Nature and Deity
There are universal forces of nature – yin and yang. Through creative tension
with each other they keep the world spinning and moving. (Popular Taoism
has thousands of gods, but no single supreme deity.)
Understanding of Beginnings
Creation as an event is not of great importance. There are various stories. In
essence, the twin forces of yin and yang were created from nothing rather
than by any being, and from these twin forces come all life.
Conception of Time
There are elements of both the linear and the cyclical. There is no end to the
world, just a personal journey, either to better and better rebirths, or into
Mortality (and Afterlife)
At death, the soul is judged by up to ten different gods of Hell, is purified by
punishment then reborn again. Certain schools believe death is avoidable.
By practicing special meditations or eating certain things, one can make the
body immortal so that the person lives forever.
There are over 4000 books in the Taoist Canon, from the fourth century BCE
to the 14th century CE. Each school has its own favorites and many look
back to the Tao Te Ching (translated, “The Way and Its Power”) of Lao Tzu,
compiled circa fourth century BCE, as their initial source of inspiration.
Prophets and Founders
There have been various figures, ranging from mythical emperors to
semi-historical figures such as Lao Tzu (5th century BCE) and Chang Tao
Ling (2nd century CE), who founded popular Taoism.
Rites of Birth and Death
Horoscopes are cast at birth. After a month a naming ceremony is held. At
death, the body is buried and paper models of money, houses and cars are
burnt to help the soul in the afterlife. After about ten years the body is dug up
and the bones buried again in an auspicious site.
Festivals and Calendar Events
There are hundreds of local festivals. The main festivals: Chinese New Year;
Ching Ming, for the veneration of the dead; the Hungry Ghosts' festival for
the release of the restless dead; and the Moon Festival, celebrating the
Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism