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Taoism

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Yin and Yang

The yin and yang symbol is a popular emblem of Taoism.

Taoism or Daoism is the name given to a variety of religious and philosophical traditions that have been influential in China and other countries in East Asia for more than two thousand years. The word tao (or dao) can be translated as "path" or "way (of life)". Taoism has never been a unified religion, therefore, different branches have distinct beliefs. However, most Taoists agree on the ethics that they should follow.

The emphasis in Taoist ethics is on compassion, moderation and humility. Taoist thought focusses on nature, the balance between humanity and the cosmos, health and longevity and attempting to produce harmony within the universe through knowing when to act and when not to act.

Popular Taoism involves reverance for ancestors and immortals. Although some Taoist priests disapprove of it, many people in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan mix elements of Taoism with Chinese folk religion, Buddhism and sometimes other religions. Many Chinese people consider themselves to be simultaneously Taoists, Buddhists and Confucianists, sometimes considering those beliefs to be philosophies rather than religions.

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