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Transcript of Taoism
- Tao means "way" or "path."
- The Tao created the world and everything in the world and is the force that flows through every living object
- Taoism works with natural forces, not against them.
- This religion constantly refers to the circular Yin Yang figure. Yin representing cold, dampness and downwardness and Yang representing dryness and warmth.
- The Yin yang symbol represents the balance of opposites in the world. When it is equally balanced, all is calm and it is possible to find perfect happiness.
- The Taoist theory of the creation of the world follows evolution, including evolution of the world on a larger scale.
Identify the principal beliefs of the religion
Identify and describe the role of the supernatural powers and deities in the religion
-The "eight immortals are the most famous deities in Taoism. The group were a secret of immortality and often disguised themselves in order to trick people who were unethical. They were seen as superhero like figures as they protected individuals by punishing the corrupt.
Discuss the relationship between sacred spaces and the beliefs of the religion
- There is equality between space and time within the Taoism religion. Many sacred spaces are also geographically important e.g. the five sacred mountains of Taoism.
-The ritual space symbolises the cosmos and links heaven and earth. The sacred space is only sacred during the time of the religious ritual or event.
- The ritual area will be set up in a specific way so the people can become connected with their deities. Pictures of the highest ranking deities will be hanging and a symbol of a square is used to represent north, south, east and west.
- There must be a table located to the south of the portraits as it is the golden gate. The heart of the ritual takes place below the golden gate at the "cave table"
- Divine beings in the Taoism religion are ancestors. They are only classified as divine beings if they have died a natural death after completing a life cycle. People who do not act correctly will be judged by the ancestors and they may cause trouble to them.
- Mazu is a goddess of the sea whose identity had been elevated. She was an object of a small cult at a temple. She then became widely worshiped in the southeastern coastal regions of China for protecting fishermen and sailors.
Deities are turned to for personal help or guidance
- Tao is the creator and is a force that flows through life. Each believer’s goal is to become one with the Tao
- The main ethics of Taoism are Tao, Wu-wei, Naturalness and the three treasures (compassion, moderation and humility).
- Taoist believe in three basic spheres of life, Earth, humanity and heaven which all have a specific effect on the life of an individual.
- The Earth and its seasons determine where and how an individual lives. Food, water, air and shelter come from the earth.
- Human civilization is a principle belief, a woman and mans relationship is vital in the religion.
- Heaven brings light to the world, defines the seasons, and brings celestial influences into humanity.
- Time is cyclical and not linear as in western thinking.
- Main focus is on health and
longevity of life.
Identify the principal rituals and examine their significance for the individual and community
Taoist rituals take two main forms, the making of potions to reverse aging and the spacing out of wider cosmos
- In a quest of immortality, a ritual is making potions to invert the normal body process and reverse aging.
- The ritual includes meditation and strict dietary requirements. The main focus is breathing as it leads to spiritual energy.
- The ideas of immortality and breathing are the basis of many chinese medicines as it has an effect on the individual believer
- The spacing out of wider cosmos is another related ritual. Taoists believe their bodies are internal landscapes with rivers, mountains and fields.
- The deities can change their internal landscapes through prayers and worships to them.
-Ritual spaces can help make transformations and lead to immortality of the people.
Explain the relationship between the religion and its society
- Taoism’s influence is China is particularly significant, with 30% of citizens identifying as a Taoist
-Taoism acted as a counterbalance to the strict conservative nature of China's other great religion, Confucianism.
- Through the practices, Taoism provides aid in the development of chemical innovations and chinese medicine. Gunpowder and the process of acupuncture was invented through Taoism.
-Yin and Yang was originated through the religion and is now used all over the world particularly in martial arts, the homosexual community and in the New Age Movement
- The spontaneous attitude of the Tao Te Ching added a living dimension to Chinese society where as Confucianism focused on conservative China and strict education systems.
Explain how the religion provides a distinctive response to the search for meaning
- From its origins Taoism helped in the understanding of a heavenly emperor in a heavenly court for the Chinese.
- Reaching this heaven was not however a main aim of the religion of Taoism.
- The main focus on Taoism and the meaning of the religion was a constant search for immorality, human life was explored as a quest to live forever.
- The rise of religious Taoism and philosophical Taoism continued to inspire Chinese.
- As a religion Taoism followed "the way" as an alternative understanding and vision for life outside the strict traditions of Confucianism.
Why I chose Taoism
I chose to study Taoism for this assessment as it was a religion I had never heard about.The religion originated within China and I have traveled to parts of China without knowledge on their religions. I was interested in the unique ethical beliefs of Taoism and the ways the rituals take place. When studying Taoism i found it fascinating that through the religion, gunpowder and acupuncture were developed. The religion offered a lot of information and it helped me with my general knowledge of the world. One of my passions is traveling and learning about other cultures, this assignment is beneficial for my future and has been enjoyable.
Chapter 14 Religions of ancient origin- Cambridge studies of religion publishes by Hartley and Noble 2011
http://www.patheos.com/Library/Taoism.html - Religious Library: Taoism written by Julia Hardy
http://taoism21cen,com/taoismreligion.html - Taoism as a religion written by You-Sheng Li
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism- Taosim, wikipedia
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religions/taoism/- Taoism by BBC