Taoism (also spelled Daoism) is a religion based on the teachings of the Tao Te Ching, a short tract written in the 6th century BC in China. The emphasis of the Tao Te Ching is on spiritual harmony within the individual, which complements Confucianism's focus on social duty. Today, there are 20 million followers of Taoism worldwide, most of whom live in China, Taiwan, or Southeast Asia. (See Confucianism)

Many followers of Taoism are characterized by their use of the Taoism symbol, ying yang, reading books on Taoism, and living out their beliefs against the backdrop of Chinese culture. Taoism is also increasingly influential in the West, especially in the field of alternative medicine and in martial arts like Tai Chi. This exposure has lead to questions like, do Taoists believe in God or gods? What do they believe about the universe, people, and the afterlife? What are their values and practices? Who are their teachers and followers? And what is their history?

The table of contents below will direct you to various topics on Taoism religion, from beliefs to symbols to deities to much more. (Note: Category headings go to the home page for that subject.)

Taoism beliefs, practices, history, and more

Most Popular Taoism Pages

Taoism Beliefs

Taoism Fast Facts

Taoism Symbols

Taoism Basics

Taoist Deities

Glossary of Taoism

Timeline of Taoism

Read about the gods of Taoism.

Tai Chi in Shanghai
Hua Shan, one of five sacred Taoist mountains in China. Photo: Harry Alverson.

Taoist Symbols

See Also

Read about the symbols of Taoism
such as the Yin Yang.



Chinese Religion

Taoism Library

Taoist Sacred Texts

Text of the Tao Te Ching

Read about the literature important to Taoism.

Taoism Books

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