What is Daoism?

This is from a recent email from Master Chen, it’s a great introduction to what Daoism is all about. If you want to know more, Master Chen is coming to Atlanta in October, see the sidebar article on my classes page for more information.
Letter from Chen


What is Daoism? It is a new concept for many people in the western world. Dao is the “way, principle, truth and life”. “Dao” cannot be spoken of or named by mankind. It always falls into the short-term intellectual concept of mankind who has great ambition and ego of knowing and naming. When you name the “Dao”, you create the ten thousand mysteries in life which entertain your quality of life in your short journey on earth, life after life. “Dao” can be spoken about only when we have the curiosity of knowing in the moment and let it go after the knowing becomes the wisdom. It guides us all from darkness into the light by providing us the clear understanding of principles in life. It also gives us the ways to cultivate the unity between body and our spirit; pointing the truth destination for us to return “home” without falling into the traps of darkness.

Daoism was the way of living philosophy at first for all humankind. In ancient China, a wise man taught us the ways and principles to live with mother-nature between man, heaven and earth; kings with sage-quality live among ordinary people promoting peace and harmony by living as an example. Ancient people lived a simple, joyful life with the teachings of the “Dao” and lived life with “Conscious, mercy and forgiveness”.

About 1,500 hundred years ago, a sage named “Zhang Dao Ling” organized followers who lived the way of the Dao together creating an organization called “Wu Dou Mi Dao”. This later became “Tian Shi Dao”. People celebrated the highest quality of mankind, worship the best of humanity, and created a system of religious practice like other religions in the world who celebrate best of the humanity.

Daoism was created at that time and it became Chinese national religion that influenced Chinese culture and spirit.

Daoism as a religion has two type of practice, living in the temples, practicing immortality, worshiping all kinds of gods that are important to people. They devote human life to the world by living in simplicity and truth nature. They are the light house for the darkness of the ocean and preserve the way of living philosophy for mankind. This type of Daoist practice was named “QuanZhen Dao”, often represented as “Northern branch Daoism”. In Southern China, the family of “Zhang”, lead ordinary people to follow the principles of the Dao, lived in normal communities and practiced the religious activities when needed in the temple. They served communities with different religious activities like celebrating joy and prosperity and asking for blessings and rewards from the gods.

The others, like celebrating soul passing by asking blessing of the gods. This kind of religion was very practical and served the needs of the people, living in material life as a Daoist priest, we call it “Zhen Yi Dao”. Often this is being represented as Southern Daoism.

Daoism encourages its followers and people to live life with two main principles: “Dao Fa Zi Ran (The Dao follows what it is nature)”; “Tian Ren He Yi (Heaven united with human as one)”. With these two main believes, it came with others like:

1. Be still and purify the spirit, lesser desires and detach from desire by weakening ambition, stillness is the root of the Dao.

2. Empty the heart, free from all emotions, accept and understand the emotion with attachment to the concept of them; observe and avoid the impact to body and spirit from resistant of all emotions.

3. Return to simplicity, look inward to embrace the truth spirit, merge self into the field of the Dao, letting go of the need of knowing, void becomes the “body” of the Dao.

4. Be soft and gentle. Soften ambition and ego, practice kindness, mercy and forgiveness, step back, dis engage from quarrels and fight to preserve the quality of the peace in life. Softness is the application of the Dao.

5. Cultivate the virtue. Virtue is the outfit of the Dao and kindness is the basic original human truth nature. Return from the complication of emotions from the stress of daily life. Preserve the original quality of humanity, love and enjoy life. Virtue is the compassion of the Dao.

6. Do nothing and leave nothing undone. Taking a step back. Cultivate the stillness and virtue, weakening ambition from material desires, return to stillness and produce inner joy, and then engage into the world to have high quality of performance in life.

Beside from being religion, Daoism preaches the nature way of living to provide a high productive life. Daoism teaches society a complete system to preserve life, preventing and curing diseases, improving physical performance and then, thereby being able to transform from ordinary to extraordinary human being. Furthermore, to reach immortality through cultivating internal alchemy.

Daoism practitioners discovered the techniques to transform human life with Yi Jing, Feng Shui, herbal medicine, herbal diet, acupuncture, energy healing, Dao Yin, Qi Gong and internal alchemy.

From generation to generation, priests pass down the techniques and experiences in writing and private oral teaching. Not only do Chinese benefit from these teachings, but also millions of people today worldwide have received the great teachings from those who have practiced the arts of Daoist healing.

Daoism teaches people to master the self not only emotionally, spiritually in theory or philosophy, but also teaching people to take control of physical life, to live in harmony with nature, united with Dao to achieve immortality in a very practical way. People are growing into heaven, not just “going to heaven”.

Live in the moment, cultivate the stillness, merge into the Dao, enjoy the journey on Earth and return the spiritual home when you are ready. This is Daoism.

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