In 440 BC it was adopted as a state religion. At that time Lao-Tse, the founder, became popularly venerated as a deity. Taoism, along with Buddhism and Confucianism, became the three great religions of China. With the end of the Ch'ing Dynasty in 1911, state support for Taoism ended. Much of the Taoist heritage was destroyed during the next period of warlordism.
Taoism currently has about 20 million followers, and is primarily centered in Taiwan. About 30,000 Taoists live in North America; 1,720 in Canada (1991 census). Taoism has had a significant impact on North American culture in areas of "acupuncture, herbalism, holistic medicine, meditation and martial arts..."
1- The essence of Taoism and the Bible:
The essence of Taoism is "Tao", "the way", who is not the "eternal Tao", (not God the Father); he is "the way, the truth and the life" (does it sound like Christ?)... the translation of the Bible in Chinese reads, "In the beginning was the Tao, and the Tao was with God, and the Tao was God"...like John1:1... the "Tao" is "infinite profundity", "the origin of all things", "a stabilizing force, for where Tao is equilibrium"... "it existed before heaven and earth", "it is eternal", "stands alone, and never changes, pervades everywhere", "Tao is the source of all things, the treasure of good men, and the sustainer of bad men"... He is the "Word", Jesus Christ!.
"Tao" (pronounced "Dow") is basically indefinable. It has to be experienced. It "refers to a power which envelopes, surrounds and flows through all things, living and non-living. The Tao regulates natural processes and nourishes balance in the Universe. It embodies the harmony of opposites (i.e. there would be no love without hate, no light without dark, no male without female.)"
In Taoism, Tao, roughly translated as path, is a force which flows through all life and is the first cause of everything. The goal of everyone is to become one with the Tao. Tai Chi, a technique of exercise using slow deliberate movements, is used to balance the flow of energy or "chi" within the body. People should develop virtue and seek compassion, moderation and humility. One should plan any action in advance and achieve it through minimal action.
Yin (dark side) and Yang (light side) symbolize pairs of opposites which are seen through the universe, such as good and evil, light and dark, male and female. The impact of human civilization upsets the balance of Yin and Yang.
Taoists believe that people are by nature, good, and that one should be kind to others simply because such treatment will probably be reciprocated.
Taoism's focus on nature and the natural order complements the societal focus of Confucianism, and its synthesis with Buddhism is the basis of Zen.
TThey seek answers to life's problems through inner meditation and outer observation.... Each believer's goal is to become one with the Tao.
2- The "men of Tao":
"He who lives in Tao, and Tao in him, is a good men: He keeps in good terms with men, takes things easy, loves the world as he does his own person; he is simple like an infant, cautious, modest, yielding. He is humble, and thus he remains entire. He is subtle, penetrating and profound; avoids excess, extravagance, and indulgence. He makes the self of the people his self"... he acts to the good or to the bad with goodness, and to the faithful or the faithless with faith. He returns love for great hatred"...
All these quotations from the "Tao-Tee King" certainly sound like "Christ" and "Christianity!...
The Three Jewels to be sought in Taoism are compassion, moderation and humility.
What Taoism is missing is the "Tao" incarnated, and that's what Christianity got.
The essence of Christianity is not "to know" about Christ but "to be" another Christ, with Christ in the Christian and the Christian in Christ, in his Mystical Body, in his church... and Christ is God, the Absolute, the real "Tao" who became a real human person.
1- The Cross: Jesus on the Cross redeemed us, He paid for all our sins for all our bad karma, we just have to appropriate this free payment just by believing in Jesus Christ. and doing what he orders, mainly to be baptized in his church (Mark 16:16-18).
2- The Resurrection: But the Cross was not the end... After His Resurrection Jesus Himself wants to live in us, here, on earth. We were saved from sin to live on earth with the love and joy and peace of Jesus in us, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Gal.2:20). A love and joy and peace that nothing and nobody can take away (Rom.8:37-39).
Give thanks with joy to God always and in any circumstance as proclaimed in Eph.5:20 and emphasized in the Preface of every Divine Liturgy, Indeed it is "just" and "necessary", our "duty" and our "salvation" to give thanks to God always and in all circumstances. There are no more words in the dictionary to emphasize it!
3- The Ascension: Still more: The work of Jesus on earth did not end with the Cross nor with the Resurrection, but with His Ascension to Heaven: He wants us to go to eternal Heaven, like Him!... Christianity is the religion of joy on earth, but still more, in Heaven for one eternity, without the need for any reincarnation, because Jesus paid for absolutely all or sins, all our bad karma.
Yes, many problems and sufferings, but with the joy and excitement of a "mother in labor" Jesus tells us in Jn.16:21. Because Each suffering is to bring up a new life, either in us or in others:
- In us... because each suffering is like an injection of God to purify us, as proclaimed in Hebrews 12.
- In others... like the sufferings of redemption of Christ or Mary, of Peter or Paul... Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions. (Colos.1:24)... yes, with my cross I am a co-redeemer with Christ, it is my best evangelization, to help others to go to Heaven. An old sick woman is not a burden, but the best treasure of home.
"Suffering" is a great revolution of Jesus in the two mountains:
- In the Mount of the Beatitudes, proclaiming the "poor happy", the "hunger happy", those who "mourn happy", the "persecuted happy"...
- At Calvary it was not with words, but with deeds, with his flesh... the greatest success of humankind!... IT CAN BE DONE... CHRIST AND I, ABSOLUTE MAJORITY!, I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Phil.4:13).
- The third part of Taoism: The Old dualism: The "old dualism" of life stems from Tao, as the competition of complimentary opposites, "Yin and Yang"; these two competing energies are found in all things, but both must be kept in "balance". Excess of any energy is harmful. When the 2 forces are in balance within the human personality then the perfect ideal human will exist. But always Tao, the spirit, will prevail over the physical, material nature, for Tao will never die.
There is a long history involvement by Taoists in various exercise and movement techniques. Tai chi in particular works on all parts of the body. It "stimulates the central nervous system, lowers blood pressure, relieves stress and gently tones muscles without strain. It also enhances digestion, elimination of wastes and the circulation of blood. Moreover, tai chi's rhythmic movements massage the internal organs and improve their functionality." Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that illness is caused by blockages or lack of balance in the body's "chi" (intrinsic energy). Tai Chi is believed to balance this energy flow.
4- The other site of Taoism: Priests, magic, spirits, emperor
Lao-Tze left no church, no priests, no rituals and services... but today, it is lived in syncretism with the old Animism of China, and it is demeaned by polytheism, witchcraft, demonology, spiritism, spirit spells, and a degenerate papacy...
"- The "Yin" and "Yang" represented as a "dragon" and a "tiger", live in a sort of cosmic struggle of gestation and have to be controlled in life by the "priests" rituals, plus the "medium", the "shaman", and the "oracle"... and the Emperor..
The "priests" head the rituals in the temples, and an "incense burner" is essential to every magic rite and exorcism... these "temples", besides of the religious rituals, are as well a "cultural axis", providing fairs, puppet shows, story-tellers, opera... and most Chinese have they altars at home, to the ancestors, and to spell the bad spirits.
The "medium" whose body is occupied by a spirit while in trance, communicates with the ancestors, makes divination...
The "shaman" travels into the afterlife, either to heaven or hell, and makes healing rituals, alchemical formulae, medicine, herbal texts...
The "oracle" speaks in the words of a by standing spirit, and fulfills the role of a seer, healer, and keeper of justice mainly in the villages, providing more stability than the rapidly political and industrial forces of Communism.
The Emperor is the only one who can communicate with Tao, so, for centuries, became the "Emperor-god", the actual god of the people of China... and when the Emperors were dethroned by the Communists in 1950, Mao and his successors became the actual "atheist gods" of the Chinese.
Each Chinese, after death, wants to be an important ancestor... in their Heaven, where they can help the living... but there is Hell, like "Purgatory", with 9 stages of punishments, each one governed by a demon king; and the prayers can help them to get out of there.
Lao-Tze was not successful in China, so he decided to leave... and he went away, no body knows where... but before leaving, at the request of his friend Yin Hsi, he wrote the "Tao Te King" which means "the Way to Virtue Canon", and it is the main holy scripture of Taoism, and very beautiful!. Two centuries latter "Chuang Tze" spread Taoism, and his writings are also considered holy scriptures. Tao te Ching, Chuang Tzu
Most of them are to honor the ancestors, who can help us in this life, because thy may be in a kind of a Christian Heaven, or to pray for them, because they may be in a kind of Christian "Purgatory"
- Orthodox: Tao masters and Black Headed Taoists. Stress the importance of rituals, cosmic renewal, and controlling spirits.
- Spirit Claud Taoists: Masters of methods or Headed Taoists. Concentrate on meditation, not rituals.
Taoism, was founded in the 604 BC in China by Lao-Tze, which means "old philosopher" or "old boy", but his real name was Li-Uhr.
It is actually practiced in China by most of the 2 billion Chinese, in syncretism with Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam... and even by those who call themselves Communists...
Lao-Tze was the teacher of Confucius... and both Taoism and Confucianism complement each other: Lao-Tze is the "mystic" who spoke chiefly of the unseen and intangible; Confucius is the "great realistic" and moral philosopher who preferred not speaking of things unseen, rather he set a system of "moral axioms" rather than "religious dogmas".
"Two" different religious ways:
For Confucius "human conduct" must be righteous, and the man's relation with God and the universe would take care of itself... for Lao-Tze, man must establish himself in harmony with the universal principle, with Tao, through his own Tao, and good human conduct will follow...
- Which way will be better to become a good person?... to try to be good, or to try to unite with God?...
For Christianity the way is to live in Christ and Christ in you... because all persons are essentially "selfish", we love ourselves, which is the opposite of the real "love"; but if Jesus is in you, then you are going to feed the hungry, help the sick or the one in need... but it is "not you", it is Christ "who lives in you" (Gal.2:20)... however, when Christ is in you, you do not become a "robot", you are still the only one responsible for yours actions, and you have to strive to be pure and good, living every minute of your life with faith in Jesus, who lives in you, without fear to nobody and to nothing... the greatest sin of a Christian is to do something without faith in Christ, trusting in himself or in money or in human power instead of trusting in Jesus Christ (Rom.14:23).