The History of Taoism There is a dispute on the origins of Taoism. One theory is the earliest known Taoist text may be the work of a minister of the ruler of the Shang-Yin dynasty in the eighteenth century B.C. The other theory is that it was began by the mentor of the father of the Chou dynasty in the twelfth century. What is known is that, Li Erh (6th century BCE) who is better known as Lao Tzu (the Old Master), was the author of one of the most influential texts of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu, a contemporary of Confucius, was the keeper of the imperial library, but in his old age he disappeared to the west, leaving behind him the Tao Te Ching (Book of Tao and Virtue). From this book, which is only about five-thousand words in length, Taoism gained it’s name. Taoism believes “Tao”, or the way, to be the mystical, mysterious, and “ultimate principle underlying form, substance, being, and change”. Tao encompasses everything. It can be used to understand the human body, the universe and nature. The logic of Taoism encompasses the Yin and Yang forces, which represent all opposites. These two forces are complementary elements of all systems that thrive in an interdependent network and result in the harmony or balance of the system. The natural order of the tension between Yin and Yang forces in all systems results in a neverending process of change (production and reproduction and the transformation of energy). Taoism is based on the experience of ” this universal way (Cleary p3). The goal of Taoism is to perfect the mastery of human nature and life in three areas. They are well-being, social harmony and accelerated evolution of consciousness Taoism puts a great deal of value on human life. Taoists do not focus on the afterlife, but rather emphasize efficient methods of elevating health to obtain longevity. Taoists firmly believe that human lives are in our control. Therefore, Taoism teaches people to enhance their he…
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