Tao’s literal translation is “path” or “way”. Some have attempted to describe the Tao as “the way the universe works” – the changing from night to day, growth and decline – are all effortless aspects of the cycles of life. A few of the beliefs held by Taoist are:
- Submission, flexibility and profound awareness of the natural order are essential.
- A rejection of calculated restless, goal oriented efforts.
- A belief that the Tao manifests itself everywhere.
- A trust in the benefits of effortless, spontaneous action in accordance with the requirements of the time.
- An understanding that the Tao is eternally new, creative and beyond any literal expression.
In Taoist philosophy there is an emphasis on the importance of balance in all things
The fundamental precept of Taoism could be said to reflect the principle of action based on the natural world. A Taoist believes that the individual should seek the truth by adapting a patient, accepting view on natural patterns and influences worthy of emulation.
Taoism elevates the principles of non-control and non-interference. The goal of a Taoist is to attain complete simplicity through prolonged observation and mediation. This simplicity should also be combined with a profound faith in the natural process and transcend any restless struggling or desire. To pursue the Tao, one must seek to live in complete harmony with the patterns of nature. The goal is to live openly and in touch with nature.
This ancient Chinese religious and philosophical system originated from the Tao Te Ching, written by the Chinese philosopher, Lae-Tzu (d. approximately 520 B.C.E.) this text still remains central to the Taoist philosophy. However, some scholars believe that the Tao Te Ching is, in fact, a compilation of many ancient sources and not solely the work of one man.
The Tao Te Ching is one of the shortest primary religious texts in the world (there are just under 5,000 words). The Tao Te Ching is also recognised by Confucianism as an important text.
Another Chinese philosopher responsible for some of the Taoist foundations is Chuang-Tzu (c. 369 – 286 B.C.E.), he wrote collections of satirical parables and allegories which are meant to illustrate the relative nature of all “rational” processes and assumptions.[ close window ]