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Top Questions: Daoism


What is Daoism? Daoism is a philosophy, religion, and way of life that arose in the 6th century BCE and has since strongly influenced the culture and religious life of China and other East Asian countries.
What does dao mean? The term dao predates the rise of Daoism. Its literal meanings include “way,” “path,” “road,” “course,” “speech,” and “method.”
What are the basic teachings of Daoism? The concept of dao plays various roles in Daoist philosophy. The Cosmic Dao is an undefined force that latently contains all things and spontaneously generates the universe through its rhythmic fluctuations. Humanity will flourish only if its dao is attuned to this natural order.
Who were the great teachers of Daoism? The founding figure is Laozi, who flourished in the 6th century BCE; some credit him with authoring the earliest work of Daoist philosophy. Zhuangzi, or “Master Zhuan,” who lived from about 369 to 286 BCE, was a major interpreter of Daoism and a comprehensive author on the subject. How does Daoism differ from Confucianism? Daoism and Confucianism are not incompatible, but they differ in focus and emphasis. Whereas Daoism seeks harmony between the human way and the natural order and tends to view human society as artificial and constrained, Confucianism emphasizes the achievement of a kind of moral excellence that is cultivated and manifested by conscientious behavior within social institutions.
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