Daoism is a religion that originated in China. It was established in the Eastern Han Dynasty, but its origin was much earlier. The earliest source of Daoism was primitive religion and witchcraft.
In primitive societies, people could not understand natural phenomena, and they believed the spirits and deities had a dominant role in their lives.
Daoism is a philosophy, a Religion, and a way of life that arose in the 6th century BCE in what is now the eastern Chinese province of Henan. It has strongly influenced the culture and religious life of China and other East Asian countries ever since.
Therefore, people started worshipping them and used prayers for their blessings in good fortune and the elimination of disasters.
The other source of origin started in the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Periods when people used alchemy for elixirs which they believed could guarantee longevity and even immortality.
Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, and Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty were devout believers of such alchemy and they had dispatched people to the high sea to seek elixirs. The third source is Daoism thought.
Concept of Dao
The “Dao itself is a relatively mysterious concept. With theories of health and energy preservation, and immortality being included, Daoism thought had evolved into a religion-Daoism.
The formal establishment of Daoism happened in the Eastern Han Dynasty during Emperor Shundi’s reign in the 2nd century. Zhang Daoling, the founder of Daoism, practiced Dao in Humming Mountain, Sichuan Province. He composed The Book of Dao, with 24 chapters in it, and regarded Lao Zi as the original master.
Zhang provided medical treatment to people with holy water and spells. He also taught people the practices of Dao. Before too long, he had many followers. Zhang arranged his followers into 24 zones according to the locations they lived. In each of the 24 zones, a venue was assigned for the followers to hold meetings. Such venues later became Daoist temples.
There would also be a person in charge of the Wine Offering ceremony who served as a manager of each zone. Such persons later became the Daoist clergymen. To become a member of Zhang’s organization, one had to pay for five pecks of rice, thus came the name “Daoism of Five Pecks of Rice”.
Zhang Daoling claimed to be the Heavenly Teacher, the teacher from Heaven to teach Dao. Like other religions, Daoism has many schools and branches formed in the course of its development.
Who is Zhang Daoling ?
Zhang Daoling was a Chinese religious leader who lived during the Eastern Han Dynasty credited with founding the Way of celestial masters sect of Taoism, which is also known as the way of the five pecks and he was the founder of Taoism.
Characteristics of Daoism ?
The basic characteristic of Daoism is that it has retained a lot of folk beliefs and ways of alchemy, and has included many deities in folk beliefs in its pantheon. For example, Lord Guan and Lady Mazu have become deities in Daoism.
Such characteristics have enabled Daoism’s close link with the Chinese traditional culture, folk customs, and daily life. Longevity and immortality were the pursuits of the Daoists. They practiced for health and for spiritual self-cultivation.
They helped evict evil spirits and provided medical treatment to attract followers. Even though immortality is hard to achieve, the exercises for health and spiritual self-cultivation had been welcomed. Exorcism had even been popular for ordinary people in times when there was a lack of medical treatment and medicines.
Therefore, Daoism has demonstrated strong vitality for a long period of time. The Dao of health preservation is of great importance to the Daoists. They have created different forms of exercises for physical and breathing training to enhance health preservation.
These exercises have been regarded as the direct root for some of China’s traditional medicine, Qigong, and martial arts, and are still very popular today. For example, Taiji Quan (the Taichi Boxing) had been created by the Daoist practitioners in the Wudang Mountain, a famous mountain of the Daoist Wudang School During the long period of development.
Daoism contributed to the formation of traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese herbal medicine. Many Chinese medicines came into existence due to the development of Daoist alchemy.
What are the basic beliefs of Daoism?
Daoism has been associated with the scholar Lao Tzu, who around 500 B.C.E. composed the fundamental book of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching.
Taoism holds that people and creatures should live in offset with the Tao, or the universe. Taoists have confidence in profound everlasting status, where the soul of the body joins the universe in the afterlife
What are the principal thoughts of the Tao Te Ching?
The Tao Te Ching contains his center illustrations, and it has been converted into numerous dialects across the globe. Taoism theory depends on three points of support: simplicity, patience, and compassion.
Lao Tzu said that these three standards are our most prominent fortunes.
- SIMPLICITY, PATIENCE, COMPASSION. “Simplicity, patience, compassion. …
- GOING WITH THE FLOW. “When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.” …
- LETTING GO. “If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. …