Taoism (modernly: Daoism) is a philosophical and religious tradition that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (modernly romanized as “Dao”). The term Tao means “way”, “path” or “principle”, and can also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions other than Taoism. In Taoism, however, Tao denotes something that is both the source and the driving force behind everything that exists. It is ultimately ineffable: “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.”

The keystone work of literature in Taoism is the Tao Te Ching, a concise and ambiguous book containing teachings attributed to Laozi (Chinese: 老子; pinyin: Lǎozi; Wade–Giles: Lao Tzu). Together with the writings of Zhuangzi, these texts build the philosophical foundation of Taoism. This philosophical Taoism, individualistic by nature, is not institutionalized.

You ask why I make my home in the mountain forest

李白 Li Po (701 – 762)

You ask why I make my home in the mountain forest,
and I smile, and am silent,
and even my soul remains quiet:
it lives in the other world
which no one owns.

The peach trees blossom,
The water flows.

道德經 Tao Te Ching : 2

老子 Lao Tzu  (600 BC)

All beneath heaven knows beauty is beauty
only because there’s ugliness,
and knows good is good
only because there’s evil.

Being and nonbeing give birth to one another,
difficult and easy complete one another,
long and short measure one another,
high and low fill one another,
music and noise harmonize one another,
before and after follow one another:
that’s why a sage abides in the realm of nothing’s own doing,
living out that wordless teaching.

The ten thousand things arise without beginnings there,
abide without waiting there,
come to perfection without dwelling there.

Without dwelling there: that’s the one way
you’ll never lose it.

Translation : David Hinton
Original Language : Chinese Mandarin