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Library - Theology - Taoism (Daoism)

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Taoism (or Daoism; the Chinese word "Dao" meaning "the path" or "the way") is an ancient polytheistic religion with origins in China tracing back as early as c. 4,000 BCE.  Many of its ideals were developed during China's Warring States period and were influenced significantly by the School of Naturalists who promoted concepts like Yin and Yang, and the Wŭ Xíng 五行 (the Five Phases).

Deities:   Supernatural agents:   Beliefs:   Traditions:
  • The Three Pure Ones 三清
  • Yu Huang Da Di 玉皇大帝 (Jade Emperor)
  • Lei Gong 雷公 (god of thunder, disrupter of primordial chaos at the beginning of time, protector of Dharma)
  • Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa 觀世音菩薩 (Avalokitesvara; deities of world sounds)
  • Jiang Tai Gong 姜太公 (god who grants titles to other gods)
  • Tian Hou Sheng Mu 天后聖母 (Queen of Heaven)
  • Xuan Tian Shant Ti 玄天上帝 (Supreme Lord of Dark Heaven)
  • Wen Chang Di Jun 文昌帝君 (god of literature and caligraphy, often invoked by scholars)
  • Men Shen 門神 (guardian deities of doors and entrances; used to be Military Generals during the Tang dynasty to protect Emperor Tai Zong from ghosts, demons, and other supernatural agents)
    • Qin Shu Bao (always depicted holding a thin club [weapon])
    • Wei Chi Gong (always depicted holding a mace [weapon])
  • Jiu Tian Xuan Nu 九天玄女 (mysterious lady of the Ninth Heaven and the Yellow Emperor's teacher)
  • Pai Yun Tong Chun (god in charge of the Taoist books that belong to Jiu Tian Xuan Nu)
  • Liu Ren Xian Shi 六壬仙師 (a deity with learning disabilities who relieves suffering and hardship)
  • Dou Mu Yuan Jun 斗母元君 (goddess of the Northern Star)
  • Er Lang Shen 二郎神 (deity who fights evil dragons, and prevents floods by managing irrigation)
  • Ba Xian 八仙 (the Eight Immortals)
    • Zhong Li Quan 鐘离權 (the first master and chief of the Ba Xian)
    • Zhang Guo Lao 張果老 (master of magic and invisibility)
    • Lu Dong Bin 呂洞賓 (a scholar, and the patron saint of barbers)
    • Cao Guo Jiu 曹國舅 (brother of Song Dynasty Empress Cao Hou 曹后)
    • Li Tie Guai 李铁拐 (studied with the Lao Tzu and Goddess Hsi Wang Mu)
    • Han Xiang Zi 韓湘子 (gained immortality after falling into a supernatural peach tree; responsible for making flowers grow and blossom; plays a flute to entice birds and beasts of prey)
    • Lan Cai He 藍采和 (dresses opposite to weather conditions, e.g., long pants and other heavy clothing during summer and shorts and other thin clothing during winter, and also wears only one shoe)
    • He Xian Gu 何仙姑 (predicts peoples' fortunes and gathers medicinal herbs)
  • Di Zang Wang Pu Sa 地藏王普薩 (Ksitigarbha; responsible for the power of prayer; responds to preayers that aren't unreasonable or selfish)
  • Fu De Zheng Shen 福德正神 (the Great Spirits of the Earth)
  • Lord Guan Ti 關帝聖君 (protector of Dharma)
  • Universal door of Guan Shi Yin (contemplates the sounds of the world)
  • Zhang Tian Shi 張天師 (the manifestation of Master Zhang Dao Ling who founded the "Five Pecks of Rice" sect of Taoism during China's Han Dynasty)
  • Ba Zi (the Four Pillars of Destiny)
  • Dharma
  • Feng Shui
  • Karma
  • The Five Ghosts
  • The Third Eye (can be used to see ghosts once opened)
  • Tao Te Ching
  • Wu Xing 五行 (the Five Phases)
    • Mù 木 (Wood)
    • Huǒ 火 (Fire)
    • Tǔ 土 (Earth)
    • Jīn 金 (Metal)
    • Shuǐ 水 (Water)
  • Food offerings (to deities)
  • Hungry Ghosts festival
  • Qing Ming festival
  • Worship Tai Sui 太歲
  • Worship the White Tiger (to avoid bloodshed and other calamities)

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