What is Daoism

Daoism is an ancient system centered on Huanglao’s 黃老 (Huangdi & Laozi) natural and heavenly Daoism formed in ancient times. In ancient times Daoism was called Teachings of Huanglao. The theory of Daoism is based on Dao: Dao is the highest source in the world, Dao is the origin of everything in the universe, Dao is the basis for the survival of everything in the universe. It’s emphasised that people should imitate the Dao in their thoughts and behaviors. Politically is not advocating meritocracy, so that the people will not fight. Ethically, advocates absolute benevolence and abandoning righteousness. Dao is also a natural law that is universally applicable for example: Yin-yang , and Wu-xing 5 elements theory and application.

Daoism explores the relationship between nature, society, and life. The most famous representatives of Daoism are Laozi and Zhuangzi. In later periods of Daoism degenerated and advocating quietness and “doing nothing” became the foundation of later modern Daoism.

During the Eastern Han period, the Daoist ways of immortality techniques were more well known, later on, almost all of the early texts disappeared and knowledge about original Huanglao tradition was lost, although the medical book Huangdi Neijing (“Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic”), and Mawangdui Silk Texts survived. Daoist knowledge and transmission of true methods fortunately survived inside several closed Daoist Schools because of Wang Chongyang – founder of Quanzhen Dao School who greatly developed Daoism and ensured its survival.

Modern Daoism, cannot be equated with ancient Daoism of Huanglao heavenly Daoist tradition. The widespread Daoism is a religion developed from ancient Daoism, using similar terms, deities, etc. Traditional Daoism itself is not religious, it is the doctrine of change, metamorphosis and life in the universe, in other words a greatly developed system of Daoist Internal Alchemy to develop golden elixir.

From this root the development of several types of well known Daoist arts including Qigong, Chinese Medicine, Calligraphy, Tea, Guqin, and other Daoist arts flourished and developed the Chinese culture greatly. The Inner alchemy is the lesser known knowledge, and the most important.

Image: Shelipe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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