Taoism

The most ancient of the Chinese religious sects is that of the "Tao-Tse" or "sons of immortals" which was founded by Lao-Tse a philosopher who was born 604 B.C years before Christ. His mother it is believed conceived in a retired place by the united influence of heaven and earth and after eighty years of pregnancy under the shade of a plum tree gave birth to a son with perfectly white "hair".

Symbol of yīnyáng (yin and yang). Yin (dark) and yang (light). The 2 opposing but complementary main beliefs or cosmic forces found in all non-static objects and means in the universe. Forces in the natural world could be perceived as "yin or yang states" that produces constant movement of the universe.

It is said that Tao-Tse after having acquired a profound knowledge of the history and usages of his country travelled into Tibet where he imbibed the doctrines of the priests of Lama and wrote a book entitled "Tao the king" or the book of the power of Tao.

The first reformer and founder of Tao-ism seem to have been born as early as 604 B.C particularly of the moral precepts connected with it was Lao-Tse or as he is sometimes called Laokung. He was the son of a poor peasant but was already at an early period of his life fond of meditating and speculating upon religious subjects. During a journey to Tibet he became acquainted with Lamaism which was then already the religion of that country and pleased with many of its features he resolved to introduce them among his own countrymen.

According to his doctrine Tao is the principle to heaven and earth the cause of all that exists a highly wise but utterly incomprehensible Being. He who desires to be united to the Tao is the only wise man and must for this end be free from the influence of every passion engage in no sublunary pursuit keep silence censure nothing that exists and be kind to his fellow men.

As the basis of his moral system Lao-Tse laid down the rule that man must subdue and control his passions if he wishes to obtain spiritual and physical happiness. But he asserted also at the same time that sickness and death the two greatest enemies to undisturbed pleasure could and ought to be overcome by the draught of immortality a preparation of opium and other materials calculated to excite the nerves lately discovered. The temples of his followers are filled with large uncouth idols made of wood stone or burned clay and painted or varnished with glaring colors. A favorite idol with them is the so called god of immortality. It is done by placing on one side all those that personify virtuous and proper sentiments with their corresponding antagonists opposite to them thus the personification of love is contrasted with that of hatred.

The Three Pure Ones (from left to right): Heavenly Worthy of the Way and its Virtue, Heavenly Worthy of the Primordial Beginning, Heavenly Worthy of the Numinous Treasure. By Prince Roy
The Three Pure Ones (from left to right): Heavenly Worthy of the Way and its Virtue, Heavenly Worthy of the Primordial Beginning, Heavenly Worthy of the Numinous Treasure. By Prince Roy

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