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Founded/Created: It is estimated that the Tao Te Ching (DOW duh jing) was written in China in 550 BCE; however, the origins of Taoism go back hundreds of years before that.
Adherents: 20 million—predominately in Asia but distributed worldwide.
Ranking: Seventh in size, behind Christianity, Islam, Atheism/Agnosticism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.
Prophets: Lao Tzu (LAU tsuh), who is often considered the father of Taoism because he authored its primary text; also Chuang Tzu (JWONG tsuh) and Chang Tao-Ling.
Texts: There are many, but three key texts are the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu by Chuang Tzu, and The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
Terms and Fundamental Precepts:
Shared with Unitarian Universalism:
A Taoist Riddle
What is greater than God, more evil than the devil, the poor have it, the rich need it, and if you eat it, you die?
Why can this riddle be seen as Taoist? Because the "nothing" in this riddle is an active principle, not a passive one. It speaks not to the absence of something but to the presence of Nothing. It is not that the rich do not want for anything; it is that people who have too much could use more emptiness and would benefit from embracing the idea of Nothing. They need to empty their cups.
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Last updated on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.
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