TAO or DAO (English pronunciation: /daʊ/ , DOW ; from Chinese : 道;
pinyin : Dào (help ·info )) is a Chinese word signifying 'way',
'path', 'route', 'road', 'choose', 'key' or sometimes more loosely
'doctrine', 'principle' or 'holistic science ' . Within the context
Chinese philosophy and religion, the
Tao is the
intuitive knowing of "life" that cannot be grasped full-heartedly as
just a concept but is known nonetheless through actual living
experience of one's everyday being. The
Tao reverses the typical
order of values: it emphasizes the weak over the strong, the feminine
over the masculine, the water that wears down the rock, the space
between things rather than the things themselves.
Laozi in the
Tao Te Ching 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 due to it being non
conceptual yet evident' in one's being of aliveness. The
"eternally nameless" (
Tao Te Ching-32.
Laozi ) and to be distinguished
from the countless 'named' things which are considered to be its
manifestations, the reality of life before its descriptions of it.
Tao lends its name to the religious tradition (
Wade–Giles , Tao
Pinyin , Daojiao) and philosophical tradition (Wade–Giles,
Tao chia; Pinyin, Daojia) that are both referred to in English with
the single term
* 1 Description and uses of the concept
* 1.1 De
* 2 Religious, philosophical, and cultural interpretations
* 2.1 Taoist interpretations
* 2.1.1 Diversity of views
* 2.2 Confucian interpretations
* 2.3 Buddhist interpretations
* 2.4 Neo-Confucian interpretations
* 2.5 Christian Interpretations
* 3 Linguistic aspects
* 3.1 Characters
* 3.3 Meanings
* 3.4 Etymologies
* 3.5 Loanwords
* 4 See also
* 5 Notes
* 6 Citations
* 7 Bibliography
* 7.1 Further reading
DESCRIPTION AND USES OF THE CONCEPT
The ba gua , a symbol commonly used to represent the
Tao and its
The word "Tao" (道) has a variety of meanings in both ancient and
modern Chinese language. Aside from its purely prosaic use to mean
road, channel, path, principle, or similar, 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.
Some scholars make sharp distinctions between 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
Taoism and most forms of
Mahayana Buddhism ; others
maintain that these are not separate usages or meanings, seeing them
as mutually inclusive and compatible approaches to defining the
principle. 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 the
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. Liu Da asserts that the
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.
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. It is related to the idea of 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. Keller considers it similar to the
negative theology of Western scholars, but the
Tao is rarely an
object of direct worship, being treated more like the
of karma or dharma than as a divine object. The
Tao is more commonly
expressed in the relationship between wu (void or emptiness, in the
sense of wuji ) and yinyang (the natural dynamic balance between
opposites), leading to its central principle of wu wei (non-action, or
action without force).
Tao is usually described in terms of elements of nature, and in
particular as similar to water. Like water it is undifferentiated,
endlessly self-replenishing, soft and quiet but immensely powerful,
and impassively generous. 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.
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
Tao was shared with
Confucianism , Chán 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
harmonise one's will with Nature (cf.
Stoicism ) in order to achieve
'effortless action' (
Wu wei ). This involves meditative and moral
practices. Important in this respect is the Taoist concept of De (德;
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 yin and yang (pinyin :
yīnyáng), 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
DE (德 "power; virtue; integrity") is the term generally used to
refer to proper adherence to the Tao; De is the active living or
cultivation of the way. 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.
Pinyin : wúwéi) or 'NATURALNESS\' are 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.
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/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 Confucianisms. Several
sections of the works attributed to Chuang Tzu are dedicated to
critiques of the failures of Confucianism.
RELIGIOUS, PHILOSOPHICAL, AND CULTURAL INTERPRETATIONS
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.
Tao is what gives
Taoism its English name, 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
within Taoism; the
Tao fundamentally exists and operates outside the
realm of differentiation and linguistic constraints.
Diversity Of Views
Tao causes the people to be fully in accord with the ruler.
Sun Tzu , Art of War
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 within the
same sect. Despite this diversity, there are some clear, common
patterns and trends within
Taoism and its branches.
The diversity of Taoist interpretations of the
Tao can be seen across
four texts representative of major streams of thought within 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.
Tao T\'i Lun 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
Tao is expressed in the Ch\'ing Ching Ching , 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
(also spelled Chuang Tzu) 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.
A Taoist monk practicing
Chinese calligraphy with water on stone.
Water calligraphy, like sand mandalas , evokes the ephemeral nature of
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.
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.
A central tenet within most varieties of religious
Taoism is that the
Tao is ever-present, but must be manifested, cultivated, and/or
perfected in order to be realized. It is the source of the Universe
and the seed of its primordial purity resides in all things. The
manifestation of the
Tao is De, which rectifies and invigorates the
world with the Tao's radiance.
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
Brahman . Joseph
Wu remarked of this conception of the Tao, "Dao is not religiously
available; nor is it even religiously relevant." The writings of Lao
Tzu and Chang Tzu are tinged with esoteric tones and approach humanism
and naturalism as paradoxes. 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
in themselves and their activities.
However, this distinction is complicated by hermeneutic
(interpretive) difficulties in the categorization of Taoist schools,
sects and movements. Some scholars believe that there is no
distinction between Daojia and Daojiao. According to Kirkland, "most
scholars who have seriously studied Daoism, both in Asia and the West,
have finally abandoned the simplistic dichotomy of Dàojiā and
Dàojiào, 'philosophical Daoism' and 'religious Daoism.'"
The Dao, or Way, of
Confucius can be said to be '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 (virtue ) and ren (humanity ).
a humanistic 'Dao'. He only rarely speaks of the t'ien Dao (Way of
Heaven). An influential early Confucian, Hsiin Tzu, explicitly noted
this contrast. Though he acknowledged the existence and celestial
importance of the Way of Heaven, he insisted that the Dao principally
concerns human affairs.
As a formal religious concept in Confucianism, Dao is the Absolute
towards which the faithful move. In Zhongyong (The Doctrine of the
Mean), harmony with the Absolute is equivalent to integrity and
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
'Dao' and 'De', focusing on humane nature and righteousness. He also
framed and elaborated on a "dàotǒng" (tradition of the Way) in order
to reject the traditions of Buddhism.
See also: Chinese
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
were translated into Chinese by Buddhist monks within a short period
of time. Dhyana was translated as ch\'an (and later as zen), giving
Buddhism its name. The use of Chinese concepts, such as Dao, that
were close to Buddhist ideas and terms helped spread the religion and
make it more amenable to the Chinese people. However, the differences
Sanskrit and Chinese terminology lead to some initial
misunderstandings and the eventual development of East Asian Buddhism
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 'Dao' for central concepts and tenets
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 Dao. The Dao is cutting off words and speech." Ch'an
(Zen) Buddhists regard the Dao as synonymous with both the Buddhist
Path (marga ) and the results of it; the
Eightfold Path and Buddhist
enlightenment (satori ). Pai-chang's statement plays upon this usage
in the context of the fluid and varied Chinese usage of 'Dao'. Words
and meaning are used to refer to rituals and practice. The 'emptiness'
refers to the Buddhist concept of sunyata . Finding the Dao and
Buddha-nature is not simply a matter of formulations, but an active
response to the
Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths that cannot be fully expressed or
conveyed in words and concrete associations. The use of 'Dao' in this
context refers to the literal 'way' of Buddhism, the return to the
universal source, dharma , proper meditation, and nirvana , among
other associations. 'Dao' is commonly used in this fashion by Chinese
Buddhists, heavy with associations and nuanced meanings.
Song dynasty , Neo-Confucians regarded Dao as the purest
Shao Yong regarded the Dao as the origin of heaven,
earth, and everything within them. In contrast,
Zhang Zai presented a
vitalistic Dao that was the fundamental component or effect of ch\'i ,
the motive energy behind life and the world. A number of later
scholars adopted this interpretation, such as
Tai Chen during the Qing
Zhu Xi ,
Cheng Ho , and Cheng Yi perceived the Dao in the context of
li (Principle) and t'ien li (the Principle of Heaven). Cheng Hao
regarded the fundamental matter of li, and thus Dao, to be humaneness.
Developing compassion, altruism, and other humane virtues is the
following of the Way. Cheng Yi followed this interpretation,
elaborating on this perspective of Dao through teachings about
yin-yang interactions , the cultivation and preservation of life; and
the axiom of a morally just universe.
In total, the Dao is equated with the Absolute.
Wang Fuzhi expressed
the Dao as the tai chi , The 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.
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." 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
God created the
Tao and fully displayed it through
the person of
Jesus Christ .
Also the Greek word used in the
New Testament for the Way is
ὁδός (hodos). Here the Way refers to the path of righteousness
and salvation as revealed through Christ .
In Chinese translations of the
New Testament , λόγος (logos ) is
translated with the Chinese word dao (道) (e.g. John 1:1), indicating
that the translators considered the concept of
Tao to be somewhat
equivalent to logos in Greek philosophy .
The term dao 道 is analyzable in terms of Chinese characters,
alternate dào "way" or dǎo "guide" pronunciations and meanings, a
possible Proto-Indo-European etymology , and loanwords such as English
Dao or dao.
Bronze script for dao 道 Large seal script
for dao 道
Small seal script for dao 道
Dao is written with the Chinese character 道 in both Traditional
Simplified Chinese . It typifies the most common Chinese
character classification of "radical-phonetic" or "phono-semantic"
graphs, which compound a "radical " or "signific" (roughly providing
semantic information) with a "phonetic " (suggesting ancient
Dao 道 graphically combines the chuo 辶 (or 辵) "go" radical and
shou 首 "head" phonetic. Furthermore, dao 道 is the phonetic element
in dao 導 "guide; lead" (with the cun 寸 "thumb; hand" radical) and
dao 檤 "a tree name" (with the mu 木 "tree; wood" radical).
The traditional interpretation of the 道 character, dating back to
the (121 CE)
Shuowen Jiezi dictionary, was a rare huiyi 會意
"compound ideogram" or "ideogrammic compound ". The combination of
chuo 辶 "go" and shou 首 "head" (numbers 162 and 185 in the Kangxi
radicals ) signified a "head going" or "to lead the way".
Dao is graphically distinguished between its earliest nominal meaning
of dao 道 "way; road; path;" and the later verbal sense of "say". It
should also be contrasted with dao 導 "lead the way; guide; conduct;
direct; ". The Simplified character 导 for dao 導 has si 巳 "6th of
Earthly Branches " in place of dao 道.
The earliest written forms of dao are bronzeware script and seal
script characters from
Zhou Dynasty (1045–256 BCE) bronzes and
writings. These ancient dao characters more clearly depict the shou
首 "head" element as hair above a face. Some variants interchange the
chuo 辵 "go; advance" radical with the xing 行 "go; road" radical,
with the original bronze "crossroads" depiction written in the seal
character with two 彳 and 亍 "footprints".
Bronze scripts for dao 道 occasionally include an element of shou
手 "hand" or cun 寸 "thumb; hand", which occurs in dao 導 "lead".
Peter A. Boodberg explained,
This "tao with the hand element" is usually identified with the
modern character導 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
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."
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."
Modern Standard Chinese
Modern Standard Chinese , dao 道's pronunciations are tonally
differentiated between 4th falling tone dào "way; path" and 3rd
dipping tone dǎo (usually written 導) "guide; lead".
Besides these common 4th and 3rd tonal specifications dào 道 "way"
and dǎo 道 (or 導) "guide", 道 has a rare 1st level tone dāo
pronunciation in the regional idiomatic expression shénshendāodāo
神神道道 "odd; bizarre". This reduplication of shen 神 "spirit;
god" and dao occurs in
Northeast China speech.
Middle Chinese (ca. 6th–10th centuries CE) tone name categories,
道 and 道/導 were qusheng 去聲 "departing tone" and shangsheng
上聲 "rising tone". Historical linguists have reconstructed Middle
道 "way" and 導 "guide" as d'âu- and d'âu: (
Bernhard Karlgren ),
dau and dau (Zhou Fagao), daw' and dawh (
Edwin G. Pulleyblank ,
"Early Middle"), dawX and daws (William H. Baxter), and dâuB and
dâuC (Axel Schuessler).
Old Chinese (ca. 7th–3rd centuries BCE) pronunciations,
reconstructions for 道 "way" and 道/導 "guide" are *d'ôg
(Karlgren), *dəw (Zhou), *dəgwx and *dəgwh (
Li Fanggui ), *luʔ
(Baxter), and *lûʔ and *lûh (Schuessler).
The word dao 道 has many meanings. For example, the Chinese Hanyu Da
Zidian dictionary defines 39 meanings for dào 道 "way; path" and 6
for dǎo 道 (導) "guide; lead".
John DeFrancis 's exemplary Chinese-English dictionary gives twelve
meanings for dào 道 "way; path; say", three for dǎo 道 (or 導)
"guide; lead", and one for dāo 道 in an "odd, bizarre" idiomatic
expression . Note that brackets clarify abbreviations and ellipsis
marks omitted usage examples.
2DàO 道 N. road; path ◆M. ① (for rivers/topics/etc.) ② (for
a course (of food); a streak (of light); etc.) ◆V. ① say; speak;
talk (introducing direct quote, novel style) … ② think; suppose
◆B.F. ① channel ② way; reason; principle ③ doctrine ④
Daoism ⑤ line ⑥〈hist.〉 ⑦ district; circuit canal; passage;
tube ⑧ say (polite words) … See also 4dǎo, 4dāo
4DǎO 导/道 B.F. ① guide; lead … ② transmit; conduct … ③
instruct; direct …
4DāO 道 in shénshendāodāo … 神神道道 R.F. 〈topo.〉
odd; fantastic; bizarre
The etymological linguistic origins of dao "way; path" depend upon
Old Chinese pronunciation, which scholars have tentatively
reconstructed as *d'ôg, *dəgwx, *dəw, *luʔ, and *lûʔ.
Boodberg noted that the shou 首 "head" phonetic in the dao 道
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 蹈 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) 迪
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, 由 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.
Victor H. Mair proposes a Proto-Indo-European etymology for dao 道,
supported by numerous cognates in
Indo-European languages , and
semantically similar 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
Indo-European languages are Russian doroga (way, road), Polish
droga (way, road), Czech dráha (way, track),
(path through a valley), and Norwegian dialect drog (trail of animals;
valley). …. The nearest
Sanskrit (Old Indian) cognates to
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.
Axel Schuessler's etymological dictionary presents two possibilities
for the tonal morphology of dào 道 "road; way; method" < Middle
Chinese dâuB <
Old Chinese *lûʔ and dào 道 or 導 "to go along;
bring along; conduct; explain; talk about" < Middle dâuC < Old *lûh.
Either dào 道 "the thing which is doing the conducting" is a Tone B
(shangsheng 上聲 "rising tone") "endoactive noun" derivation from
dào 導 "conduct", or dào 導 is a Later
Old Chinese (Warring States
period ) "general tone C" (qusheng 去聲 "departing tone") derivation
from dào 道 "way". For a possible etymological connection,
Schuessler notes the ancient
Fangyan dictionary defines yu < *lokh 裕
and lu < *lu 猷 as Eastern Qi State dialectal words meaning dào <
*lûʔ 道 "road".
Many languages have borrowed and adapted Chinese dao 道 "the way" as
a loanword .
In Chinese , this character 道 is pronounced as
Cantonese dou6 and
Taiwanese to7. In
Sino-Xenic languages, 道 is pronounced as Japanese
dō, tō, or michi; Korean do or to; and Vietnamese đạo, dạo, or
Since 1982, when the International Organization for Standardization
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
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
Confucianism and in extended uses, the way to be followed, the
right conduct; doctrine or method.
The earliest recorded usages were
Tau (1747), Taou
(1831), and Dao (1971).
Daoshi (Chinese : 道士, "Daoist priest"), 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), and Tausa in an early English translation
Samuel Purchas (1625).
Look up 道 in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Look up TAO in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Taoism romanization issue
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."
* ^ 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."
* ^ Dr Zai, J.
Taoism and Science: Cosmology, Evolution, Morality,
Health and more. Ultravisum, 2015.
* ^ Diana Lobel (16 August 2011). The Quest for
God and the Good:
World Philosophy as a Living Experience. Columbia University Press. p.
64. ISBN 978-0-231-52701-9 .
* ^ DeFrancis (1996) p. 113
* ^ LaFargue (1992), pp. 245–7.
* ^ Chan (1963) p. 136
* ^ Hansen (2000), p. 206.
* ^ Liu (1981), pp. 1-3.
* ^ Liu (1981), pp. 2–3.
* ^ Cane (2002), p. 13.
* ^ Keller (2003), p. 289.
* ^ LaFargue (1994) p. 283.
* ^ 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.Ch'eng and Cheng (1991), pp. 175–7.
* ^ Maspero (1981), p. 32.
* ^ Bodde & Fung (1997), pp. 99–101.
Arthur Waley , The way and its power: a study of the
ching and its place in Chinese thought (Grove Press, 1958). ISBN
* ^ Kohn (1993), p. 11.
* ^ A B Kohn (1993), pp. 11–12.
* ^ Kohn (1993), p. 12.
* ^ Fowler (2005), pp. 5–7.
* ^ Moeller (2006) pp. 133–145.
* ^ Fowler (2005), pp. 5–6.
* ^ Mair (2001) p. 174
* ^ Robinet (1997), p. 3.
* ^ Kirkland (2004) p. 2.
* ^ A B C D E Taylor pg 18
* ^ Boodberg (1957), p. 599
* ^ 1.5 and 2.8, tr. Lau (1979), p. 59 and p. 63.
* ^ Karlgren (1957).
* ^ Zhou (1972).
* ^ Pulleyblank (1991).
* ^ Baxter (1992).
* ^ Schuessler (2007).
* ^ Li (1971).
Hanyu Da Zidian 漢語大字典 (1989), pp. 3864–3866.
* ^ DeFrancis (2007), pp. 172, 829.
* ^ Boodberg (1957), p. 602.
* ^ Mair (1990), p. 132.
* ^ Schuessler (2007), p. 207
* ^ Schuessler (2007), p. 48 and 41.
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" at
https://books.google.com/books?id=zRw8AAAAMAAJ. 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)
* ^ 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 archive.org. The
book also appears on Google Books, but only in snippet view.
* Baxter, William H. A Handbook of
Old Chinese Phonology (Mouton de
* Bodde, Derk & Fung, Yu-Lan. A short history of Chinese philosophy
(Simon and Schuster, 1997). ISBN 0-684-83634-3 .
* Boodberg, Peter A. "Philological Notes on Chapter One of the Lao
Tzu" (Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 1957, 20:598–618).
* Cane, Eulalio Paul. Harmony: Radical
Taoism Gently Applied
(Trafford Publishing, 2002). ISBN 1-4122-4778-0 .
* Chang, Dr. Stephen T. The Great Tao.
Tao Publishing, imprint of
Tao Longevity LLC. 1985. ISBN 0-942196-01-5 .
* Ch'eng, Chung-Ying & Cheng, Zhongying. New dimensions of Confucian
and Neo-Confucian philosophy (SUNY Press, 1991). ISBN 0-7914-0283-5 .
* Chan Wing-tsit. A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (Princeton,
1963). ISBN 0-691-01964-9 .
* DeFrancis, John (ed.). ABC Chinese-English Dictionary:
Alphabetically Based Computerized (ABC Chinese Dictionary) (University
of Hawaii Press, 1996). ISBN 0-8248-1744-3 .
* DeFrancis, John, (ed.). ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive
Dictionary. (University of Hawaii Press, 2003).
* Dumoulin, Henrik (Heisig, James tr.).
Zen Buddhism: a History:
India and China (World Wisdom, 2005). ISBN 0-941532-89-5 .
* Fowler, Jeaneane. An introduction to the philosophy and religion
of Taoism: pathways to immortality (Sussex Academic Press, 2005). ISBN
* Hansen, Chad D. A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought: A
Philosophical Interpretation (Oxford University Press, 2000). ISBN
* Hershock, Peter. Liberating intimacy: enlightenment and social
Buddhism (SUNY Press, 1996). ISBN 0-7914-2981-4 .
* Karlgren, Bernhard. Grammata Serica Recensa (Museum of Far Eastern
* Keller, Catherine. The Face of the Deep: A
Theology of Becoming
(Routledge, 2003). ISBN 0-415-25648-8 .
* Kirkland, Russell. Taoism: The Enduring Tradition (Routledge,
2004). ISBN 978-0-415-26321-4
* Kohn, Livia. The Taoist experience (SUNY Press, 1993). ISBN
* Komjathy, Louis. Handbooks for Daoist Practice. 10 vols. Hong
Kong: Yuen Yuen Institute, 2008.
* LaFargue, Michael.
Tao and Method: A Reasoned Approach to the Tao
Te Ching (SUNY Press, 1994) ISBN 0-7914-1601-1 .
* LaFargue, Michael. The tao of the
Tao te ching: a translation and
commentary (SUNY Press, 1992). ISBN 0-7914-0986-4 .
* Lau, D. C., tr. The
Analects (Lun yu), (Penguin, 1979).
Li Fanggui 李方桂. Shanggu yin yanjiu 上古音研究 (Tsinghua
Journal of Chinese Studies 1971, 9:1–61). (in Chinese)
* Liu, Da. The
Chinese culture (Taylor an entirely new
translation based on the recently discovered Ma-wang-tui manuscripts
(Bantam Books, 1990).
* Martinson, Paul Varo. A theology of world religions: Interpreting
God, self, and world in Semitic, Indian, and Chinese thought (Augsburg
Publishing House, 1987). ISBN 0-8066-2253-9 .
* Maspero, Henri. Translated by Frank A. Kierman, Jr.
Religion (University of Massachusetts Press, 1981). ISBN
* Moeller, Hans-Georg. The Philosophy of the Daodejing. (Columbia
University Press, 2006). ISBN 0-231-13679-X .
* Pulleyblank, E.G. "Lexicon of Reconstructed Pronunciation in Early
Middle Chinese, Late Middle Chinese, and Early Mandarin" (UBC Press,
* Schuessler, Axel. ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese
(University of Hawaii Press, 2007).
* Sharot, Stephen. A Comparative Sociology of World Religions:
virtuosos, priests, and popular religion (New York: NYU Press, 2001).
ISBN 0-8147-9805-5 .
* Taylor, Rodney Leon & Choy, Howard Yuen Fung. The Illustrated
Encyclopedia of Confucianism: N-Z, Volume 2 of The Illustrated
Confucianism (Rosen Publishing Group, 2005). ISBN
* Watts, Alan Wilson. Tao: The Watercourse Way with Al Chung-liang
Huang (Pantheon, 1977). ISBN 0-394-73311-8 .
* Zhou Fagao 周法高 . "Shanggu Hanyu he Han-Zangyu
上古漢語和漢藏語" (Journal of the Institute of Chinese Studies
of the Chinese University of Hong Kong 1972 5:159–244). (in Chinese)
* Translation of the
Tao te Ching by Derek Lin
* http://ctext.org/dao-de-jing Translation of the Dao de Jing by
* https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/216 Legge translation of the Tao
Teh King at Project Gutenberg
* Gia-Fu Feng ">
SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT
Chinese Marxist Philosophy
School of Diplomacy
School of Names
School of Naturalists
Hundred Schools of Thought
* Xu Xing
* Zhang Yi
* Dào: Way
* Dé : Virtue
* Fǎ : Model
* Jiān ài : Universal Love
* Jing : Reverence
* Jìngzuo : Meditation
* Lĭ :
* Li : Law
* Mìng : Mandate or fate
* Qì : Energy
* Qing : Essence
* Rén : Humaneness
* Shén : Spirit
* Si : Reflection
* Tǐ : Substance
* Tiān : Divine force
* Wú wéi : Nonaction
Xiào : Filial piety
* Xin : Disposition or intuition
* Xing : Human nature
* Yì : Righteousness
* Yīnyáng : Interdependent opposites
* Yòng : Function
* Zhèngmíng : Rectification of names
* Zhì : Intention or will; Wisdom or cleverness
* Zìrán : Self-so or natural
State consequentialism )
* Political philosophy
MAJOR RELIGIOUS GROUPS AND RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS
Eastern Catholic Churches
Eastern Catholic Churches
Church of the East
Church of the East
* Independent Catholicism
* Old Catholicism
* Continental Reformed
* Jehovah\'s Witnesses
* Nation of
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* Fon and Ewe
* Aboriginal Australian
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Apostasy / Disaffiliation
* Cognitive science
* Evolutionary origin
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Separation of church and state
* Abrahamic prophets
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