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The Core Beliefs of Taoism

Whenever we thinks of Taoist beliefs, we must figure out a mixture made of ancient traditions, philosophies and rituals/superstitions.

Actually there are two kinds of Taoism: the philosophical and the religious. The first is related to Lao-tzu and his famous Tao-te ching, and leads to initiation into the spiritual doctrine aiming of uniting one with the Tao.

The ideogram for Tao picture
The ideogram for Tao is made of two signs for foot and head meaning the consciously walking or the way of the ancient sovereigns

Tao is known as the creator and support of the Universe (wang-wu = the 10.000 things). It is also the model of conduct for the Taoist disciples.

The pattern of this conduct is determined on the basis of several key notions, such as: wu-wei (translated nondoing), wu (emptiness), and fu (return).

Each of these concepts traces specific ways of being and acting. Generally speaking they are the very core of the Taoism beliefs and way of living.

Taoist healthpreserving map
Taoist health preserving map (click to enlarge)

The religious Taoism consists, among others, in schools and disciplines which follow the ideal of health, longevity and immortality. Some of these schools are alchemical orientated. Others practice breathing exercises, sexual techniques or specific diet in order to attain their aim.

Finally, we must mention the Taoists' interest in talismans, magic and witchcraft and the spiritual services offered by priests, very much appreciated until the communist revolution.

Experts studying Taoism agree that these two branches - philosophical and religious - are not really separated as one might think. All along the Chinese spiritual history they mingle and influence each other to form new schools of thought.

Taoist talismanTaoist talisman (click to enlarge)

The Taoist philosophy is not limited to the theoretical approach of the problems related to the birth of the universe, the eternal change, the way of the saints and other such exciting themes.

An old tradition of meditation practices is also available mostly consisting in the urge to empty our mind and acquire a panoramic view on social matters.

These practices are still actual and effective as they can help us to escape the threat  of depression, loneliness and lack of meaning that affect our modern societies.

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