Taoism is considered a religion or philosophy, but really Taoism is a way of practicing both. Tao means Way or Path, Te means virtue or nature, and ching means text.  The main Taoist text is the Tao Te Ching, written approximately 2500 years ago.  I became a Taoist when I read the first chapter of the Tao Te Ching as translated by Ellen Marie Chen:

Tao that can be spoken of
Is not the everlasting Tao.
Name that can be named,
Is not the everlasting name.
Nameless, the origin of heaven and earth;
Named, the mother of ten thousand things.
Therefore, always without desire, In order to observe the hidden mystery;
Always with desire, In order to observe the manifestations.
These two issue from the same origin,
Though named differently.
Both are called the dark.
Dark and even darker,
The door to all hidden mystery.

I study Ellen Chen’s translation the most as hers is my favorite, but I read all that I find.  I collect copies of the Tao Te Ching.  You can read a translation online at www.taoteching.org.   I’ve been studying Taoism and Tai Chi since 1999.  I practice tai chi with a yang short form, which has led to some intense freestyle.  I study feng shui.  I also practice Chinese calligraphy.


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