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Short description: Chinese concept
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In Taoism, related traditions, and other Chinese religions and sects who incorporate it into their worldviews, the Tao[note 1] is the natural way of the universe, whose character one's intuition must discern to realize the potential for individual wisdom, as conceived in the context of East Asian philosophy, religion, and related traditions. This seeing of life cannot be grasped as a concept. Rather, it is seen through actual living experience of one's everyday being. Its name derives from a Chinese character with meanings including 'way', 'path', 'road', and sometimes 'doctrine' or 'principle'.[1]

In the Tao Te Ching, Laozi explains that the Tao is not a name for a thing, but the underlying natural order of the universe whose ultimate essence is difficult to circumscribe because it is non-conceptual yet evident in one's being of aliveness. The Tao is "eternally nameless" and should be distinguished from the countless named things that are considered to be its manifestations, the reality of life before its descriptions of it.

Calligraphy of Tao (Template:Zhi)

Description and uses of the concept

The bagua, a symbol commonly used to represent the Tao and its pursuit

The word "Tao" has a variety of meanings in both the ancient and modern Chinese language. Aside from its purely prosaic use meaning road, channel, path, principle, or similar,[2] the word has acquired a variety of differing and often confusing metaphorical, philosophical, and religious uses. In most belief systems, the word is used symbolically in its sense of "way" as the right or proper way of existence, or in the context of ongoing practices of attainment or of the full coming into being, or the state of enlightenment or spiritual perfection that is the outcome of such practices.[3]

Some scholars make sharp distinctions between the moral or ethical usage of the word "Tao" that is prominent in Confucianism and religious Taoism and the more metaphysical usage of the term used in philosophical Taoism and most forms of Mahayana Buddhism;[4] others maintain that these are not separate usages or meanings, seeing them as mutually inclusive and compatible approaches to defining the principle.[5] The original use of the term was as a form of praxis rather than theory—a term used as a convention to refer to something that otherwise cannot be discussed in words—and early writings such as the Tao Te Ching and I Ching make pains to distinguish between conceptions of the Tao (sometimes referred to as "named Tao") and the Tao itself (the "unnamed Tao"), which cannot be expressed or understood in language.[note 2][note 3][6] Liu Da asserts that the Tao is properly understood as an experiential and evolving concept and that there are not only cultural and religious differences in the interpretation of the Tao but personal differences that reflect the character of individual practitioners.[7]

The Tao can be roughly thought of as the "flow of the universe", or as some essence or pattern behind the natural world that keeps the Universe balanced and ordered.[8] It is related to qi, the essential energy of action and existence. The Tao is a non-dualistic principle—it is the greater whole from which all the individual elements of the Universe derive. Catherine Keller considers it similar to the negative theology of Western scholars,[9] but the Tao is rarely an object of direct worship, being treated more like the Hindu concepts of karma, dharma, or Ṛta than as a divine object.[10] The Tao is more commonly expressed in the relationship between wu (void or emptiness, in the sense of wuji) and the natural, dynamic balance between opposites, leading to its central principle of wu wei (inaction or inexertion).

The Tao is usually described in terms of elements of nature, and in particular, as similar to water.[11][12] Like water it is undifferentiated, endlessly self-replenishing, soft and quiet but immensely powerful, and impassively generous.[note 4] The Song dynasty painter Chen Rong popularized the analogy with his painting Nine Dragons.[11]

Much of Taoist philosophy centers on the cyclical continuity of the natural world and its contrast to the linear, goal-oriented actions of human beings, as well as the perception that the Tao is "the source of all being, in which life and death are the same."[14]

In all its uses, the Tao is considered to have ineffable qualities that prevent it from being defined or expressed in words. It can, however, be known or experienced, and its principles (which can be discerned by observing nature) can be followed or practiced. Much of East Asian philosophical writing focuses on the value of adhering to the principles of the Tao and the various consequences of failing to do so.

The Tao was shared with Confucianism, Chan Buddhism and Zen, and more broadly throughout East Asian philosophy and religion in general. In Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, and Confucianism, the object of spiritual practice is to "become one with the Tao" (Tao Te Ching) or to harmonize one's will with nature (cf. Stoicism) to achieve 'effortless action'. This involves meditative and moral practices. Important in this respect is the Taoist concept of de ('virtue'). In Confucianism and religious forms of Taoism, these are often explicitly moral/ethical arguments about proper behavior, while Buddhism and more philosophical forms of Taoism usually refer to the natural and mercurial outcomes of action (comparable to karma). The Tao is intrinsically related to the concepts of yin and yang, where every action creates counter-actions as unavoidable movements within manifestations of the Tao, and proper practice variously involves accepting, conforming to, or working with these natural developments.

In Taoism and Confucianism, the Tao was sometimes traditionally seen as a "transcendent power that blesses" that can "express itself directly" through various ways, but most often shows itself through the speech, movement, or traditional ritual of a "prophet, priest, or king."[15] Tao can serve as a life energy instead of qi in some Taoist belief systems.[citation needed]


Main page: Philosophy:De (Chinese)

De (Template:Zhi) is the term generally used to refer to proper adherence to the Tao. De is the active living or cultivation of the way.[16] Particular things (things with names) that manifest from the Tao have their own inner nature that they follow in accordance with the Tao, and the following of this inner nature is De. Wu wei, or 'naturalness', is contingent on understanding and conforming to this inner nature, which is interpreted variously from a personal, individual nature to a more generalized notion of human nature within the greater Universe.[17]

Historically, the concept of De differed significantly between Taoists and Confucianists. Confucianism was largely a moral system emphasizing the values of humaneness, righteousness, and filial duty, and so conceived De in terms of obedience to rigorously defined and codified social rules. Taoists took a broader, more naturalistic, more metaphysical view on the relationship between humankind and the Universe and considered social rules to be at best a derivative reflection of the natural and spontaneous interactions between people and at worst calcified structure that inhibited naturalness and created conflict. This led to some philosophical and political conflicts between Taoists and Confucians. Several sections of the works attributed to Zhuang Zhou are dedicated to critiques of the failures of Confucianism.



[Tao] means a road, path, way; and hence, the way in which one does something; method, doctrine, principle. The Way of Heaven, for example, is ruthless; when autumn comes 'no leaf is spared because of its beauty, no flower because of its fragrance'. The Way of Man means, among other things, procreation; and eunuchs are said to be 'far from the Way of Man'. Chu Tao is 'the way to be a monarch', i.e. the art of ruling. Each school of philosophy has its tao, its doctrine of the way in which life should be ordered. Finally in a particular school of philosophy whose followers came to be called Taoists, tao meant 'the way the universe works'; and ultimately something very like God, in the more abstract and philosophical sense of that term.[18]

"Tao" gives Taoism its name in English, in both its philosophical and religious forms. The Tao is the fundamental and central concept of these schools of thought. Taoism perceives the Tao as a natural order underlying the substance and activity of the Universe. Language and the "naming" of the Tao is regarded negatively in Taoism; the Tao fundamentally exists and operates outside the realm of differentiation and linguistic constraints.[19]

There is no single orthodox Taoist view of the Tao. All forms of Taoism center around Tao and De, but there is a broad variety of distinct interpretations among sects and even individuals in the same sect. Despite this diversity, there are some clear, common patterns and trends in Taoism and its branches.[20]

The diversity of Taoist interpretations of the Tao can be seen across four texts representative of major streams of thought in Taoism. All four texts are used in modern Taoism with varying acceptance and emphasis among sects. The Tao Te Ching is the oldest text and representative of a speculative and philosophical approach to the Tao. The Daotilun is an eighth century exegesis of the Tao Te Ching, written from a well-educated and religious viewpoint that represents the traditional, scholarly perspective. The devotional perspective of the Tao is expressed in the Qingjing Jing, a liturgical text that was originally composed during the Han dynasty and is used as a hymnal in religious Taoism, especially among eremites. The Zhuangzi uses literary devices such as tales, allegories, and narratives to relate the Tao to the reader, illustrating a metaphorical method of viewing and expressing the Tao.[21]

A Taoist monk practicing calligraphy with water on stone. Water calligraphy, like sand mandalas, evokes the ephemeral nature of physical reality.

The forms and variations of religious Taoism are incredibly diverse. They integrate a broad spectrum of academic, ritualistic, supernatural, devotional, literary, and folk practices with a multitude of results. Buddhism and Confucianism particularly affected the way many sects of Taoism framed, approached, and perceived the Tao. The multitudinous branches of religious Taoism accordingly regard the Tao, and interpret writings about it, in innumerable ways. Thus, outside of a few broad similarities, it is difficult to provide an accurate yet clear summary of their interpretation of the Tao.[22]

A central tenet in most varieties of religious Taoism is that the Tao is ever-present, but must be manifested, cultivated, and/or perfected to be realized. It is the source of the Universe, and the seed of its primordial purity resides in all things. Breathing exercises, according to some Taoists, allowed one to absorb "parts of the universe."[23] Incense and certain minerals were seen as representing the greater universe as well, and breathing them in could create similar effects.[citation needed] The manifestation of the Tao is de, which rectifies and invigorates the world with the Tao's radiance.[20]

Alternatively, philosophical Taoism regards the Tao as a non-religious concept; it is not a deity to be worshiped, nor is it a mystical Absolute in the religious sense of the Hindu brahman. Joseph Wu remarked of this conception of the Tao, "Dao is not religiously available; nor is it even religiously relevant." The writings of Laozi and Zhuangzi are tinged with esoteric tones and approach humanism and naturalism as paradoxes.[24] In contrast to the esotericism typically found in religious systems, the Tao is not transcendent to the self, nor is mystical attainment an escape from the world in philosophical Taoism. The self steeped in the Tao is the self grounded in its place within the natural Universe. A person dwelling within the Tao excels in themselves and their activities.[25]

However, this distinction is complicated by hermeneutic difficulties in the categorization of Taoist schools, sects, and movements.[26]

Some Taoists believe the Tao is an entity that can "take on human form" to perform its goals.[27]

The Tao represents human harmony with the universe and even more phenomena in the world and nature.


The Tao of Confucius can be translated as 'truth'. Confucianism regards the Way, or Truth, as concordant with a particular approach to life, politics, and tradition. It is held as equally necessary and well regarded as de and ren ('compassion', 'humanity'). Confucius presents a humanistic Tao. He only rarely speaks of the 'Way of Heaven'. The early Confucian philosopher Xunzi explicitly noted this contrast. Though he acknowledged the existence and celestial importance of the Way of Heaven, he insisted that the Tao principally concerns human affairs.[28]

As a formal religious concept in Confucianism, Tao is the Absolute toward which the faithful move. In Zhongyong (The Doctrine of the Mean), harmony with the Absolute is the equivalent to integrity and sincerity. The Great Learning expands on this concept explaining that the Way illuminates virtue, improves the people, and resides within the purest morality. During the Tang dynasty, Han Yu further formalized and defined Confucian beliefs as an apologetic response to Buddhism. He emphasized the ethics of the Way. He explicitly paired "Tao" and "De", focusing on humane nature and righteousness. He also framed and elaborated on a "tradition of the Tao" in order to reject the traditions of Buddhism.[28]

Ancestors and the Mandate of Heaven were thought to emanate from the Tao, especially during the Song dynasty.[29]


Buddhism first started to spread in China during the first century AD and was experiencing a golden age of growth and maturation by the fourth century AD. Hundreds of collections of Pali and Sanskrit texts were translated into Chinese by Buddhist monks within a short period of time. Dhyana was translated as Template:Zhi, and later as "zen", giving Zen Buddhism its name. The use of Chinese concepts, such as the Tao, that were close to Buddhist ideas and terms helped spread the religion and make it more amenable to the Chinese people. However, the differences between the Sanskrit and Chinese terminology led to some initial misunderstandings and the eventual development of Buddhism in East Asia as a distinct entity. As part of this process, many Chinese words introduced their rich semantic and philosophical associations into Buddhism, including the use of "Tao" for central concepts and tenets of Buddhism.[30]

Pai-chang Huai-hai told a student who was grappling with difficult portions of suttas, "Take up words in order to manifest meaning and you'll obtain 'meaning'. Cut off words and meaning is emptiness. Emptiness is the Tao. The Tao is cutting off words and speech." Zen Buddhists regard the Tao as synonymous with both the Buddhist Path and the results of it, the Noble Eightfold Path and Buddhist enlightenment. Pai-chang's statement plays upon this usage in the context of the fluid and varied Chinese usage of "Tao". Words and meanings are used to refer to rituals and practices. The "emptiness" refers to the Buddhist concept of sunyata. Finding the Tao and Buddha-nature is not simply a matter of formulations, but an active response to the Four Noble Truths that cannot be fully expressed or conveyed in words and concrete associations. The use of "Tao" in this context refers to the literal "way" of Buddhism, the return to the universal source, dharma, proper meditation, and nirvana, among other associations. "Tao" is commonly used in this fashion by Chinese Buddhists, heavy with associations and nuanced meanings.[31]


During the Song dynasty, neo-Confucians regarded the Tao as the purest thing-in-itself. Shao Yong regarded the Tao as the origin of heaven, earth, and everything within them. In contrast, Zhang Zai presented a vitalistic Tao that was the fundamental component or effect of qi, the motive energy behind life and the world. A number of later scholars adopted this interpretation, such as Tai Chen during the Qing dynasty.[28]

Zhu Xi, Cheng Ho, and Cheng Yi perceived the Tao in the context of li ('principle') and t'ien li ('principle of Heaven'). Cheng Hao regarded the fundamental matter of li, and thus the Tao, to be humaneness. Developing compassion, altruism, and other humane virtues is following of the Way. Cheng Yi followed this interpretation, elaborating on this perspective of the Tao through teachings about interactions between yin and yang, the cultivation and preservation of life, and the axiom of a morally just universe.[28]

On the whole, the Tao is equated with totality. Wang Fuzhi expressed the Tao as the taiji, or 'great ultimate', as well as the road leading to it. Nothing exists apart from the Principle of Heaven in Neo-Confucianism. The Way is contained within all things. Thus, the religious life is not an elite or special journey for Neo-Confucians. The normal, mundane life is the path that leads to the Absolute, because the Absolute is contained within the mundane objects and events of daily life.[28]

Chinese folklore

Yayu, the son of Zhulong who was reincarnated on Earth as a violent hybrid between a bull, a tiger, and a dragon, was allowed to go to an afterlife that was known as "the place beyond the Tao".[32] This shows that some Chinese folk storytelling and mythological traditions had very differing interpretations of the Tao between each other and orthodox religious practices.


Noted Christian author C.S. Lewis used the word Tao to describe "the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, the kind of thing the Universe is and the kind of things we are."[33] He asserted that every religion and philosophy contains foundations of universal ethics as an attempt to line up with the Tao—the way mankind was designed to be. In Lewis's thinking, God created the Tao and fully displayed it through the person of Jesus Christ.

Similarly, Eastern Orthodox hegumen Damascene (Christensen), a pupil of noted monastic and scholar of East Asian religions Seraphim Rose, identified logos with the Tao. Damascene published a full commented translation of the Tao Te Ching under the title Christ the Eternal Tao.[34]

In some Chinese translations of the New Testament, the word λόγος (logos) is translated as Template:Zhi, in passages such as John 1:1, indicating that the translators considered the concept of Tao to be somewhat equivalent to the Hellenic concept of logos in Platonism and Christianity.[35]

Linguistic aspects

The Chinese character Template:Zhi is highly polysemous: its historical alternate pronunciation as Template:Zhi possessed an additional connotation of 'guide'. The history of the character includes details of orthography and semantics, as well as a possible Proto-Indo-European etymology, in addition to more recent loaning into English and other world languages.


Bronze script
Chu slip and silk script
Large seal script

"Tao" is written with the Chinese character Template:Zhi using both traditional and simplified characters. The traditional graphical interpretation of Template:Zhi dates back to the Shuowen Jiezi dictionary published in 121 CE, which describes it as a rare "compound ideogram" or "ideographic compound". According to the Shuowen Jiezi, Template:Zhi combines the 'go' radical Template:Zhi (a variant of Template:Zhi) with Template:Zhi. This construction signified a "head going" or "leading the way".

"Tao" is graphically distinguished between its earliest nominal meaning of 'way', 'road', 'path', and the later verbal sense of 'say'. It should also be contrasted with Template:Zhi. The simplified character Template:Zhi for Template:Zhi has Template:Zhi in place of Template:Zhi.

The earliest written forms of "Tao" are bronzeware script and seal script characters from the Zhou dynasty (1045–256 BCE) bronzes and writings. These ancient forms more clearly depict the Template:Zhi element as hair above a face. Some variants interchange the 'go' radical Template:Zhi with Template:Zhi, with the original bronze "crossroads" depiction written in the seal character with two Template:Zhi and Template:Zhi.

Bronze scripts for Template:Zhi occasionally include an element of Template:Zhi or Template:Zhi, which occurs in Template:Zhi. The linguist Peter A. Boodberg explained,

This "tao with the hand element" is usually identified with the modern character Template:Zhi tao < d'ôg, 'to lead,', 'guide', 'conduct', and considered to be a derivative or verbal cognate of the noun tao, "way," "path." The evidence just summarized would indicate rather that "tao with the hand" is but a variant of the basic tao and that the word itself combined both nominal and verbal aspects of the etymon. This is supported by textual examples of the use of the primary tao in the verbal sense "to lead" (e. g., Analects 1.5; 2.8) and seriously undermines the unspoken assumption implied in the common translation of Tao as "way" that the concept is essentially a nominal one. Tao would seem, then, to be etymologically a more dynamic concept than we have made it translation-wise. It would be more appropriately rendered by "lead way" and "lode" ("way," "course," "journey," "leading," "guidance"; cf. "lodestone" and "lodestar"), the somewhat obsolescent deverbal noun from "to lead."[36]

These Confucian Analects citations of dao verbally meaning 'to guide', 'to lead' are: "The Master said, 'In guiding a state of a thousand chariots, approach your duties with reverence and be trustworthy in what you say" and "The Master said, 'Guide them by edicts, keep them in line with punishments, and the common people will stay out of trouble but will have no sense of shame."[37]


In modern Standard Chinese, Template:Zhi's two primary pronunciations are tonally differentiated between falling tone Template:Zhi and dipping tone Template:Zhi (usually written as Template:Zhi).

Besides the common specifications Template:Zhi and Template:Zhi (with variant Template:Zhi), Template:Zhi has a rare additional pronunciation with the level tone, Template:Zhi, seen in the regional chengyu Template:Zhi, a reduplication of Template:Zhi and Template:Zhi from northeast China.

In Middle Chinese (c. 6th–10th centuries CE) tone name categories, Template:Zhi and Template:Zhi were Template:Zhi and Template:Zhi. Historical linguists have reconstructed MC Template:Zhi and Template:Zhi as d'âu- and d'âu (Bernhard Karlgren),[38] dau and dau[39] daw' and dawh,[40] dawX and daws (William H. Baxter),[41] and dâuB and dâuC.[42]

In Old Chinese (c. 7th–3rd centuries BCE) pronunciations, reconstructions for Template:Zhi and Template:Zhi are *d'ôg (Karlgren), *dəw (Zhou), *dəgwx and *dəgwh,[43] *luʔ,[41] and *lûʔ and *lûh.[42]


The word Template:Zhi has many meanings. For example, the Hanyu Da Zidian dictionary defines 39 meanings for Template:Zhi and 6 for Template:Zhi.[44]

John DeFrancis's Chinese-English dictionary gives twelve meanings for Template:Zhi, three for Template:Zhi, and one for Template:Zhi. Note that brackets clarify abbreviations and ellipsis marks omitted usage examples.

2dào Template:Zhi N. [noun] road; path ◆M. [nominal measure word] ① (for rivers/topics/etc.) ② (for a course (of food); a streak (of light); etc.) ◆V. [verb] ① say; speak; talk (introducing direct quote, novel style) ... ② think; suppose ◆B.F. [bound form, bound morpheme] ① channel ② way; reason; principle ③ doctrine ④ Daoism ⑤ line ⑥〈hist.〉 [history] ⑦ district; circuit canal; passage; tube ⑧ say (polite words) ... See also 4dǎo, 4dāo

4dǎo 导/道[導/- B.F. [bound form] ① guide; lead ... ② transmit; conduct ... ③ instruct; direct ...

4dāo in shénshendāodāo ... 神神道道 R.F. [reduplicated form] 〈topo.〉[non-Mandarin form] odd; fantastic; bizarre [45]

Dao, starting from the Song dynasty, also referred to an ideal in Chinese landscape paintings that artists sought to live up to by portraying "nature scenes" that reflected "the harmony of man with his surroundings."[46]


The etymological linguistic origins of dao "way; path" depend upon its Old Chinese pronunciation, which scholars have tentatively reconstructed as *d'ôg, *dəgwx, *dəw, *luʔ, and *lûʔ.

Boodberg noted that the shou "head" phonetic in the dao character was not merely phonetic but "etymonic", analogous with English to head meaning "to lead" and "to tend in a certain direction," "ahead," "headway".

Paronomastically, tao is equated with its homonym tao < d'ôg, "to trample," "tread," and from that point of view it is nothing more than a "treadway," "headtread," or "foretread "; it is also occasionally associated with a near synonym (and possible cognate) ti < d'iôk, "follow a road," "go along," "lead," "direct"; "pursue the right path"; a term with definite ethical overtones and a graph with an exceedingly interesting phonetic, yu < djôg," "to proceed from." The reappearance of C162 [] "walk" in ti with the support of C157 [] "foot" in tao, "to trample," "tread," should perhaps serve us as a warning not to overemphasize the headworking functions implied in tao in preference to those of the lower extremities.[47]

Victor H. Mair proposes a connection with Proto-Indo-European drogh, supported by numerous cognates in Indo-European languages, as well as semantically similar Semitic Arabic and Hebrew words.

The archaic pronunciation of Tao sounded approximately like drog or dorg. This links it to the Proto-Indo-European root drogh (to run along) and Indo-European dhorg (way, movement). Related words in a few modern Indo-European languages are Russian doroga (way, road), Polish droga (way, road), Czech dráha (way, track), Serbo-Croatian draga (path through a valley), and Norwegian dialect drog (trail of animals; valley). .... The nearest Sanskrit (Old Indian) cognates to Tao (drog) are dhrajas (course, motion) and dhraj (course). The most closely related English words are "track" and "trek", while "trail" and "tract" are derived from other cognate Indo-European roots. Following the Way, then, is like going on a cosmic trek. Even more unexpected than the panoply of Indo-European cognates for Tao (drog) is the Hebrew root d-r-g for the same word and Arabic t-r-q, which yields words meaning "track, path, way, way of doing things" and is important in Islamic philosophical discourse.[48]

Axel Schuessler's etymological dictionary presents two possibilities for the tonal morphology of dào "road; way; method" < Middle Chinese dâuB < Old Chinese *lûʔ and dào or "to go along; bring along; conduct; explain; talk about" < Middle dâuC < Old *lûh.[49] Either dào "the thing which is doing the conducting" is a Tone B (shangsheng 上聲 "rising tone") "endoactive noun" derivation from dào "conduct", or dào is a Later Old Chinese (Warring States period) "general tone C" (qusheng 去聲 "departing tone") derivation from dào "way".[50] For a possible etymological connection, Schuessler notes the ancient Fangyan dictionary defines yu < *lokh and lu < *lu as Eastern Qi State dialectal words meaning dào < *lûʔ "road".

Other languages

Many languages have borrowed and adapted "Tao" as a loanword.

In Chinese, this character is pronounced as Cantonese dou6 and Hokkian to7. In Sino-Xenic languages, is pronounced as Japanese , , or michi; Korean do or to; and Vietnamese đạo.

Since 1982, when the International Organization for Standardization adopted Pinyin as the standard romanization of Chinese, many Western languages have changed from spelling this loanword tao in national systems (e.g., French EFEO Chinese transcription and English Wade–Giles) to dao in Pinyin.

The tao/dao "the way" English word of Chinese origin has three meanings, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

1. a. In Taoism, an absolute entity which is the source of the universe; the way in which this absolute entity functions.

1. b. = Taoism, taoist

2. In Confucianism and in extended uses, the way to be followed, the right conduct; doctrine or method.

The earliest recorded usages were Tao (1736), Tau (1747), Taou (1831), and Dao (1971).

The term "Taoist priest" (Template:Zhi), was used already by the Jesuits Matteo Ricci and Nicolas Trigault in their De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas, rendered as Tausu in the original Latin edition (1615),[note 5] and Tausa in an early English translation published by Samuel Purchas (1625).[note 6]

See also


  1. Chinese: ; pinyin: dào(About this soundChinese )
    Also Dao.
  2. Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1. "It is from the unnamed Tao
    That Heaven and Earth sprang;
    The named is but
    The Mother of the ten thousand creatures."
  3. I Ching, Ta Chuan (Great Treatise). "The kind man discovers it and calls it kind;
    the wise man discovers it and calls it wise;
    the common people use it every day
    and are not aware of it."
  4. Water is soft and flexible, yet possesses an immense power to overcome obstacles and alter landscapes, even carving canyons with its slow and steady persistence. It is viewed as a reflection of, or close in action to, the Tao. The Tao is often expressed as a sea or flood that cannot be dammed or denied. It flows around and over obstacles like water, setting an example for those who wish to live in accord with it.[13]
  5. De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas suscepta ab Societate Jesu, Book One, Chapter 10, p. 125. Quote: "sectarii quidam Tausu vocant". Chinese gloss in Pasquale M. d' Elia, Matteo Ricci. Fonti ricciane: documenti originali concernenti Matteo Ricci e la storia delle prime relazioni tra l'Europa e la Cina (1579-1615), Libreria dello Stato, 1942; can be found by searching for "tausu". Louis J. Gallagher (China in the Sixteenth Century: The Journals of Matteo Ricci; 1953), apparently has a typo (Taufu instead of Tausu) in the text of his translation of this line (p. 102), and Tausi in the index (p. 615)
  6. A discourse of the Kingdome of China, taken out of Ricius and Trigautius, containing the countrey, people, government, religion, rites, sects, characters, studies, arts, acts ; and a Map of China added, drawne out of one there made with Annotations for the understanding thereof (excerpts from De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas, in English translation) in Purchas his Pilgrimes, Volume XII, p. 461 (1625). Quote: "... Lauzu ... left no Bookes of his Opinion, nor seemes to have intended any new Sect, but certaine Sectaries, called Tausa, made him the head of their sect after his death..." Can be found in the full text of "Hakluytus posthumus" on



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Works cited

Further reading

External links