The beauty of Taoism

With so much wisdom around the world, its challenging to sift through it all and find great quotes, inspiration, and readings for weddings. But hey, that’s my job, and I often find words that resonate in Taoism (or Daoism – both are correct). About 20 million people practice this religion, really more of a philosophy, that originates in 6thcentury China. Many Westerners know it for its iconic yin-yang symbol.

Taoism is loosely called ‘the Way’ and Yin and Yang are the elements that help define it. This is the principle that all things are inseparable and connected, even if they seem opposites, they are really complementary. The yin is the dark swirl and the yang, the light swirl. There are countless qualities, objects and concepts assigned to each.

”]Taoism guides you to accept yourself and accept that nature is ever changing and yet always the same. It’s a ‘go with the flow’ viewpoint that teaches people to live true to themselves and to aid others. If this feels familiar perhaps that is because all religions and philosophies strive to help us mere humans cope with the trials we encounter on our path in life. And like other religions, Taoism has many sacred texts.

Lao Tzu – known as the author of the Tao Te Ching, the “bible” of Taoism – has some awesome stuff. Here’s an example:

Whatever is planted deeply is not easily uprooted.

Whatever is embraced sincerely does not crave escape.

Ever since we lost our intuition as our main guide in life,

these virtues have had to be consciously cultivated to survive.

Cultivate them in yourself and they will be genuine.

Cultivate them in your family and they will surely flourish.

Cultivate them in your community and they will be long lasting.

Cultivate them in your country and they will be widely propagated.

Cultivate them in the world and they will certainly become universal.

In this way you will know others by what you do yourself.

You will know families by what you contribute as a family.

You will know the world by what you do as a planetary citizen.

How do we know all this?

Because we know that each part is the whole,

and the whole is in each part.

”]Lao Tzu also gets credit for the famous saying ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’

Weddings in the Taoist tradition do not have many required elements and can vary widely. Basically, the couple agrees to mutual obligations, witnesses should be present, and a proclamation is made. Taoists are often Chinese and so may include a Chinese Tea Ceremony, or other cultural elements.

There are Taoist temples, monasteries and priests, rituals and ceremonies, and a host of gods and goddesses for believers to worship. I was happy to learn that women have played a fairly important role as shamans. Taoist do not worship God in the way Abrahamic religions do. It’s more about the universe and wisdom, and Laozi (or Lao Tzu) sure had a lot to say about it.

Side note: modern historians are not sure Lao Tzu even existed and think that the Tao Te Chingis more likely a compilation of writings. But we’ll leave that to the scholars.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Lao Tzu: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”





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