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Article: Taoism, an ancient philosophy and religion originating from China.

Taoism, an ancient philosophy and religion originating from China.

Taoism, an ancient philosophy and religion originating from China.

Discover Taoism, a fascinating spiritual journey rooted in China's ancient traditions. Unlike Confucianism, which focuses on scholars and social structure, Taoism offers a path of personal and spiritual exploration, seeking perfect harmony with nature and the universe. Embracing the principle of the Dao, or "the Way," this striking philosophy and religion is distinguished by its deeply personal approach to spirituality. At the heart of traditional China, Taoism evolved in the 3rd century to become a recognized institution, with its own monasteries and rituals, touching the souls of ordinary people and offering a unique perspective on existence.

To explore the truly Chinese essence of spirituality, Taoism stands out. Unlike Confucianism and Buddhism, Taoism, rooted in ancestral Chinese traditions, flourished as a complete religion in the 3rd century. With its organization around a clergy, monasteries, and precisely established rituals, accompanied by a rich corpus of sacred texts and a pantheon of deities, it weaves its web deeply into the social and political fabric of China, embracing a wide audience.

Taoism, beyond its religious dimension, embodies a profound philosophy, enriched by the teachings of Laozi and Zhuangzi. This philosophy emphasizes the importance of communion with nature, encouraging a return to mountains and forests, places of serenity without divinity. Moreover, it recognizes a distinction between religious practices, such as alchemy and the use of talismans to navigate a mystical nature, and the philosophical approach that aspires to natural harmony. Over time, Taoism has formalized its sacred writings and meditative practices, illustrating a unique fusion of spirituality and natural philosophy.

Under the Tang dynasty, Taoism was elevated to the status of a state cult, partly due to the coincidence of the names between the imperial family Li and Laozi, the sage founder of Taoism. Laozi was deified and canonized, which strengthened the integration of Taoism at the heart of the empire's authority and culture. This period marked the zenith of Taoism, with the construction of many imperial temples and the compulsory dissemination of its sacred texts throughout the Empire, amplifying its influence well beyond the traditional borders of China.

In a historical period marked by diverging philosophical and religious currents, Taoism and Confucianism, two great Chinese traditions, joined forces against the expansion of Buddhism under the impetus of Empress Wu Zetian. This rare alliance between Taoists and Confucians aimed to preserve China's native cultural and spiritual influence in the face of Buddhism's significant rise in power. This confrontation culminated in a series of events that profoundly tested the Buddhist presence in China, illustrating the complex dynamics between the great philosophies of the time.

Under the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang dynasty, a period considered a golden age for Taoism, the religion enjoyed unprecedented state support. The emperor, proclaiming himself a descendant of Laozi, implemented policies reinforcing the Taoist presence across the empire, including the distribution of the Daodejing and the establishment of Taoist academies. These measures aimed to integrate Taoism into daily life and governance, profoundly marking Chinese culture and spirituality.

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