Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: October 22, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412956260 | Print ISBN: 9781412916523 | Online ISBN: 9781412956260| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Charles F. Piazza
Taoism (or Daoism) is one of two major Chinese philosophies of life and stems from the writings of Lao Tzu. Rooted in living a life characterized by balance and harmony, Taoism focuses on the significance of the individual life, spontaneity, and being tranquil. Confucianism, the dominant philosophical system throughout much of Chinese history, focuses on society. It promotes the value of social order, responsibility, and being active. On the surface these two wisdom traditions appear to be contradictory, but in actuality they are complementary. Both have greatly shaped Chinese civilization and its social structure, family traditions, and business culture and practices. During the latter part of the 20th century, Taoist and Buddhist thought became a popular alternative to Western religious traditions that were seen as rigid and constraining. They provided a personal spiritual approach to life and self-development that was liberating and not rule based. Over time, Taoist thought also ...