Robert estimated that Taoism formed itself into a religious

Robert McArthur                                          McArthur1Mr.CameiraHRT3M1-0212 January 2018      World Religion Independent Study Unit      Taoism                                OriginsTaoism has neither an founder or founding date but the most reliable sources have estimated that Taoism formed itself into a religious system within the lands of china sometime around the 4th or 3rd century BCE. Taoism grew out of many religious and philosophical traditions in ancient china this included shamanism and nature religion. Although Taoism itselfhas no founder Zhang Daoling became the very first celestial master and founder of the first organized Taoist school of thought. Very little is known as to how Taoism started but one thing is for certain it is a branch off of  many other religions and beliefs.Core Beliefs, Central Teachings     The Taoist is based mainly on the idea that and belief that there is a central or organized Principal of the universe or a natural order also known as a way to heaven and the only way toknow this “way to heaven” is by living in harmony with nature and the life around you and connect your own being with the cosmos and the universe itself to experience complete harmony.Holy Books, Sacred Texts, and Stories    The Tao Te Ching or Dao De Jing, whose authorship has been attributed to Laozi, is a Chinese classic text. According to their very own tradition this was written around the 6th century BC by a sage Laozi also known as Lao Tzu (old master) A record keeper at the Zhou Dynasty     McArthur 2Court by whose name the text is known in China. This very very ancient book is also key and Quite central in Chinese religion but not only for religious Taoism but Chinese Buddhism.This was all first introduced in china and was largely interpreted using Taoist words and Concepts.God/Gods/Greater Beings or Powers    For the Taoist Gods and deities have a very large range can may be things such as:Nature spirts, ancient legendary heroes, humanized planets and stars, Hsien which are regularHumans which became immortal and achieved full divinity through Taoist practices and teachings , ancestor spirts  and animals such as dragons, tigers, phoenixes, snakes and lions.Even certain human activities such as drunkenness and robbery have been represented by deitiesas well.Main Festivals     First off is the Lantern Festival which is a celebration about and takes places on thevery first full moon of the year and is the birthday of Tianguan one of the Taoist gods responsible for good fortune. The Chinese New Year is known to be the main and most important religious holiday in china. It involves burning paper statues of gods, allowing the spirtsof these gods to fly on up into the heavens and report on the family’s behaviour up in the heavens the statues are later replaced with new ones. Last that I will be talking about here is the hungry ghost festival this has said that hungry ghosts which are people who have died but had no proper funeral are let out of the underworld on this vey day. People then try to make claim on the ghosts by making offerings, saying prayers and entertaining them with musical events.Religious Symbols                 McArthur 3 Sometimes know as Taijitu the Yin Yang symbol is just about the most important Taoism symbols. The word Taijitu means diagram of ultimate power. The Yin Yang symbol is designed like two ‘S’ shaped images. The black shape is the Yin and the white shape or sometimes clear shape is Yang. At many Taoist temples and buildings have the Yin Yang Symbol displayed. It is on flags and logos that symbolise Taoism Yin and Yang are complementary to one another not contradictive.  Religious Places     For a Taoist, almost any place could be used as a place of worship is the believe heavily in being in harmony with that of what is around you but the main place of worship for a Taoist would be a temple this is where any of their forms of worship may happen whether it be simply becoming more in harmony with what’s around you or whether it be sacrifices and celebrations. Any other places that may have value would be those of historical value in terms of the religious beliefs but mainly anywhere could be a religious place of worship. Practices and Rituals/Rites of Passage and Milestones Some rituals in Taoism are mediumship, trance, and the exorcism of demons. These most often happen at festivals.  The masters barefoot walk on beds of hot coals, climb ladders of swords, and or stab themselves with sharp objects for rituals. This all happens in ritual places.                  McArthur 4                             During rituals they will call on the powers of local spirit generals and spirit armies and do dramatic performances. They invoke the spirts power for aid and protection on behalf of the community. To communicate with the dead, a miniature sedan chair carried by two people may become the seat of a deity who will, through the movement of the chair, dictate a response to settle a conflict between dead and living family members. These were just a few examples as there are tons more a way too many to list. Laws, Morality and Ethics, Codes     Unconditional happiness is the common goal Taoist believe this is achieved with unconditional kindness and compassion towards yourself and those around you. The various martial arts and qigong styles are also important to achieve this happiness. These martial arts and qigong were implemented to create energetic connection with all life-force energy and have flows in an open balanced way. Work Cited                 McArthur 5