Taoism is both a religion and a philosophy that is practised in China. Laozi (Lao Tzu), one of the most popular mythological figure of the 4th century, developed this practice by writing and preaching it.
Taoism beliefs and practices are based on maintaining peace and harmony in nature so that one can become a deity and live forever through the deeds. It is against violence and promotes its disciples to live a happy and peaceful life.
Taoist ideas and views have become popular across the globe through Yin-Yang, Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong and other similar practices.
10 Taoism Beliefs and Practices
Taoism (Daoism), is a Chinese religion and philosophy, developed with the Daode Jing (Tao Te Ching), an ethical and political text allegedly written by Laozi (Lao Tzu) sometime in the 3rd or 4th centuries B.C.E.
Here are the 10 Taoism Beliefs and Practices that will help you gain a broader perspective about the religion;
1. Death and Afterlife
Taoism believes in the concept of “Life after Death”, i.e. the human spirit or Tao (cosmic energy) never dies, as it maintains its pure form even after leaving the corpse (Shijie). It believes that the spirit lived as a part of the Tao, even after death.
Taoism Beliefs and Practices on Death and Afterlife emphasizes the idea of “going with the flow”, which is now being followed by people across the globe from a whole range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
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2. Education and Teaching
Taoism Beliefs and practices on education might seem irrelevant as none of the writers advocated any form of public education.
But with a deeper understanding of the philosophies, the Taoist attitude towards education becomes clear, which is devising a system or program that could create a peaceful and healthy balance in society.
The Yin-Yang philosophy is based on the basic concept of the “balance” between nature. To attain this balance one must gain spiritual and physical education, from being a novice to being a complete expert in the field.
Thus, the Taoist life was understood not just as an alternative to human pursuits, but a pathway towards the complete transformation of one’s personal reality with all that is truly real and valuable, encompassing both society and the natural world.
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3. Marriage Rituals
Taoism Beliefs and practices on marriage are based on the “Spiritual union of the Tao”. In the marriage ritual, the couple sits in a Pakua, facing each other, with the family surrounding them. The marriage ceremony begins when the couple lights the 8 candles surrounding the Pakua.
The marriage rituals will vary depending upon the priest, who coordinates the Taoist marriage rituals based on their likes, dislikes and faith, the ceremony environment and the number of people attending the ceremony.
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When a religious position on abortion is discussed, it is often condemned by a majority of religions across the globe. But still, other religions permit abortion only in certain specific conditions. This makes it extremely important to understand such religions.
Taoism beliefs and practices on abortion are that it should not be encouraged. In Taoism practice, it is determined as the necessary evil, which is forbidden by the ethical codes of the religion. Only rarely such practice is promoted such as the mother’s health requires it. The final decision lies in the hands of the parents.
They view it as a last resort, which should only be taken in case of utmost emergency to save the life of others based on both ethical and moral grounds.
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5. God and Spirits
Taoism does not believe in Gods and Spirits in their culture, unlike many other Abrahamic religions, as it is a philosophy or way of life that can’t simply be put into words.
Taoism beliefs and practices in God and Spirits are that there is no invincible being beyond the cosmos that protects and runs the world. They believe in Tao, as the ultimate force that guides things in their ways, but the Tao itself is not a God, nor is it worshipped by Taoists.
Thus, it is an ancient Chinese philosophy and a religion that instructs the followers to exist in true harmony and peace with the universe by understanding the balance of nature.
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According to the Taoist texts and books, Nature is the true binding force, that maintains peace and harmony in the world.
Taoism beliefs and practices on nature are that Tao (Dao) is the force that embraces nature, by flowing through everything in the universe. It encourages working with the forces of nature, graphically represented by Yin-Yang (The balance of nature).
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7. Family and Parenting
Taoism is a Chinese religious philosophy that follows Tao (Dao), that do not believe in a single creator. They put faith in the natural order of the universe and emphasize harmony with nature.
Taoism Beliefs and practices on Family and Parenting are based on the principle that one must live a peaceful life and spread the same with family. It is based on the 3 virtues of Taoism a.k.a. the 3 Jewels of Tao i.e.
- Empathy, Sympathy and Love
- Control, Simplicity and Prudence
- Modesty and Reserve
One must encourage their kids to visit Taoist religious places and let them choose if they wish to follow it with the same faith or not because the religion teaches us to go with the flow, to understand the true balance of nature.
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8. Good and Evil
Good and Evil are the balancing forces of nature that work opposite to one another. Good things help to grow and become better while bad things break you into pieces and lead you towards death.
Taoism beliefs and practices on Good and Evil are that good flows with the way of Tao and empowers us to grow while evil is something that acts as a resistance to the growth. Evil damages the flow from the Tao. The way to overcome evil is to follow Tao, to realize wu-wei in life.
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9. Salvation and Immortality
Taoism beliefs and practices on salvation are that they don’t preach any such practices and there is nothing one should be saved from. They think that the belief in salvation means that they have to believe in damnation (As Good and Bad).
They believe that one must focus on the “Way of Life” and not on the materialistic things as this would lead their path towards eternity. In the Chinese culture, the prime importance of all spiritual beings is given to Xian (Immortals).
In the Chuang-Tzu, these beings are known to dwell far away in a calm place, where they experience a natural existence. They are believed to be youthful and are believed to eat nothing but air, drink nothing but dew, and enjoy the power of flight.
These potent beings are believed to be valued in the group of 8 Immortals, who are said to have been born in the Tang Dynasty.
10. Individuality and Harmony
Taoism beliefs and practices on individuality and harmony are the basic pillars that guide them towards the path of nature rather than society. They teach that one must lean their path towards learning the “Way of Life” by following Tao (Dao).
It also believes in bringing harmony by following meditation and disengagement from the materialistic pleasures of the world. Through meditation and Yoga, one can develop the peace of body and mind in the world of desires and needs.
Taoism beliefs and practices are designed such that one always focuses on keeping others before one’s self. It teaches to keep other’s interest ahead of their own. By being kind and helpful to others, one can achieve peace and harmony in life.
It believes in the concept of simplicity and encourages the followers to perform good deeds to seek mental peace and live a happy life.