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Taoism (Daoism) in China

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A Taoist in Mt. Wudangshan
A Taoist in Mt. Wudangshan

As the only indigenous religion of China, Taoism has enjoyed a history of over 1,800 years in China. Centering on Tao, the origin and objective laws of the world, its doctrine is developed around heaven wherein is the residence of the immortals, the actual earth and everything on it and hell, human beings and ghosts.

The doctrine of Taoism is based on the philosophical thoughts of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu in the Spring and Autumn Periods (770BC-476BC) and Warring States Periods (476BC-221BC). Taoists respected Lao-tzu as the God of Supreme Power. Taoism was actually founded in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) along with the appearance of the Wudoumi Tao by Zhang Daoling, one of the founders of Taoism, who was christened as Taoist master. In the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-589), it gradually prevailed throughout China. Thereafter, it developed into many sects, and evolved into Quanzhen and Zhengyi Taoism finally. Now the Quanzhen sect makes Tao Te Ching as their classic, and all the taoists are not allowed to get married, while the Zhengyi sect regard Zheng Yi Jing as their classic and the believers are allowed to get married.

Taoism stands for that from which all things were born and are returned to nature in the end; from where people could break away from the abyss of misery and ascend to heaven to be immortals if they had striven after virtue as well as practiced good deeds persistently in their previous lives. There are two kinds of Taoist followers: professional Taoists and believers. Both of these may offer sacrifices to the god and take part in Taoist activities and ceremonies in the Taoist temples in order to improve themselves in Taoist culture.

Taoist witchcraft is a religious practice, through which Taoists try to be immortals. Originally, Taoists and Taoist believers used magic pellets made in the furnaces or tripods to achieve their immortality. Since the Tang Dynasty (618-907), they changed to achieve their ideals by building their bodies in the way of activating, channeling, and inspiring qi. Later, they adopted the way of eating healthy food and using beneficial medicines to live a longer life, which has a great influence on traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese health science promotion.

Xuandi Temple at Mt. Wudangshan
Xuandi Temple at Mt. Wudangshan
Baxian'an, A Taoist Temple in Xian

There are four well-known Taoist mountains in China: Mt. Wudangshan in Shiyan City of Hubei Province, Mt. Dragon and Tiger in Yingtan City of Jiangxi Province, Mt. Qiyunshan in Huangshan City of Anhui Province and Mt. Qingchengshan in Dujiangyan City of Sichuan Province. These are all very beautiful and interesting places, and are well worthy of a visit.

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