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Beginnings and History The history of Daoism can befittingly be separated into four periods: Proto-Daoism, Classical Daoism, Modern Daoism and Contemporary Daoism. The first period, Proto-Daoism, spans the time from antiquity all the way to the 2nd century C.E. The intention behind this period being called "proto-Daoism" is that we have no information of any official Daoist religious organizations at this time. The classic works that were inscribed in the course of this period, the Daode jing and the Zhuangzi in particular, they were highly significant upon the flourishing of the classical Daoist tradition. Many textbooks on world religions still take this period as representing the essence of Daoism. This is simply an dull-witted and…show more content…
In the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) Daoist ideas and practices became more entrenched in popular religious culture. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we have better historical evidence of the way popular religion functioned since many popular Daoist morality texts were published and the practice of Daoist-inspired arts such as Taiji quan (Tai Chi) and Qigong (Ch 'i-kung) became increasingly widespread. The fourth period, since 1949, has been a near-total catastrophe for Daoism, particularly during the period of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-76) when many Daoist temples were destroyed and the overt functioning of the religion to all intents and purposes ceased to exist in mainland China. Since 1980 Daoism has begun to be practiced openly again in China and a new generation of Daoists are struggling to rebuild their temples and recover their tradition. On the other hand, through the emigration of many Chinese people across the world, Daoist temples have been established in Europe, the Americas and elsewhere and many popular Daoist practices such as Qigong and Taiji quan (Tai-chi) have taken root in the West. Until recently it was not certain that Daoism had survived this cataclysmic upheaval, but the study and practice of Daoism is beginning to flourish once again in China and throughout the world. Beliefs The primary belief is in learning and practicing “The Way” (Dao) which is the ultimate truth to the universe. The Dao
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