The Principles and Importance of Taoism

Before starting it is important 0 note that Taoism has three very distinct and different sub groups, There is the philosophical Taoism, the vitalizing Taoism and the religious Taoism. Houston Smith focused primarily on philosophical Taoism throughout the chapter and so, although I will quickly touch on the other two groups, my primary focus will also be on the philosophical Taoism. Vitalizing Taoism was the most interesting to me The other two groups focus on conserving and using re, power, more efficiently, whereas vitalizing Taoism goes “beyond conservation to increasing the quota of the te” (p201), The way in which this group attempts to increase their [e is through working with matter, movement and their minds, They attempt to eat a certain way, exercise a certain way and most importantly, train their minds a certain way.

Furthermore, they feel as though their minds can only be “climaxed by deep meditation”.

They go through all of this in hopes to become fully alivet Secondly is religious Taoism, which focuses on seeking magical events, To be specific, theses are not magical events like the western world perceives them.

A force greater than humans lending a hand characterizes theses events, The people of this group seek these events through mediators such as psychics, shamans and faith healers. The last, and arguably the most prevailing, as pointed out by Smith, is philosophical Taoism, The most important characteristic of this group is that they “try to conserve their [2 by expanding it efficiently” Smith goes on to say “to live wisely  is to conserve life’s vitality by not expending it in useless, draining ways, the chief of which are friction and conflict”

The primary way in which they attempt to do so is “to perfect a life of wu wei” , This includes not wasting any motion.

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This is why people think that Taoists are inactive but really they just have a pure effectiveness, Smith puts this perfectly by claiming, “One may move so well that a footprint never shows” (p209) The next thing that Smith does is use the analogy of a water to go through some of the other characteristics that philosophical Taoists posses. The first statement that he uses is that water “is content with the low places that people disdain, Thus is like the Tao” . This statement embodies the fact that Taoists do not need much and especially not material possessions.

This is further shown when Smith claims that “Taoism has little use for such ambitions”, referring to what most people are seeking; fame and wealth The last piece of the analogy that I found interesting and relating to the human condition is when Smith compares Taoism to muddy water claiming that when “let stand will clear” (p210). This once again speaks to the efficiency that philosophical Taoists attempt to achieve, Finally, philosophical Taoists strongly believe that “nature is to be befriended” Smith claims that “Taoism seeks attunement with nature, not dominance”, which is very unlike the western world in many ways.

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The Principles and Importance of Taoism. (2022, Dec 16). Retrieved from

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