Daoism has two strains: Daoism the philosophy, and Daoism the religion. The two are very
Daoism the philosophy centers around the concept of living in the moment. Enjoying what one
has now, and not worrying about the future or living in the past. It also involves looking to nature to
show how life really works. A Daoist believes that nature is the guide to find the "Way". A
philosophical Daoist looks to nature to find his way and live in the moment.
The important thing to remember about the philosophical Daoist is that after he or she has
experienced some Daoistic thought, or is ready to head back into the world, he or she can take off
and do so. Such an example is of the emperor. He might go to the Summer Palace to take a respite,
and then head back to the Forbidden City in the same day to become Confucian again. It's kind of a
peel on/peel off deal.
Daoism the religion is a bit more complicated, but not much. They believe in the same things
that the philosophists do, but they take it one step further. A lot of it has to do with the concept of
balance. Religionist Daoists believe that Heaven and Earth have a balance with each other, and that
men and women have a balance, and that cats and dogs have a balance with each other, and so on.
Find the balance and you have found the "Way".
This "Way" may be a bit ambiguous, and this explanation may not help, but we'll give it a shot.
The "Way" is something individual to each human being. Religionists believe it is found through
balance and nature. No one can tell you if you have found it or not, and no one knows if anyone else
ever has because if you are talking about it then you don't really know. So it's a catch 22, in a way.
It is defintely your OWN path.
The balance issue is the other important aspect to address. You have probably seen, or heard
of, the symbol yin and yang. You probably wondered where it came from, well, you have found your
answer. Daoism is based on a harmony/balance system. The Yin/Yang symbol shows that balance.
The man and the woman together and intertwined harmoniously, there is the balance of life. I'm
talking about the psychologial and metaphysical compents of man and woman. Both masculine and
feminine attitudes are needed to succeed in finding the "Way".
The two strains of Daoism have a lot to offer different individuals. Lower class people
typically bought into the religious aspect, while the upperclass bought into the philosophy. The
concepts presented here are just a thumbnail of what Daoism is really about, but who can really say
what it is all about. Find your own path.