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    This page is for the philosophy of "Tao Jia (道家/Taoism)", This page also has a small discussion of "Tao Jiao (道教/Tao Religion)", It's a derivative of Tao Jia. but please do not confuse them.

    ‟Tao gives birth to one, one gives birth to two, two gives birth to three, three gives birth to all things.”

    Lao Tzu

    Taoism or Daoism is a philosophical and spiritual tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. In Taoism, the Tao is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. Taoism teaches about the various disciplines for achieving "perfection" by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the all, called "the way" or "Tao". Taoist ethics vary depending on the particular school, but in general tend to emphasize wu wei (action without intention), "naturalness", simplicity, spontaneity and the Three Treasures: "compassion", "frugality" and "humility".

    The central concept of Taoism is the Tao, which means "the way" or "the path." The Tao is an all-encompassing force that governs everything in the universe. According to Taoist philosophy, individuals should strive to live in accordance with the natural flow of the Tao rather than trying to impose their will on it.

    Taoism also emphasizes the importance of simplicity, humility, and detachment from material possessions. By letting go of desires and attachments, individuals can achieve inner peace and harmony with their surroundings.

    Overall, Taoism offers a unique perspective on life that encourages individuals to embrace simplicity and live in harmony with nature. Its teachings continue to inspire people around the world today.

    History[edit | edit source]

    Taoism is a philosophical and religious tradition that originated in China around the 4th century BCE in Easten Zhou Dynasty. Its founder, Lao Tzu, wrote the Tao Te Ching, a book of wisdom that has become one of the most influential texts in Chinese history.

    Taoism emphasizes living in harmony with nature and finding balance between opposing forces. It teaches that there is a natural order to the universe, and that humans should strive to align themselves with this order.

    Throughout its history, Taoism has undergone many changes and adaptations. During the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), it became more institutionalized with the establishment of Taoist temples and monasteries. Later on, during the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE), Taoism experienced a revival as state religion. It was embraced by emperors who saw it as a way to legitimize their rule.

    Today, Taoism continues to be practiced by millions of people around the world. Its teachings have influenced not only Chinese culture but also Western philosophy and spirituality.

    Variants[edit | edit source]

    German Taoism[edit | edit source]

    German Taoism is a term for the development of Lao Tzu Thought in Germany.

    German Taoism generally refers to the development of Lao-Tzu thought in Germany, and famous philosophers such as Leibniz praised the Tao Te Ching and called Lao-Tzu's thought "dialectic". Later philosophers such as Kant and Schelling, Schopenhauer and other philosophers were also influenced by Lao Tzu's thought.
    Nietzsche is also believed to have been influenced by the "Tao Te Ching", and shows this in "The Will to Power".He quoted a line from the Tao Te Ching:The country is in danger. There are many laws.

    Beliefs[edit | edit source]

    Taoism is a philosophical and religious tradition that originated in China. It is based on the teachings of Lao Tzu, who wrote the Tao Te Ching, a text that outlines the principles of Taoism. The central belief of Taoism is that there is a natural order to the universe, and that this order can be understood through the concept of the Tao.

    The Tao is often translated as "the way" or "the path," and it represents the underlying principle that governs all things. According to Taoist beliefs, humans should strive to live in harmony with this natural order, rather than trying to control or manipulate it.

    Taoism also emphasizes the importance of simplicity and humility. Followers are encouraged to live simple lives and avoid excessive material possessions or desires. They are also encouraged to be humble and avoid seeking power or status.

    Overall, Taoism emphasizes living in harmony with nature and finding balance in all aspects of life. It offers a unique perspective on spirituality and has had a significant impact on Chinese culture for centuries.

    Lao Tzu Thought[edit | edit source]

    According to Lao Tzu, Tao is the source of everything and is the principle which generates and operates nature. Human too is born with innocent and simple virtue of nature in accordance with principle of Tao. However societal disorder happens due to wrong values or artificial societal institution.

    Lao Tzu saw that the chaos happens because human artificially differentiate value. He said that "Everyone recognizes beauty only because of ugliness, Everyone recognizes virtue only because of sin". According to him, conflict and dispute happens because people artificially differentiate beauty or ugliness/good or evil.

    When the greatness of Tao is absent action comes from the rules of “kindness” and “justice”, If you need rules to be kind and just, if you act virtuous, this is a sure sign that virtue is absent Thus we see the great hypocrisy, Only when the family loses its harmony do we hear of “dutiful sons”, Only when the state is in chaos do we hear of “loyal ministers”

    Lao Tzu

    Also, Lao Tzu criticized that artificial virtue proposed as a solution of then societal chaos by confucians would become a source of the chaos.

    According to Lao Tzu, life of Wu wei in accordance with Tao of nature is necessary to solve this chaos. Idea like this is well represented in Lao Tzu's quote "Mankind depends on the laws of Earth, Earth depends on the laws of Heaven, Heaven depends on the laws of Tao, But Tao depends on itself alone Supremely free, self-so, it rests in its own nature". He watched that nature does not artificially plan something but does not have what is unachieved, and emphasized the necessity of living which does not disturb the flow the great nature.

    Lao Tzu expressed the attitude of life in accordance with nature like this as 'Be Like Water'. He saw that water has virtue which always goes down and benefits everything and does not fight. And he said that human should emulate it and have virtue of modesty and non-violence. He called the ideal human which has these virtues as Saint.

    He proposed politic of Wu wei by Saint as an ideal method for ruling the world. He said that "When you do not-doing, nothing’s out of order", and claimed that ruler should not forcibly plan something, and should make the people ignorant and disinterested. And he proposed 'Small State with Little Population' as an ideal society which this politic of Wu wei is practiced. It is a society which does not seek national prosperity and military power, and it's people does not seek development of civilization and lives simple and self-sufficient.

    Zhuang Zhou Thought[edit | edit source]

    Zhuang Zhou from Warring States period had inherted Lao Tzu's idea and emphasized Taoism. He emphasized equality of everything and freedom of mind in Tao's perspective.

    According to Zhuang Zhou, everything has different nature to each other, and has different inborn ability to each other. However different ability does not mean superiority or inferiority in everything. It is because everything respectively had given appropriate nature in accordance with Tao. Thus Zhuang Zhou saw that when each of us live in their own inborn nature each of us could be happy. He said as following:

    "Monkeys pair with monkeys, deer go out with deer, and fish play around with fish. Men claim that Maoqiang and Lady Li were beautiful; but if fish saw them, they would dive to the bottom of the stream; if birds saw them, they would fly away; and if deer saw them, they would break into a run. Of these four, which knows how to fix the standard of beauty for the world?"


    Like this Zhuang Zhou saw that differentiation from human self-centered bias are only relative. In this perspective he proposed a state of Equality which transcends differentiations such as right and wrong, noble and mean, beauty and ugliness, life and death, and sees everything as absolutely equal.

    Also, Zhaung Zhou saw that living in accordance with Tao of nature would realize the state of mental freedom. He called the state like this as Carefree Wandering. According to Zhaung Zhou, artificial law or moral standard, societal institution restrains human freedom. Furthermore seeking the externals such as wealth or honor would eventually harm their nature and limit themself. He saw that when one break away from being restrained by artificial standard or external and live in assimilation with the great nature it would lead to true happiness.

    Zhaung Zhou proposed fasting the heartmind and Zuowang as an improvement method to lead the state of equality and Carefree Wandering as above. Fasting the heartmind is cleanly vacating the mind, Zuowang is to sit quietly and abandon all desires and differentiative knowledges which restrains oneself. He saw that through these improvements human could live in accordance with Tao.

    He called the ideal human in accordance with Tao as the true man. The true man is a person which had broke away from all conflicts and differentiations and have reached the state of assimilation with everything. The man in this state sees everything equally in perspective of Tao, and forgets even oneself. Also as they are not restrained to anywhere, they pursuit life of true freedom and happiness.

    Variants[edit | edit source]

    Zhuangzism[edit | edit source]

    Zhuangzism is a philosophy of Ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zhou.

    Yangism[edit | edit source]

    Yangism refers to the philosophy of the egoist philosopher Yang Zhu.

    Tang State Religion[edit | edit source]

    Tang State Religon refers to the Pagan Tao Religion of the Tang Empire. Before and after the heyday of the Tang Empire, besides promoting the pagan Tao Religion, it also introduced Buddhism. And a lot of Chinese romantics were born at this time.

    Quanzhen School[edit | edit source]

    Dragon Gate[edit | edit source]

    Bao Jingyan Thought[edit | edit source]

    Bao Jingyan Thought or Baoism refers to the philosophy of the Jin philosopher and anarchist Bao Jingyan, who advocated against the monarchy and the state and adhered to materialism, and he was also regarded as the heir and anti-civilisationist of Yang Zhu's philosophy.

    Relations[edit | edit source]

    Friends[edit | edit source]

    • Yangism - Communication with you is beneficial.
    • Zhuangzism - Same as above.
    • Taoist Anarchism - Paganism and Anarchism.
    • German Taoism - My Old Fan.
    • Heideggerianism - My Fan.
    • Nietzscheanism - I like your stuff a lot, and some people have rated you as my important theorist in Europe.
    • Anarchism - Bao Jingyan and Tao Yuanming is Based.
    • Stirnerism - Thank you for Yang Zhu's development of the philosophy of egoism.
    • Austrian School - Most unexpected follower who uses my philosophy to economics. Your essentialist scholars suck meanwhile.

    Frenemies[edit | edit source]

    • Legalism - Using my philosophy, but went wrong. You do too much!
    • Mohism - My Huang-Lao School partly agrees with you, but Zhuangzism thinks you do too much.
    • School of Names - Hui Tzu, you can't use a rotten rat to disturb me, Bro.
    • Dialectics - Some kind of description of my philosophy, but he hates you.
    • Hegelianism - Like he criticized you, I don't think you understand my stuff...

    Enemies[edit | edit source]

    • Moralism - “The beginning of hypocrisy and confusion.”
    • Confucianism - Remember what I said to you?

    Further Information[edit | edit source]

    Wikipedia[edit | edit source]

    References[edit | edit source]

    1. “Everything flourishes, and I see the cycle. All things change, and finally return to their roots.” ——Tao Te Ching, Chapter XVI.
    2. "How much is the difference between flattery and rebuking? What is the difference between good and evil?" ——Tao Te Ching, Chapter Twenty

    Navigation[edit | edit source]

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