The Founder of Taoism

Report
APWH Religions Project
Melissa Milstrey, Brandon Rothrock, and Matt McAnally
TAOISM
“When there is
this abstinence
from action,
good order is
universal.”
FOUNDER(S)

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Many give credit to Laozi, born
around 614 B.C.E (older than
even Confucius)
His writings began the Taoist
movement.
Historians dispute over the exact
time of founding, others disputes
refer to the existence of Laozi at
all.
Laozi is the author of Tao-te ching,
which Taoism bases its philosophy
off of.
Laozi literally means “Old Master”
HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF FOUNDING

The foundational text of Taoism is
“Daode Jing”, meaning Scripture of
the Way and its Virtue. This was
written by Laozi, the assumed founder
of the philosophy. It was written to
confront the reader with Daoism's
essential point, which is: “The Dao
that can be trodden is not the
enduring and unchanging Dao. The
name that can be named is not the
enduring and unchanging name”
SYMBOL(S) OF TAOISM
Taoism had many different symbols, both
derived from everyday items surrounding
them and also other new formed symbols
that originated based on their ideals.
•The Yin-Yang is the infamous symbol of the
Taoists that represents the main ideals of
their philosophy involving balance of
weakness (yin) and strength (yang).
• Mountains are another important symbol
of the Taoists, depicted in their art forms,
that represents the land of the immortals
and retreat from the negative.
• Another sacred symbol of the Taoists was
the tortoise which represented immorality in
their philosophy.
•The Yang, strength, is not only represented
by the Yin-Yang symbol but also a dragon.
DEITIES’ NAMES

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Along with the philosophy of Taoism came a list of deities worshiped in their
tempes. In these temples different ceremonies for each of their deities
were conducted.
Yu-huang is considered the Jade Emperor, meaning he is the highest God of
the Taoists. All other gods must report to him, and his function was to serve
justice.
San-ch’ing is translated into The Three Ones. They are Yu-ch’ing, known as
Jade Pure, Shang-ch’ing, known as Upper Pure, and T’ai-ch’ing, known as
Great Pure. They were not rulers, but they sought to save mankind by
teaching and benevolence.
Though Yu-huang is the High God, other dieties, such as Yuan-shih T'ientsun, are above him. He is considered the first principle, and he is selfexisting, invisible, limitless, is present in all places, and is the source of all
truths.
LOCATION OF ORIGIN


Taoism originated
in Classical
China, providing
explanation as to
why all of central
writings are in
Chinese.
It is an Eastern
religious
philosophy.
Classical China
MAJOR LOCATIONS TODAY


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Taoism has spread from it roots in
China all across the globe.
While it is still popular today in
China, it is more popular in modern
day Taiwan. It is also popular today
in the United States of America.
With the stress of everyday life at an
all time high Americans like the
simplicity and harmony of the
religion.
Many “Taoist Hermits” are spread
throughout the country, and practice
the philosophies of Taoism by
themselves in seclusion from the
rest of civilization.
NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS
While it is difficult to get an exact
number of followers modern day,
reliable data bases point towards
approximately 20 million modern
day followers spread throughout
the globe.
 Of the approximately 20 million
followers, about 30,000 of them
are believed to life in the US,
predominantly in the western half
of the country.

NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS
HOW AND WHY THE PHILOSOPHY SPREAD

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Taoism spread
successfully and swiftly
from its roots in ancient
China.
Taoism was a religion
appreciated by the
upper class and high
level society, leading it
to gain the respect of
imperial governments
and spread rather
quickly.
HOLY BOOKS AND IMPORTANT TEXTS
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Tao te Ching- “Morality Scripture” a collection of stories and poems
written by Lao Tze. The book explains the way of the Tao, and how to
properly live.
Chuan Tzu- written by Chuang Tzu or Zhang zi (same person) is a
collection of primary Taoist doctrines. It includes the Wu-wei which
talks about how to be in harmony with the Tao.
Lie Zi- written by Lie Yukou who was believed to be a hundred
schools of thought philosopher.
ROLES OF MEN AND WOMEN
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Men had a much higher role in
society than woman during the
time period, and this was held
true in the teachings of the
Taoists.
However, Taoists did see
women higher than normal
because they create life, and
there is an emphasis on
harmony with the earth, which
is seen in the natural qualities
of females.
However, women were not
allowed to make social
decisions and were expected
to run the household.
PLACES OF WORSHIP
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The Taoists worshiped in the Gong, or
temple, where they would perform their
various ceremonies
Diverse in size relative to location and
demography of attending people
Shows a new twist on traditional
Chinese architecture like the Dragon
and Tiger that are in the front of the
temple and are wooden framed,
typically built along mountains
Used Taoist symbols to decorate wood
work of the hall of the temples
HOLY SITES AND WHY
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Map Key
(1) is the home of
Lau Tsu
(2) where Tao Te
Ching had a
realization about
Taoism
(4) Mao shan, a
Taoist pilgrimage site.
(6) Ch’ ingchen Shan
in Chengdu, another
Taoist pilgrimage site
where temples and a
monastery are
located.
HOLIDAYS
The main holidays of the
Taoists are:
 Chinese New Year (beginning of
New Year – different than lunar calendar)

Lantern Festival (First Full moon of

Tomb Sweeping Day (day of
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Ghost Festival (like the Chinese
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Dragon Boat Festival (poet’s day)
Mid-Autumn Festival (family

the year)
ceremonies at the tomb of ancestors)
Halloween)
members celebrate, Spring Festival)
MAJOR BELIEFS
Creation Story
The story of the Chinese philosophical creation
talks about the Myth of Pan Ku: Creation and
the Universal Egg. In the beginning of time,
there was chaos, and the shape of the chaos
was an egg. For 18,000 years the egg was
incubating until it hatched, and when it
hatched, the heavens and the earth came
into existence. At the same, the giant Pan Ku
was born. His size divided heaven and earth,
and with the assistance of four creatures, a
tortoise, a dragon, a phoenix, and a unicorn,
he created the earth that’s seen today.
When Pan Ku perished, he became “one
with nature” meaning his body transformed
into the environment.
MAJOR BELIEFS
End Times Story
 The Taoists did not actually believe in the
end of time, they did agree with the fact of
death as a natural part of life (did not have
significance on their way of living)
 They did not believe in an afterlife, but
instead that death was the “ultimate end”.
MAJOR BELIEFS
IMPORTANT COMMANDS AND LAWS
1) Law of the Yin Yang-there must always be a balance
of yin and yang, existing in every part of life
2) Law of Mutual Immanence-yin yang is mutually
immiscible
3) Law of Dynamics -existence itself is dynamic
The Taoists basically wanted all of their people to
focus more on internal balance with nature
instead of the world and technology around
them. Anyone that did not follow the laws of the
universe and life depicted above were not only
denying all that is right but also causing personal
disorder. This relates to how Taoists believe that
advancements in empires will actually bring their
downfall and also the fact that simplicity is best.
MAJOR BELIEFS
Purpose of Life
Taoists believed that if human nature
was aligned perfectly with the rest of
nature, the result would be both
harmony and order. When people
deviate from the natural order, they
are only bringing destruction upon
themselves. The only way to
encourage natural behavior is by
using a model leader. A model
emperor once said, “He who governs
his body, governs the country”
(Patheos.com). Basically you exist to
become one with nature.
INFLUENCE ON ARCHITECTURE
Taoist architecture included various buildings in
which religious ceremonies were held, such as
temples, palaces, nunneries, and altars. It was
very similar to Buddhist architecture, as it could
be divided into holy halls used for sacrifice or
houses to live in. Most of the temples are wooden
framed, and surrounded by man-made gardens.
The philosophy pursues the unity of humans and
nature, and Taoist architecture greatly reflects
that.
ARCHITECTURE
INFLUENCE ON ART
Taoist art was ornate and was influenced mainly by immortals. The
immortals the closest any person could be to nature, so average
followers wanted to become one with nature. An example of this art can
be seen with the Fanghu Isle of Immortals, which was on the previous
slide. Because it is assumed that Laozi was the founder of Daoism,
most of the art created emphasize him. The artists were mostly Taoist
masters, adepts, or scholars. The lotus was also a common Taoist
symbol, because it was associated with humans’ true nature, and it was
believed humans grew out of mud.
ART
Immortal Laozi
Daoist Immortals
Vase with Immortal
THANKS FOR
WATCHING
SOURCES
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