Taoist Spirituality

Part 7 of 12 in the series Spiritual History

The ‘Tao’ or ‘Dao’ is the absolute principle underlying the universe, combining within itself the principles of yin and yang and signifying the way, or code of behavior, that is in harmony with the natural order. It is more the Source or Energy of the divine consciousness than an external personal god.

The history of Taoism stretches throughout Chinese history. Originating in prehistoric China, possibly as far back as Emporer Huangdi (3000 BCE) but mainly identified with the writing of Laozi (400BCE) it has exerted a powerful influence over Chinese culture throughout the ages. Taoism has always been a the spiritual/mystic side of the two main religions in China, Confucianism being the more religious side. Most recently, Taoism has emerged from a period of suppression and is undergoing a revival in China.

The most important thing people can do in life, Laozi asserts in the Tao Te Ching and other works attributed to him, is to gain a state of silent awareness — to open the mind to its source:

Become totally empty
Quiet the restlessness of the mind
Only then will you witness everything
unfolding from emptiness
See all things flourish and dance
in endless variation
And once again merge back into perfect emptiness—
Their true repose
Their true nature
Emerging, flourishing, dissolving back again
This is the eternal process of return

To know this process brings enlightenment
To miss this process brings disaster

Be still
Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity
Eternity embraces the all-possible
The all-possible leads to a vision of oneness
A vision of oneness brings about universal love
Universal love supports the great truth of Nature
The great truth of Nature is Tao

Whoever knows this truth lives forever
The body may perish, deeds may be forgotten
But he who has Tao has all eternity”

Laozi – Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing)

“A man’s mind is typically clouded with trivialities. The result is that he is confounded by time and space; and is confused by sensory existence, so that he fails to comprehend that age before anything was. Yet each man desires to penetrate the mystery of TAO and of creation, and rise to participation in the ONE
But the spiritual man on the other hand carries his mind back to the period before the beginning. Content to rest in the oblivion of nowhere, passing away like flowing water, he is merged in the clear depths of the infinite. “
Chuang Tzu – Chinese Mystic from ~400 BCE

“Man may rest in the eternal fitness; he may abide in the everlasting; and roam from the beginning to the end of all creation. He may bring his nature to a condition of ONE, he may nourish his strength; he may harmonise his virtue, and so put himself into partnership with God.

Chuang Tzu 


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