Taoism Religion in Chinese Culture
Three Most Supreme Immortals of the Taoism Religion — San Qing
What is Taoism or Daoism Religion?
It respects Lao Zi (or Lao Tzu) as the saint and deity and his masterpiece Dao De Jing (or Tao Te Ching) as an essential classic.
It consists of a complete system of magical forces and deities and a series of outstanding scientific achievements.
Taoism Religion is the most mysterious and secular religion in traditional culture, which sounds far away but has indeed integrated into and profoundly influenced Chinese people’s daily lives for thousands of years.
Silk Manuscript of Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching), Unearthed From Tomb of Prime Minister Li Cang (? — 185 BC) — Mawangdui Museum of Hunan Province
Ultimate Purpose — Pursuing the Dao
Taoist believers dedicate their lives to understanding the Dao or Tao, the law of nature, and the rule of the universe.
Having apotheosized the Taoism Philosophy and based on ancient Chinese Mythology, an entire immortal system is constructed.
Moreover, in Taoism Religion, all human beings can become immortals, man or woman, noble or humble.
Therefore, the primary purposes of Taoist priests are to pursue the Dao in the current world and hopefully to become immortals through cultivation.
Main Characteristics of Religion of Taoism
It is possible for everyone to become immortal through cultivation, hence the polytheistic system.
Everyone can choose their favorite deity to believe in; there are no absolute rules, regulations, or ceremonies.
For most people, the best means to pursue the Dao is to practice in the secular world.
To be a good daughter or son, a lovely partner, a responsible employee, etc.
Finding and completing oneself is the foremost thing to do.
Everyone could have their understanding of the Dao.
Part of Murals of Taoism Deities on Walls inside the Yongle Palace (Built in 1247 — 1358) in Shanxi Province
Cultivation includes two practice phases in Taoism Religion, Xiuzhen, and Xiuxian.
Xiuzhen is a spiritual journey to practice one's mind and spirit, discover the inner self, and pursue the Dao.
Xiuxian is pursuing immortality through different mystical means, usually after completing the Xiuzhen process.
The methods used to assist one's pursuit of immortality paths are secretive and different; generally, they include physical practices (such as breathing exercises), taking elixirs from special alchemy, or doing good deeds.
Taoism Cultivation Places
Since the means of pursuing the Dao vary throughout history, the cultivation places also differ.
In ancient China, emperors and officials would practice Taoism in their secular worlds while visiting Taoism temples from time to time.
Not everyone could succeed while pursuing the Dao for thousands of years; however, many Taoists made significant contributions to Chinese medicine, chemistry, alchemy, astronomy, geology, math, science, botany, astrology, numerology, literature, etc.
For instance, gunpowder and Tofu were the results of alchemy activities, the compass was used in detecting Fengshui, many types of equipment were designed to try to fly, acupuncture, moxibustion, and Tai Ji were essential ways to keep healthy, and authors of the most extraordinary medical masterpieces in ancient China believed in Taoism Religion.
These achievements integrated into and extensively benefited the civilians’ daily lives, making the mysterious religion secular and popular.
Those skills and knowledge are only meant for pursuing the Dao; however, the final results varied for each person.