Taoist Beliefs and Practices:
- Tao is the first-cause of the universe. It is a force that flows through all life.
- Time is cyclical, not linear as in Western thinking
- Yin (dark side) is the breath that formed the earth. Yang (light side) is the breath that formed the heavens. They symbolize pairs of opposites which are seen throughout the universe, such as good and evil, light and dark, male and female. Intervention by human civilization upsets the balances of Yin and Yang. The symbol of Taoism, seen at the top of this page, represents Yin and Yang in balance.
- "The Tao surrounds everyone and therefore everyone must listen to find enlightenment." (8)
- Five main organs and orifices of the body correspond to the five parts of the sky: water, fire, wood, metal and earth.
- Each person must nurture the Ch'i (air, breath) that has been given to them.
- The goal of everyone is to become one with the Tao.
- Development of virtue is one's chief task. The Three Jewels to be sought are compassion, moderation and humility.
- Taoists follow the art of "wu wei", which is to achieve action through minimal action. "It is the practice of going against the stream not by struggling against it and thrashing about, but by standing still and letting the stream do all the work. Thus the sage knows that relative to the river, he still moves against the current. To the outside world the sage appears to take no action - but in fact he takes action long before others ever foresee the need for action." (1)
- One should plan in advance and consider carefully each action before making it.
- A Taoists is kind to other individuals, largely because such an action tends to be reciprocated.
- Taoists believe that "people are compassionate by nature...left to their own devices [they] will show this compassion without expecting a reward." (1)