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Tao

Tao

Term used in ancient Chinese religious philosophy, signifying "the Way" or pathway of life. The Tao is understood as a unity underlying the opposites and diversity of the phenomenal world. Ching Shen Li (cosmic energy) is manifest in the duality of yin and yang (negative and positive), female and male principles in nature. Yin and yang are also energies in the individual human body and the balancing of these energies is one of the tasks of life. The correct harmony between yin and yang may be achieved through diet, meditation, and a life of truth, simplicity, and tranquillity, identifying with the Tao of nature.

Taoism teaches union with the law of the universe through wisdom and detached action. Special techniques of Taoist yoga normalize and enhance the flow of vital energy in the human body. This yoga is variously named K'ai Men (open door), Ho Ping (unity), and Ho Hsieh (harmony). K'ai Men implies opening the path to the channels of mind, spirit, and body so that they reflect the balance of yin and yang and a harmony with the energy of the cosmos.

Taoist yoga is very similar to the kundalini yoga systems of India, and it is not clear whether such a parallel system originated by direct influence of traveling mystics or by spontaneous rediscovery of basic truths. Both Indian and Chinese yogas are concerned with the control of vital energy, seen as the force behind sexual activity, but which may be diverted into different channels in the body for blissful expansion of consciousness. For centuries the techniques of Chinese yoga were little known in the West; teaching manuals were closely guarded and not translated into Western languages. Teachings were usually transmitted orally from teacher to pupil.

During the twentieth century, and especially since the Chinese Revolution, teachers of Taoism and Chinese yoga have established schools in the United States and published translations of basic Chinese yoga texts. Modern teachers of Chinese yoga include Charles Luk (Lu K'uan Yü) of Hong Kong, who has translated various Chinese Buddhist and yoga texts, and Mantak Chia from Thailand, who studied with Taoist and Buddhist masters and has created a synthesis of their spiritual techniques, in conjunction with classical techniques of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. Together with his wife Maneewan Chia, Mantak Chia has been instrumental in establishing Healing Tao Centers in the United States and Europe that offer a basic self-development course of what is termed Taoist Esoteric Yoga.

In distinction to the philosophical esoteric concept of the Tao, but growing out of it, Taoism as a religious system complete with temples and popular worship, became one of the three major religious systems of China, together with Confucianism and Buddhism.

Sources:

Chang, Chung-Yuan. Tao; A New Way of Thinking. New York: Harper & Row, 1975.

Chia, Mantak. Awaken Healing Energy through the Tao. New York: Aurora Press, 1983.

Chia, Mantak, and Michael Winn. Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy. New York: Aurora Press, 1984.

Ch'u Ta-Kao, trans. Tao Te Ching. London: Allen & Unwin; New York: Samuel Weiser, 1937.

Lu K'uan Yü. Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality. London: Rider & Co., 1970.

Soo, Chee. The Chinese Art of K'ai Men. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1977.

Suzuki, D. T., and Paul Carus, trans. The Canon of Reason and Virtue. La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 1913.

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Tao

Tao (Chin., ‘way’). Central concept of Taoism, supplying the name of this philosophical and religious system. In Confucian usage, tao is (as the pictogram suggests) ‘teaching’, and ‘the way humans should follow’. In Lao-tzu (Tao-te ching), Tao becomes the source from which all appearance derives, the unproduced Producer of all that is, and the guarantor of its stability and regularity. In its manifestation, it appears as Te, and human virtue is to live with discernment in accordance with Te expressing Tao, especially through wu-wei.

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Tao

Tao in Chinese philosophy, the absolute principle underlying the universe, combining within itself the principles of yin and yang and signifying the way, or code of behaviour, that is in harmony with the natural order. The interpretation of Tao in the Tao-te-Ching developed into the philosophical religion of Taoism.
Tao-te-Ching the central Taoist text, ascribed to Lao-tzu, the traditional founder of Taoism. Apparently written as a guide for rulers, it defined the Tao, or way, and established the philosophical basis of Taoism.

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Tao

Taoallow, avow, Bilbao, Bissau, bough, bow, bow-wow, brow, cacao, chow, ciao, cow, dhow, Dow, endow, Foochow, Frau, Hangzhou, Hough, how, Howe, kowtow, Lao, Liao, Macao, Macau, miaow, Mindanao, mow, now, ow, Palau, plough (US plow), pow, prow, row, scow, Slough, sough, sow, Tao, thou, vow, wow, Yangshao

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TAO

TAO Technical Assistance Operations (of the UN)

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