Taoism Information

Taoism refers to a variety of related philosophical and religious traditions that have influenced Eastern Asia for more than two millennia, and have had a notable influence on the western world since the 19th century. The word 道, Tao , literally translates as "path" or "way" , although in Chinese folk religion and philosophy it carries more abstract meanings. Taoist propriety and ethics emphasize the Three Jewels of the Tao: compassion, moderation, and humility, while Taoist thought generally focuses on nature, the relationship between humanity and the cosmos , health and longevity, and wu wei , which is thought to produce harmony with the universe.

Reverence for ancestor spirits and immortals is also common in popular Taoism. Organized Taoism distinguishes its ritual activity from that of the folk religion, which some professional Taoists view as debased. Chinese alchemy , astrology, cuisine, several Chinese martial arts, Chinese traditional medicine, feng shui, immortality, and many styles of qigong breath training disciplines have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history.

In English, the words Daoism and Taoism are the subject of an ongoing controversy over the preferred romanization. The root Chinese word 道 "way, path" is romanized tao in the older Wade–Giles system and dào in the modern Pinyin system. In linguistic terminology, English Taoism/Daoism is a calque formed from the Chinese loanword tao/dao 道 "way; route; principle" and the native suffix -ism. The sometimes heated arguments over Taoism vs. Daoism involve sinology, phonemes, loanwords, and politics – not to mention whether Taoism should be pronounced /ˈtaʊ.ɪzəm/ or /ˈdaʊ.ɪzəm/.

Wikipedia, Taoism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism (as of Apr 7, 2010)

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