism can be helpful in solving modern problems – it encourages people to stop wars, live peacefully with nature, avoid extravagant consumption and give up fierce competition.”
A holistic philosophy of life which incorporates elements from Buddhism and other Eastern spiritual traditions, Tao practices offer a fresh perspective on classic teachings, as well as practical methods on how to achieve more clarity and optimal well-being. Many holistic practices are associated with Taoism today, including:
- Martial arts (i.e. Kung Fu)
- Buddhist teachings
- Qi Gong
- Longevity exercises
- Herbal remedies
- And more
Tao Principle Ideas
Taoism embraces the following main ideas:
- Acceptance of one’s life
- Following the breath to achieve peace
- Opening a smile to enable possibility
- There is no wrong path
- Experience life authentically
Personal Tao and Taoism Classes
If you are looking for Taoism guide, a personal Tao is a good place to start. Reading the ancient texts and exploring their pearls of wisdom is also recommended, as is finding a Taoist temple or local sage to talk to and gain a fresh, outside perspective. There are also Taoist Centers, Taoism classes, and even Taoist retreats available.