Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
Playlists: Tao, Taoist, Taoism
Taoism isn’t a spiritual extracurricular activity, it’s an integral practice for living all of life to the fullest. Taoist living rests on four pillars—the public, the domestic, the private, and the spirit lives. Not only do Taoists strive to live these four aspects fully and in a balanced way, they also believe there is an outlook and an art to each of them.
Tao or Dao is the natural order of the universe whose character one’s intuition must discern to realize the potential for individual wisdom, as conceived in the context of East Asian philosophy, East Asian religions, or any other philosophy or religion that aligns to this principle. This intuitive knowing of life cannot be grasped as a concept. Rather, it is known through actual living experience of one’s everyday being. Its name, Tao or Dao came from Chinese, where it signifies the way, path, route, road, or sometimes more loosely doctrine, principle, or holistic belief.
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 because it is non-conceptual yet evident in one’s being of aliveness. The Tao is “eternally nameless” and to be distinguished from the countless named things that are considered to be its manifestations, the reality of life before its descriptions of it.
The Tao lends its name to the religious tradition and philosophical tradition (Wade–Giles, Tao chia; Pinyin, Daojia) that are both referred to in English with the single term Taoism.