It consists of 3 letters and 1 syllable and is pronounced Tao. Tao Name Meaning Chinese : according to tradition, from Tao Tangshi, the name of the emperor Yao (2357–2257 bc), first of the three model emperors, before he came to power. [42] Either dào 道 "the thing which is doing the conducting" is a Tone B (shangsheng 上聲 "rising tone") "endoactive noun" derivation from dào 導 "conduct", or dào 導 is a Later Old Chinese (Warring States period) "general tone C" (qusheng 去聲 "departing tone") derivation from dào 道 "way". The Tao transcends humanity and all of creation. Their observations of the natural world influenced their philosophy, and one of the things they incorporated was the concept of eternity. [24], Buddhism first started to spread in China during the first century AD and was experiencing a golden age of growth and maturation by the fourth century AD. ‘The classic Tao-te-Ching or ' Book of the Way and its Virtue ', attributed to Lao-tzu, sets out the principles for leading this higher life.’ b : the process of nature by which all things change and which is to be followed for a life of harmony. Originating in prehistoric China, it has exerted a powerful influence over Chinese culture throughout the ages. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Submit the origin and/or meaning of Tao to us below The Tao is central to all Chinese philosophy and religion. When it comes to understanding the full meaning of the term Tao, we must look closely at the traditional character of the term itself. The philosophy of Taoism grew into a religion of the peasant classes of the Shang Dynasty, who lived closely with nature. But even the name Tao can lead Westerners to think of Tao in the same way that they think of objects. ‘Hence in analyzing Taoism, one must understand the Tao, its nature and its meaning.’ ‘Unlike the Brahman however, the Tao cannot be realized.’ ‘The non-analytical understanding of the Tao, requires one to practice Wu Wei, a process through which the individual experiences no mind, and does action from one's true nature.’ The most closely related English words are "track" and "trek", while "trail" and "tract" are derived from other cognate Indo-European roots. This reduplication of shen 神 "spirit; god" and dao occurs in Northeast China speech. Each school of philosophy has its tao, its doctrine of the way in which life should be ordered. Keller considers it similar to the negative theology of Western scholars,[9] but the Tao is rarely an object of direct worship, being treated more like the Hindu concepts of karma or dharma than as a divine object. This involves meditative and moral practices. It typifies the most common Chinese character classification of "radical-phonetic" or "phono-semantic" graphs, which compound a "radical" or "signific" (roughly providing semantic information) with a "phonetic" (suggesting ancient pronunciation). Finally in a particular school of philosophy whose followers came to be called Taoists, tao meant 'the way the universe works'; and ultimately something very like God, in the more abstract and philosophical sense of that term. Laozi in the Tao Te Ching explains that the Tao is not a "name" for a "thing" but the underlying natural order of the Universe whose ultimate essence is difficult to circumscribe due to it being non-conceptual yet evident in one's being of aliveness. Tao is difficult to define because it is, by definition, beyond human understanding. 7th–3rd centuries BCE) pronunciations, reconstructions for 道 "way" and 道/導 "guide" are *d'ôg (Karlgren), *dəw (Zhou), *dəgwx and *dəgwh,[35] *luʔ,[36] and *lûʔ and *lûh. Chu Tao is 'the way to be a monarch', i.e. Confucianism regards the Way, or Truth, as concordant with a particular approach to life, politics, and tradition. It can, however, be known or experienced, and its principles (which can be discerned by observing Nature) can be followed or practiced. Several sections of the works attributed to Chuang Tzu are dedicated to critiques of the failures of Confucianism. And being comes from non-being. 2. a universal, regarded as an ideal attained to a greater … In most belief systems, the word is used symbolically in its sense of 'way' as the 'right' or 'proper' way of existence, or in the context of ongoing practices of attainment or of the full coming into being, or the state of enlightenment or spiritual perfection that is the outcome of such practices. [note 1][note 2][6] Liu Da asserts that the Tao is properly understood as an experiential and evolving concept and that there are not only cultural and religious differences in the interpretation of the Tao but personal differences that reflect the character of individual practitioners.[7]. Even more unexpected than the panoply of Indo-European cognates for Tao (drog) is the Hebrew root d-r-g for the same word and Arabic t-r-q, which yields words meaning "track, path, way, way of doing things" and is important in Islamic philosophical discourse.[41]. Although it gives rise to all being, it does not itself have being. The Tao Te Ching is the oldest text and representative of a speculative and philosophical approach to the Tao. The Zhuangzi (also spelled Chuang Tzu) uses literary devices such as tales, allegories, and narratives to relate the Tao to the reader, illustrating a metaphorical method of viewing and expressing the Tao. [21] Some scholars believe that there is no distinction between Daojia and Daojiao. Finding the Dao and Buddha-nature is not simply a matter of formulations, but an active response to the Four Noble Truths that cannot be fully expressed or conveyed in words and concrete associations. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. My favorite full chapters during my first reading were: 10, 19, 22, 29, 33, 37, 47, 48, 50, 63, 65, 67, 70, 71, 81. Important in this respect is the Taoist concept of De (德; virtue). A good way of avoiding the Tao-as-object error is to see the various concepts of the Tao as doing no more than describing those effects of the Tao that human beings are aware of. It is like magnetism. The earliest recorded usages were Tao (1736), Tau (1747), Taou (1831), and Dao (1971). In fact, the closest most educational sources will come to assigning a da… Tao is also the 9,882 nd most frequent forename worldwide, held by 100,756 people. In Confucianism and religious forms of Taoism, these are often explicitly moral/ethical arguments about proper behavior, while Buddhism and more philosophical forms of Taoism usually refer to the natural and mercurial outcomes of action (comparable to karma). The Tao is the fundamental and central concept of these schools of thought. A branch of his descendants retained the surname Tao. 'Dao' is commonly used in this fashion by Chinese Buddhists, heavy with associations and nuanced meanings. Taoists took a broader, more naturalistic/metaphysical view on the relationship between humankind and the Universe, and considered social rules to be at best a derivative reflection of the natural and spontaneous interactions between people, and at worst calcified structure that inhibited naturalness and created conflict. ◆V. Cut off words and meaning is emptiness. [16], Alternatively, philosophical Taoism regards the Tao as a non-religious concept; it is not a deity to be worshiped, nor is it a mystical Absolute in the religious sense of the Hindu Brahman. Cheng Hao regarded the fundamental matter of li, and thus Dao, to be humaneness. [5] The original use of the term was as a form of praxis rather than theory – a term used as a convention to refer to something that otherwise cannot be discussed in words – and early writings such as the Tao Te Ching and the I Ching make pains to distinguish between conceptions of the Tao (sometimes referred to as "named Tao") and the Tao itself (the "unnamed Tao"), which cannot be expressed or understood in language. [37], The word dao 道 has many meanings. Mel Thompson gives us a simple definition Tao, say… The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. During the Tang dynasty, Han Yu further formalized and defined Confucian beliefs as an apologetic response to Buddhism. Undergoing a revival in China, it does not change naturalism as paradoxes Taoism. And waned, alternately enjoying periods of favor and rejection '' element as hair above a face was edited... Water, setting an example for those who wish to live in accord with the Absolute is equivalent integrity... 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