What Do Taoists Believe?

Main Texts

It is still convenient to speak of Lao Zi as the author of the Tao Te Ching ("Book of the Way and Its Power"), the most important scripture of popular Taoist sects. Dating from the early third century B.C.E., this text combines religion, philosophy, poetry, and mysticism.

The Tao Te Ching later became part of a larger Taoist canon (Tao Zang) which includes revelations, meditative and ritual texts, moral codes, registers of names and functions of spirits, and texts on alchemy, exorcism, astrology, and philosophy. Although Kublai Khan ordered the Tao Zang burned in 1281, it survived, and in its last main printing in 1926, it included 1,120 volumes. Other texts held as important in Taoism include the philosophical writings of Zhuang Zi (369-286 B.C.E.).

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