Godchecker's mythology encyclopedia

Also known as TAO, DAOISM, TAOISM

The Way. The Great Ultimate. The Secret of the Universe.

LAO-ZI said: "It is better not to speak of things you do not understand." But we at Godchecker never let that stop us.

Daoism is a highly philosophical school of Chinese belief, formulated by LAO-ZI in the Sixth Century B.C. and still going strong today. It holds that the Universe, far from being a complex web of tangled events, is actually very very simple. All forms of matter and being are merely manifestations of YIN and YANG, surrounded by QI energy.

To understand and live in harmony with creation, you must free yourself of all complications and seek 'The Way'. This cannot be found on any road sign, but is located right next to the Path Of Least Resistance. In DAOism, it is better to let things happen naturally than to strive after them. This is known as Wu Wei.

LAO-ZI taught: "The most effective course of action is always to do nothing." Which means The Way cannot be found by seeking it. All we can suggest is that you find a gentle stream and gaze upon it until your mind is flowing in harmony. If that doesn't work, try reading the Dao-De-Jing (Tao-Te-Ching), which is full of wisdom and doesn't have any long words in it.

The DAOist pantheon of Gods can be somewhat confusing. There is YUAN-SHI-TIAN-ZONG, the unreachable infinite entity, followed by the SAN-QING who are really manifestations of other Gods or vice versa. Then there is the JADE-EMPEROR who rules over everything and the SAN-GUAN, who also who rule over everything but don't make so much fuss about it. Meanwhile the EIGHT-IMMORTALS don't rule anything but have lots of fun. All the Gods have their place and the complete pecking order is so complex that even Heaven itself has a job keeping track of it all. But we've done our best.

Note: Thanks to the old Wade-Giles system of transliterating Chinese characters, 'Dao' is frequently written as 'Tao'. Modern Pinyin insists that 'Dao' is the correct spelling, but of course correcting all the literature would require people actually doing something. Which would be very un-Daoist.

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Article last updated on 27 November 2005
Authors: Peter J Allen and Chas Saunders
References: Coming soon.

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Godchecker's article on Dao is based on material from ancient texts, original references and our own research. We strive for accuracy and update regularly with new information. If you spot a mistake please contact us and we'll try to fix it.

Suggested further reading...
Name : DAO
Location : China
Gender : Both male and female
Type : Concept
Celebration or Feast Day : Unknown at present
Pronunciation : Daow
Alternative names : TAO, DAOISM, TAOISM
Popularity index : 892

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