Tao, open & nonreified
Produces the absolute
The absolute changes & there
is the first one
One divides into to two & produces
And the four signs & five forces
emerge from here
The Tao is the root of Heaven and
In the mystic teaching, One is the
door of all subtelties
The I Ching distinguishes creation
and evolution from within the One
The Human mind employs general norms
on the basis of One. "
The Book of Balance & Harmony
Traditional Chinese Medicine is founded on the philosophy of
the ancient Taoists. Taoism has had a profound effect on Chinese
culture as a whole. Taoist ideas, philosophies and practices are
the raw threads from which the rich tapestry of Chinese culture
is woven and many of them survive to this day. The Dai Ji, or
popular Yin/Yang symbol is the Taoist representation of the interconnectedness
and essential duality that characterizes the living Universe and
the world of Humans.
The ancient Taoists were alchemists. They sought transformation
from the Human state. Like their western counterparts, they sought
the ever elusive secret of immortality, or the Fountain of Youth.
They also sought the secret of turning Lead into Gold. Like their
western counterparts, they also fell into disfavour in the Age of
Science. But their ideas and practices were so well researched and
thought out that Science has only ever been able to prove the wisdom
of the Taoists, not disprove it.
They understood that Humans are one with Nature. Modern
synonyms for how the Taoists understood Nature might be God or The
Universe. But Taoist philosophy, in practice goes much further than
that. Since Ultimate understanding of the Universe is impossible,
at this level, all Theories of Heaven are seen as mere constructs
of the Mind, each to be evaluated and learned from, but eventually
disgarded. One is as good (or evil) as the next, and all are essential
parts of the whole - The One.
The Taoists used the word Qi, which in its
simplest translation means 'energy.' Qi, as I have mentioned,
is defined as the motive force of the Universe. Taoist practices
are, for the most part designed to manipulate Qi in order
to achieve their practical and spiritual goals.
One very important aspect of Taoist practice was essentially
a means for attaining longevity, disease free good health, mental
and spiritual well being, invulnerability and immortality at its
highest expression. It was thought that immunity from disease and
immortality of the physical body was as much a mental and spiritual
path as it was a physical one.
So, why one might ask would they be so concerned with
finding the secret of immortality on this plane?
The Tao, literally translated means The Way. The Tao
is seen more as a path than a destination. It is said, that the
Tao that can be named is NOT the true Tao. So, while the Taoists
sought physical immortality, the idea of enlightenment or actually
attaining a spiritual awakening was always put off. The true Tao
is one that apparently can never be attained, but its pursuit was
the highest expression of what it is to be human. Taoists believe
that their purpose on Earth is to experience all that there is to
experience of what it is to be human. To the Taoists, all experience
Although they developed the Yin/Yang philosophy to
represent the essential duality of Life, they did not develop a
well defined philosophy of Good and Evil. They saw all experience
as an opportunity to question and learn. Each learning leads to
deeper questioning, deeper learning and yet more experiences.
The Taoists are the only major religion or philosophy
never to have condemned Witchcraft. In fact the symbols of Witchcraft
as well as statues of Buddha, Christ, and any number of other symbols
are likely to be found together in the same Taoist shrine.
The ancient Taoists were not just abstract philosophers.
They were practical scientific people who developed a complete system
for living well. This system is comprised of 8 practices known as
the Eight Pillars.
The Eight Pillars
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