Daoism is a Chinese religion that focuses on observing and learning about Dao. Translated into English, Dao means the Way. It is sometimes spelt Taoism. Its inception dates to 6th Century BC. And the inspiration for the religion of Daoism was a man named Laozi. He was a philosopher who wrote the book called Dao De Jing. The religion focuses on balance, healthy living, and the Way. Leading a pure and virtuous life, according to Daoism, can lead to immortality.
Dao De Jing explains and gives examples of Daoism. In the 6th century, the religion was not so popular nor did many observe it. However, with a new leader named Zhuangzi, in the 4th century Daoism became more popular.
The largest period of popularity for Daoism was around 100 AD when a Chinese hermit named Zhang Daoling founded a sector of Daoism called the Way of the Celestial Matters. Daoling was quite intent upon spreading the Chinese religion of Daoism.
Basically Daoism teaches that life should be lived to the fullest and that a person should be happy. Suffering has no place in the religion’s philosophy. It focuses on balance and peace. During the Tang Dynasty, it became recognized as the official religion of China. This was around 618-906 AD. There were many times in Chinese history when the followers of Buddhism disagreed with the followers of Daoism. At the times that Buddhists were in control, many important Dao historical papers, books, and documents were burned by them. This destruction also happened during 1966-1976, a time that was called the Cultural Revolution. Many people still practice this peaceful religion today.
Daoism has evolved to be a belief that uses rituals, talisman, ceremonies of thanks, retreats, and abstinence to promote healthy living. Many Daoists are also vegetarians and keeping their bodies healthy and pure are very important. Meditation and controlled breathing exercises are very important to believers of Daoism. The Dao, or The Way is still very important today. This truth is a method of peace and yin-yang focus for living. De is an important word to the religion that defines one who has virtue and integrity, two major components of Daoism. According to Daoism, observing all the ways of The Truth can lead to blessed immortality. Immortality is the ultimate goal of a Daoist.
The peaceful and healthy ideas of Daoism have helped to make this Chinese religion stand the test of time.