Daoism is a philosophy of ancient China which later became an official religion around the same time that Buddhism came to China. The philosophy is referred to as Dao Jia ( 道家 ) or Philosophical Daoism, the origin of which is accredited to Lao Zi, who lived in the 6th century BC. The religion is referred to as Dao Jiao ( 道教) or Religious Daoism ( 142 C.E. onwards). Daoist philosophy was considered one of the 100 schools of philosophy of the Warring States Period, which was when Zhuang Zi lived and wrote. The book which bears his name is a mixture of writing by the philosopher himself (the first 7 chapters or Inner Chapters) and later interpolations authored by several others, associated with early Daoism. The tenets of Daoism however, pre-date written history and are believed to be the “way” of the ancient legendary kings of ancient China. Daoism is found throughout Chinese culture existing beside Confucianism, Buddhism and even Christianity. Because Daoism is based on the natural laws of nature and the universe, it can be applied to a diverse cross section of cultural and social backgrounds. Today there are Daoists all over the world and Daoist temples exist in many countries other than China. Modern Daoists seek to harness the energy of the body, mind and spirit to cultivate the “Way” or Dao in their lives, for the benefit of themselves and the world at large. Many years of in depth study and dedication is required to become a Daoist master, but the ordinary person can benefit from simply following the Tenets of Daoism and cultivating the Way in everyday life.
Evidence of Daoism in modern society is easier to find once you know what you are looking for. For example, the practice of Chinese internal martial arts like Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong is popular for general health and well being and classes are offered for all ages, in cities all over the world.
Feng Shui or the Art of Placement is another Daoist oriented technique, based on the 5 elements and energy flow. It is utilized extensively by civil engineers and surveyors in both China and the West. The presence and positioning of water and mountains, the contour of the land and seasonal aspects, all present important factors when designing large hotels, botanical gardens, government parks and monuments as well as private residential dwellings. Correct Feng Shui ensures that the naturally occurring elements of nature are taken into consideration for their optimum benefit. It can minimise misfortune, promote wealth and good health and has a subtle positive influence on all those who pass through.
Daoism is also a major part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Daoist monks and mountain dwellers have long been the collectors of rare and sparsely scattered medicinal herbs and fungi that only grow at high altitudes in remote places that are hard to access . Other herbal medicinal ingredients are grown and nurtured in monasteries using traditional ancient cosmological planting guides and cultivation methods. Read More
TCM is a popular form of alternative medicine and in China is combined with Western medicine in major hospitals and health care facilities. Acupuncture and herbal treatments can be used alongside Western medical procedures quite safely.