Ages ago Vaj sent me a piece on Taoism for the main section of the site. Even now I haven't got around to putting it up - I'd probably have to edit around the current format on other religions if it was to serve as a main short introductory essay to the topic. However, I am sure I will be referencing it later on when I do finally get around to properly developing the section on Tao and Taoism. For the moment, it seems a shame to have it languishing on my harddrive - so here's a post of Vajradhara's piece for others to read while I get my head around re-organising the forum boards. Taoism The Tao (pronounced "Dow") is the Way, the Way behind all ways, the principle underlying all principles, the fact underlying all facts. Taoism, in its broadest sense, is the search for truth and reality. In a narrower sense, it is the original wisdom tradition of China, and may be rendered as "Wayfaring". In this manner of usage, the Way is classically defined in these terms: "Humanity follows earth, earth follows heaven, heaven follows the Way, the Way follows Nature." In the final sense, therefore, Taoism, or Wayfaring, refers to the pursuit of natural laws. These natural laws are reflected in the body (earth), the mind (heaven), and in the order of the universe (the Way of Nature). The practice of Taoism, therefore, takes place in the cultivation and refinement of the natural capacities of the human body-mind continuum and its relationship with the social milieu and the natural world. According to classical thought, Taoism cannot be encompassed within just one framework of expression. As a result of this particular quality, many diverse modes of Taoist activity developed over the centuries. One of the most popular of these is the science of inner alchemy, which energizes the body and purifies the mind, thus producing transmutation in consciousness enhancing the individual experience of life. The earliest known Taoist text seems to be the I ching, well known as one of the fundamental classics of Chinese thought. This text was well regarded by both Taoists and Confucians. The I ching was written during a time when divination was prominent The Tao Te Ching is, without doubt, the most well known after the I ching. The Tao Te Ching is credited to Lao-tzu (Old Master) in roughly 600 B.C.E. Other texts include Yin Convergence Classic, which is credited to the Yellow Emperor, an historical-mythological figure of ancient China, in roughly 2,500 B.C.E. Other texts include, Chuang-tzu, which is widely held to be one of the best literary works in history, Sun-Tzu a military strategy text, and Huai-nan-tzu. In the Alchemical schools the teachings are found in a few important texts namely, The Triplex Unity, 400 Words on the Gold Pill, Pao-p’u-tzu and Leih-tzu.