Exploring religions is a very exciting process that may provide people with various insights. Daoism, spelled Taoism, is a philosophy and religion that originates from ancient China and has a number of interesting concepts. Like in any main religion, Taoism has a central principle that states that animals and humans have to live in balance with each other and the universe itself (Reninger, 2018). The symbol of yin and yang, one of the most well-known symbols of this religion, represents this principle and reminds living creatures of the necessity to maintain unity, harmony, and balance.
It is possible for people to interpret this Taoist visual symbol in several simultaneously similar and different ways, and each person can see their own meaning in yin-yang. Generally, it represents matching pairs like inaction and action, cold and hot, love and hate, dark and light, and masculine and feminine (Reninger, 2018). Yin and yang make them work together and maintain harmony toward a universal whole, and this is the primary influence of this concept on religion in China.
What is more, Shintoism and Confucianism are rather interesting religions. First, Shintoism is the largest religion in Japan, practiced by about eighty percent of the population; its name was invented in the sixth century to distinguish this faith from Buddhism (Cogito, 2021). It is more a way of life because it does not have specific characteristics associated with religion, like sacred texts and missionaries and preachers (ReligionForBreakfast, 2020). Shinto’s only purpose is to make people connected with spiritual energy Kamil through sacred rituals like funerals and weddings (Now This World, 2017). Thus, offerings and prayers to Kami spirits, which happen both at Shinto festivals and daily, allow purifying of persons and objects by washing away evil spirits. Finally, the fifth main concept of Shintoism is that it regards all humans as inherently good.
Confucianism is another insightful Eastern philosophy that may be described by five main concepts. First, it is simultaneously a system of values, a way of life, a political theory, and a religion (ReligionForBreakfast, 2021). Second, Confucian values like treating older people with respect have become a fundamental part of social norms in East Asia and are no longer associated precisely with Confucianism (ReligionForBreakfast, 2021). Third, the rules and principles outlined by Confucius play an essential role for modern people, and it is evident in their relation to rituals, which, according to the philosopher, stir our emotions deeply and make our intentions clear (The School of Life, 2015). Then nowadays, the world is almost completely full of innovation, un-Confucian, and informal, which may make people impulsive and thoughtless, and this is why the teachings of Confucius are important (The School of Life, 2015). Finally, the five constant virtues of this ideology are integrity, wisdom, righteousness, ritual propriety, and benevolence.
Finally, there are five interesting ideas related to Daoism. To begin with, in this religion, there is a concept of Dao that does not have a specific definition but may be understood as the source of reality or the flow of the universe (Cogito, 2020). Further, the Dao has an order recognized in nature and called Li. Daoism’s purpose is to help humans see the Dao in nature, feel it, and move in harmony with it (Cogito, 2020). Another interesting aspect of Daoism is that it teaches people several valuable lessons, including the necessity of being free of labels in order to truly know oneself (Philosophies for Life, 2019). Last but not least, breathing, meditation, dieting, and physical exercises have become the face of Daoism as they allow for living healthier and longer and having a better connection with the Dao.
Cogito. (2020). What is Taoism? [Video]. YouTube.
Cogito. (2021). What is Shinto? [Video]. YouTube.
Now This World. (2017). What is the ancient Japanese religion Shinto? [Video]. YouTube.
Philosophies for Life. (2019). 10 life lessons from the Taoist master Lao Tzu (Taoism) [Video]. YouTube.
ReligionForBreakfast. (2020). What is Shinto? [Video]. YouTube.
ReligionForBreakfast. (2021). Intro to Confucianism [Video]. YouTube.
Reninger, E. (2018). What does the yin-yang symbol mean? Learn Religions.
The School of Life. (2015). Eastern Philosophy – Confucius [Video]. YouTube.