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What are the Basic Concepts of Taoism?

Taoism is an ancient Chinese system of beliefs which are all closely related, made up of philosophies as well as traditions that can be traced back over 2000 years. This is the most common system of beliefs throughout China, although modernization of the country has brought along many other religions such as Muslim and Christian.

One of the basic concepts in Taoism is the essential power of balance in all forms. Taoism states that everything in your life, from the energies around and within you to the placing of the furniture in your home is instrumental to your well-being and happiness. Tai chi is a form of exercise used to compose your energies, and feng shui is the practice of placing all the objects in your home accordingly to maximize the flow of energy.

Much like the cross to Christians, the familiar yin yang symbol fundamentally represents the Taoist religion. This symbol is depicted most popularly as a black and white circle with a waved line through the middle, and opposing circles of the opposing color on the top left hemisphere and bottom right hemisphere, respectively. Unlike the cross, however, the yin yang is a much more positive representation of the belief system it embodies.

This symbol very well personifies the key influence in Taoism, which is all about how everything, even things that seem unbound and quite contrasting on opposite ends of their respective spectrums, are all tied together. In Taoism, without one there isn’t the other.

There is simply no way for anything to be a whole without opposition. For example, how would we know what good is if there never had been evil to compare it to? Taoism states that, in order for us to appreciate and fully understand one, we must have experienced the other or it would all make no sense.

Furthermore, Taoism does not recognize “good vs. evil”. Rather, it holds each as separate entities independent of one another. Taoism accepts the reality of good and evil instead of believing in good or believing in evil. Taoism recognizes that all actions are composed of a little of both; that everything inherently is good and bad. Things are never on just one side of the spectrum, and travel throughout it incessantly. One inevitably is replaced by the other at some points, and nothing is ever forever.

Taoists hold no judgment when it comes to issues common in other religions, like abortion or same-sex marriages, because choosing a position behind any of these issues is just a waste of time. However, keeping to the traditional male and female roles is ‘the balanced way’. Like good and evil, male and female are opposing actualities that must logically co-exist for the world to make sense.

In general, Taoism is a peaceful and beautiful religion. Even with all its different branches, it all boils down to the same harmonious roots. Advocating balance and reality, as well as respect for nature. Taoism is something that should influence all of us, no matter what Gods church you choose to pray in or to.

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