Outline Of Taoism

The following outline (Outline of Taoism) is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Taoism:

Taoism is a philosophical, ethical, and religious tradition of Chinese origin that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (also romanized as Dao). The term Tao means “way”, “path” or “principle”, and can also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions other than Taoism. In Taoism, however, Tao denotes something that is both the source and the driving force behind everything that exists. It is ultimately ineffable: “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.” Also called Daoism.

The roots of Taoism go back at least to the 4th century BCE. Early Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the School of Yinyang (Naturalists), and was deeply influenced by one of the oldest texts of Chinese culture, the I Ching, which expounds a philosophical system about how to keep human behavior in accordance with the alternating cycles of nature. The “Legalist” Shen Buhai (c. 400 – c. 337 BCE) may also have been a significant influence, expounding a realpolitik of wu wei. The Tao Te Ching, a compact book containing teachings attributed to Laozi (老子Lǎozǐ; Wade–Giles: Lao Tzu), is widely considered the keystone work of the Taoist tradition, together with the later writings of Zhuangzi.

Huà Shān is one of the five sacred Taoist mountains.

Huà Shān is one of the five sacred Taoist mountains.

Common Concepts in East Asian Religions


Taoist beliefs and the theories

  • Tao (aka Dao) – Chinese concept signifying waypathroute, or sometimes more loosely, doctrine or principle, or as a verb, speak. Within the context of traditional Chinese philosophy and religion, Tao is a metaphysical concept originating with Laozi that gave rise to a religion (in Wade–Giles: Tao Chiao; in Pinyin: Daojiao) and philosophy (in Wade–Giles: Tao chia; in Pinyin: Daojia) referred to in English with the single term Taoism. The concept of Tao was shared with Confucianism, Chán and Zen Buddhism and more broadly throughout East Asian philosophy and religion in general.
  • Taoist philosophy
  • Taoism and Death
  • De (Chinese)
  • Qi
  • Taiji
  • Wu wei
  • Wu Xing
  • Wuji
  • Xian in Taoism
  • Yin-Yang
  • Ziran


Taoist practices

Taoist Meditation

Taoist Meditation

  • Taoist meditation
  • Taoist diet
  • Bigu (grain avoidance)
  • Neidan
  • Taoist Sexual Practices
  • Precepts – commandments, instructions, or orders intended as authoritative rules of action. Religious precepts are usually commands respecting moral conduct.
    • Five Precepts – constitute the basic code of ethics undertaken mainly by Taoist lay-cultivators. According to The Ultra Supreme Elder Lord’s Scripture of Precepts, the five basic precepts are:
      • The first precept: No murdering
      • The second precept: No stealing
      • The third precept: No sexual misconduct
      • The fourth precept: No false speech
      • The fifth precept: No taking of intoxicants
    • Ten Precepts – classical rules of medieval Taoism as applied to practitioners attaining the rank of Disciple of Pure Faith. They first appeared in the Scripture on Setting the Will on Wisdom (DZ325). They were outlined in a short text that appears in Dunhuang manuscripts (DH31, 32). They are:
      • The first precept: Do not kill but always be mindful of the host of living beings
      • The second precept: Do not be lascivious or think depraved thoughts
      • The third precept: Do not steal or receive unrighteous wealth
      • The fourth precept: Do not cheat or misrepresent good and evil
      • The fifth precept: Do not get intoxicated but always think of pure conduct
      • The sixth precept: I will maintain harmony with my ancestors and family and never disregard my kin
      • The seventh precept: When I see someone do a good deed, I will support him with joy and delight
      • The eighth precept: When I see someone unfortunate, I will support him with dignity to recover good fortune
      • The ninth precept: When someone comes to do me harm, I will not harbor thoughts of revenge
      • The tenth precept: As long as all beings have not attained the Tao, I will not expect to do so myself
  • Three Treasures – basic virtues in Taoism, including variations of “compassion”, “frugality”, and “humility”. Arthur Waley described these Three Treasures as, “The three rules that formed the practical, political side of the author’s teaching (1) abstention from aggressive war and capital punishment, (2) absolute simplicity of living, (3) refusal to assert active authority.”
    • First of the Three Treasuresci (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade–Giles: tz’u) – compassion, tenderness, love, mercy, kindness, gentleness, benevolence.
    • Second of the Three Treasuresjian (Chinese: ; pinyin: jiǎn; Wade–Giles: chien) – frugality, moderation, economy, restraint, be sparing.
    • Third of the Three TreasuresBugan wei tianxia xian – “not dare to be first/ahead in the world” – humility. With this approach, one avoids premature death by not making oneself a target.

Variations of Taoism

Taoist schools

Taoist schools

Taoism by region

History of Taoism

Taoist culture

Holy places

Taoist organizations

Influential Taoists


Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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