Taoism Notes

The Chinese philosophy of Taoism (or Daoism) developed in the latter part of the Chou Dynasty, during a period of turmoil in which it was not clear that Chinese civilization would survive. It represents a naturalistic ideal of how one should live their life. The Chinese term Tao can be translated into English, meaning "the way." It is a philosophy which teaches that nature has a "way" in which it moves, and that people should passively accept the "way" of nature, rather than resist it. One concept related to this is that of wu-wei, which means "not doing." This means that people should not act unnaturally by doing things, but rather should openly accept the natural way. An emphasis is placed on the link between people and nature. Taoism teaches that this link lessened the need for rules and order, and leads one to a better understanding of the world.

Lao Tze: (570-490 BCE?) Chinese philosopher credited with originating Taoism/Daoism. His teachings were collected and published as the Tao-te Ching.

Tao-te-Ching: Collected teachings of Chinese philosopher Lao Tze, the founder of Taoism/Daoism.

Yin and Yang: Symbol used to illustrate the natural harmony that exists in the world. Everything must have an opposing force that allows the harmonious universe to exist.