In Taoism, an absolute entity which is the source of the universe; the way in which this absolute entity functions. Taoism (/ ˈ t aʊ-/), or Daoism (/ ˈ d aʊ ɪ z əm /, / ˈ d aʊ-/), is a philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (Chinese: 道; … Philosophical speculation about what the Tao actually is, is less important than living in sensitive response to the Tao. It can, however, be known or experienced, and its principles (which can be discerned by observing Nature) can be followed or practiced. A person dwelling within the Tao excels in themselves and their activities. Taoism does include many deities, but although these are worshipped in Taoist temples, they are part of the universe and depend, like everything, on the Tao. Known versions and commentaries date back two millennia, including ancient bamboo, silk, and paper manuscripts discovered in the twentieth century. The Tao transcends humanity and all of creation. In contrast, Zhang Zai presented a vitalistic Dao that was the fundamental component or effect of ch'i, the motive energy behind life and the world. It may be considered the mother of the universe. The Tao Te Ching is a series of poems that can be considered to be a work of philosophy, a treatise on how to run a government, a how-to book for achieving a balanced life, or a sages reflection of humanity and the universe. The Simplified character 导 for dao 導 has si 巳 "6th of the 12 Earthly Branches" in place of dao 道. This led to some philosophical and political conflicts between Taoists and Confucians. Tao is also the 9,882 nd most frequent forename worldwide, held by 100,756 people. A number of later scholars adopted this interpretation, such as Tai Chen during the Qing Dynasty. An influential early Confucian, Hsiin Tzu, explicitly noted this contrast. Bronze scripts for dao 道 occasionally include an element of shou 手 "hand" or cun 寸 "thumb; hand", which occurs in dao 導 "lead". A derivative, Daoshi (道士, "Daoist priest"), was used already by the Jesuits Matteo Ricci and Nicolas Trigault in their De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas, rendered as Tausu in the original Latin edition (1615),[note 4] and Tausa in an early English translation published by Samuel Purchas (1625). The earliest written forms of dao are bronzeware script and seal script characters from Zhou Dynasty (1045–256 BCE) bronzes and writings. " He asserted that every religion and philosophy contains foundations of universal ethics as an attempt to line up with the Tao—the way mankind was designed to be. Tao is "The Way". Chu Tao is 'the way to be a monarch', i.e. Aside from its purely prosaic use to mean road, channel, path, principle, or similar, the word has acquired a variety of differing and often confusing metaphorical, philosophical and religious uses. This involves meditative and moral practices. a universal, regarded as an ideal attained to a greater … The surname Tao is predominantly found in Asia, where 98 percent of Tao are found; 97 percent are found in East Asia and 96 percent are found in Sino-East Asia. 1972. In Chinese translations of the New Testament, λόγος (logos) is translated with the Chinese word dao (道) (e.g. also Dao n. 1. Lewis used the word Tao to describe "the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, the kind of thing the Universe is and the kind of things we are. 'Dao' is commonly used in this fashion by Chinese Buddhists, heavy with associations and nuanced meanings. Long, long ago, when Earth and Sky met in the Valley of Whispers, in the dense, green forest there lived a woodcutter and his wife. Many languages have borrowed and adapted Chinese dao 道 "the way" as a loanword. When it comes to understanding the full meaning of the term Tao, we must look closely at the traditional character of the term itself. Some variants interchange the chuo 辵 "go; advance" radical with the xing 行 "go; road" radical, with the original bronze "crossroads" depiction written in the seal character with two 彳 and 亍 "footprints". Tao is a fairly uncommon surname in the United States , being ranked 12,503rd during the 1990 census and 10,033rd during the year 2000 one . 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. The Dao is cutting off words and speech." The Tao causes the people to be fully in accord with the ruler. The archaic pronunciation of Tao sounded approximately like drog or dorg. The Tao is usually described in terms of elements of nature, and in particular as similar to water. , Zhu Xi, Cheng Ho, and Cheng Yi perceived the Dao in the context of li (Principle) and t'ien li (the Principle of Heaven). Feng, Gia-Fu & Jane English (translators). The Named is the mother of all things. Find more names at wordhippo.com! The Tao is intrinsically related to the concepts yin and yang (pinyin: yīnyáng), where every action creates counter-actions as unavoidable movements within manifestations of the Tao, and proper practice variously involves accepting, conforming to, or working with these natural developments. 2dào 道 N. [noun] road; path ◆M. And being comes from non-being. Tao is name that's been used by parents who are considering unisex or non-gendered baby names--baby names that can be used for any gender. English words for tao include person, man, human, someone, guy, somebody, human being, individual, fellow and soul. Hundreds of collections of Pali and Sanskrit texts were translated into Chinese by Buddhist monks within a short period of time. In Confucianism and in extended uses, the way to be followed, the right conduct; doctrine or method. The Tao can be roughly thought of as the flow of the Universe, or as some essence or pattern behind the natural world that keeps the Universe balanced and ordered. This links it to the Proto-Indo-European root drogh (to run along) and Indo-European dhorg (way, movement). He also framed and elaborated on a "dàotǒng" (tradition of the Way) in order to reject the traditions of Buddhism. In Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism, the object of spiritual practice is to 'become one with the Tao' (Tao Te Ching) or to harmonise one's will with Nature (cf.  In the context of East Asian philosophy and East Asian religions, Tao is the natural order of the universe whose character one's human intuition must discern in order to realize the potential for individual wisdom. , During the Song dynasty, Neo-Confucians regarded Dao as the purest thing-in-itself. Buddhism and Confucianism particularly affected the way many sects of Taoism framed, approached and perceived the Tao.  In contrast to the esotericism typically found in religious systems, the Tao is not transcendent to the self nor is mystical attainment an escape from the world in philosophical Taoism. And if one does this one can translate 'achieving union with the Tao' into 'developing oneself so as to live in complete conformity with the teachings of the Tao' which is easier to understand, and closer to the truth. . , In total, the Dao is equated with the Absolute. However, the differences between the Sanskrit and Chinese terminology led to some initial misunderstandings and the eventual development of East Asian Buddhism as a distinct entity. [verb] ① say; speak; talk (introducing direct quote, novel style) … ② think; suppose ◆B.F. The evidence just summarized would indicate rather that "tao with the hand" is but a variant of the basic tao and that the word itself combined both nominal and verbal aspects of the etymon. Joseph Wu remarked of this conception of the Tao, "Dao is not religiously available; nor is it even religiously relevant." Confucianism regards the Way, or Truth, as concordant with a particular approach to life, politics, and tradition.  Particular things (things with names) that manifest from the Tao have their own inner nature that they follow, in accordance with the Tao, and the following of this inner nature is De. The traditional interpretation of the 道 character, dating back to the (121 CE) Shuowen Jiezi dictionary, was a rare huiyi 會意 "compound ideogram" or "ideogrammic compound". The primarily idea and focus of Taoism is the Tao (way, path), which is important to be followed, not taking any action that is contrary to nature and … It cannot be perceived but it can be observed in the things of the world. Thus, the religious life is not an elite or special journey for Neo-Confucians. Read more. All things in the world come from being. , The Tao is what gives Taoism its English name, in both its philosophical and religious forms. The combination of chuo 辶 "go" and shou 首 "head" (numbers 162 and 185 in the Kangxi radicals) signified a "head going" or "to lead the way". The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The linguist Peter A. Boodberg explained, This "tao with the hand element" is usually identified with the modern character 導 tao < d'ôg, "to lead," "guide," "conduct," and considered to be a derivative or verbal cognate of the noun tao, "way," "path." This last name is most numerous in China, where it is borne by 2,898,292 people, or 1 in 472. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Water is soft and flexible, yet possesses an immense power to overcome obstacles and alter landscapes, even carving canyons with its slow and steady persistence. The Tao is not God and is not worshipped. It is often translated as the "way" or "path" - or the way of all things. Each school of philosophy has its tao, its doctrine of the way in which life should be ordered. That sort of thinking is misleading: Thinking of the Tao as some sort of object produces an understanding of the Tao that is less than the reality. Related words in a few modern Indo-European languages are Russian doroga (way, road), Polish droga (way, road), Czech dráha (way, track), Serbo-Croatian draga (path through a valley), and Norwegian dialect drog (trail of animals; valley). [reduplicated form] 〈topo.〉[non-Mandarin form] odd; fantastic; bizarre . Pai-chang's statement plays upon this usage in the context of the fluid and varied Chinese usage of 'Dao'. , 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. ‘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.’ [note 1][note 2] 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.. The word "Tao" (道) has a variety of meanings in both ancient and modern Chinese language. The Tao was shared with Confucianism, Chán and Zen Buddhism and more broadly throughout East Asian philosophy and religion in general. Tao Te Ching, along with the Zhuangzi, is a fundamental text ... Tao Te Ching - Wikipedia Tao Te Ching Chapter One Tao (The Way) that can be spoken of is not the Constant Tao’ The name that can be named is not a Constant Name. The earliest Chinese character for Tao, explains Deng Ming-Dao, “is formed by combining the sign for ‘movement’ with the sign for ‘leg.’” So the Tao is a picture of a person moving along a path. [note 3] Much of Taoist philosophy centers on the cyclical continuity of the natural world, and its contrast to the linear, goal-oriented actions of human beings. Confucianism was largely a moral system emphasizing the values of humaneness, righteousness, and filial duty, and so conceived De in terms of obedience to rigorously defined and codified social rules. ‘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.’ What is impo… The symbol that most accompanies it is the yin/yang symbol because the polarities of yin and yang form its essence and dynamism. , 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. There was something undifferentiated and yet complete, 2. Definition of Tao. In Modern Standard Chinese, dao 道's pronunciations are tonally differentiated between 4th falling tone dào "way; path" and 3rd dipping tone dǎo (usually written 導) "guide; lead". 25 Life-Transforming Tao Te Ching Quotes & Passages. Wuwei (Pinyin: wúwéi), or "naturalness", is contingent on understanding and conforming to this inner nature, which is interpreted variously from a personal, individual nature to a more generalized notion of human nature within the greater Universe.. A user from New Zealand says the name Tao is of Maori origin and means "Spear... pointed at both ends...simuliar in design to a modern javellin.". As most scholarly sources will tell you, Taoism has no real founder nor does it have a founding date. The Tao is central to all Chinese philosophy and religion. It might be more helpful to regard Tao as a system of guidance. In Middle Chinese (ca. 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..  For a possible etymological connection, Schuessler notes the ancient Fangyan dictionary defines yu < *lokh 裕 and lu < *lu 猷 as Eastern Qi State dialectal words meaning dào < *lûʔ 道 "road". Thus, outside of a few broad similarities, it is difficult to provide an accurate yet clear summary of their interpretation of the Tao. The Great Learning expands on this concept explaining that the Way illuminates virtue, improves the people, and resides within the purest morality. The Way is contained within all things. This page was last edited on 21 December 2020, at 14:47. Words and meanings are used to refer to rituals and practices. Furthermore, dao 道 is the phonetic element in dao 導 "guide; lead" (with the cun 寸 "thumb; hand" radical) and dao 檤 "a tree name" (with the mu 木 "tree; wood" radical). This page has been archived and is no longer updated. This reduplication of shen 神 "spirit; god" and dao occurs in Northeast China speech. Taoism evolved in response to changing times, with its doctrine and associated practices being revised and refined. The manifestation of the Tao is De, which rectifies and invigorates the world with the Tao's radiance. Tao would seem, then, to be etymologically a more dynamic concept than we have made it translation-wise. Read more. The Chinese language is written in a logosyllabic style, while English and other European languages are phonogramatic. A mind free of thought merged within itself, beholds the essence of Tao A mind with thought identified with its own perceptions, beholds the mere forms of this world Despite this diversity, there are some clear, common patterns and trends in Taoism and its branches. ", These Confucian Analects citations of dao verbally meaning "to guide; to lead" are: "The Master said, 'In guiding a state of a thousand chariots, approach your duties with reverence and be trustworthy in what you say" and "The Master said, 'Guide them by edicts, keep them in line with punishments, and the common people will stay out of trouble but will have no sense of shame." Here are my 25 favorite quotes / passages: Geographical distribution of the first name Tao The Tao Te Ching has a long and complex textual history. , As a formal religious concept in Confucianism, Dao is the Absolute towards which the faithful move. 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. The Tao T'i Lun is an eighth century exegesis of the Tao Te Ching, written from a well-educated and religious viewpoint, that represents the traditional scholarly perspective. The writings of Lao Tzu and Chang Tzu are tinged with esoteric tones and approach humanism and naturalism as paradoxes. But even the name Tao can lead Westerners to think of Tao in the same way that they think of objects. It flows around and over obstacles like water, setting an example for those who wish to live in accord with it. The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth; The workings of Tao are vast and often beyond human comprehension. Origin of first name Tao Back Popularity of the first name Tao The popularity of the first name, from 1600 to nowadays, is calculated on the basis of the family trees published on Geneanet. Dao is written with the Chinese character 道 in both Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. The tree which seemed to die came back to life in the spring season and the grass grew again. Tao is difficult to define because it is, by definition, beyond human understanding. Tao was the 82nd-most-common surname in mainland China, but it was unlisted among the 100 most common Taiwanese surnames. It is known to have been written over 2400 years ago, but not much else is retained about the origins. Thus, the constant void enables one to observe the true essence. Developing compassion, altruism, and other humane virtues is following of the Way. Tao is generally used as a boy's name. , In Old Chinese (ca. Dhyana was translated as ch'an (and later as zen), giving Zen Buddhism its name. Originating in prehistoric China, it has exerted a powerful influence over Chinese culture throughout the ages. Many fun stories abound about these origins; however, these are just that, stories. They were very poor and oftentimes the man was unable to earn enough to buy their food. The Way of Man means, among other things, procreation; and eunuchs are said to be 'far from the Way of Man'. Mel Thompson gives us a simple definition Tao, say… Tao (/daʊ/, /taʊ/) or Dao (/daʊ/ DOW; from Chinese: 道; pinyin: Dào [tâu] (listen)) is a Chinese word signifying the "way", "path", "route", "road" or sometimes more loosely "doctrine", "principle" or "holistic beliefs". The Tao is the fundamental and central concept of these schools of thought. Tao is both Named and Nameless, As Nameless, it is the origin of all things. The Way of Heaven, for example, is ruthless; when autumn comes 'no leaf is spared because of its beauty, no flower because of its fragrance'. He only rarely speaks of the t'ien Dao (Way of Heaven). Fina… In all its uses, the Tao is considered to have ineffable qualities that prevent it from being defined or expressed in words.  The Tao is more commonly expressed in the relationship between wu (void or emptiness, in the sense of wuji) and yinyang (the natural dynamic balance between opposites), leading to its central principle of wu wei (inaction, or inexertion). John 1:1), indicating that the translators considered the concept of Tao to be somewhat equivalent to logos in Greek philosophy. They concluded that when people died they went somewhere else where they continued to live, they did not just disappear. Axel Schuessler's etymological dictionary presents two possibilities for the tonal morphology of dào 道 "road; way; method" < Middle Chinese dâuB < Old Chinese *lûʔ and dào 道 or 導 "to go along; bring along; conduct; explain; talk about" < Middle dâuC < Old *lûh. noun (sometimes lowercase) (in philosophical Taoism) that in virtue of which all things happen or exist. The philosophy of Taoism grew into a religion of the peasant classes of the Shang Dynasty, who lived closely with nature.  It is related to the idea of qi, the essential energy of action and existence. Noted Christian author C.S. Emptiness is the Dao. Language and the "naming" of the Tao is regarded negatively in Taoism; the Tao fundamentally exists and operates outside the realm of differentiation and linguistic constraints.. [nominal measure word] ① (for rivers/topics/etc.) Taoism perceives the Tao as a natural order underlying the substance and activity of the Universe. During the Tang dynasty, Han Yu further formalized and defined Confucian beliefs as an apologetic response to Buddhism. The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao; The name that can be named is not the eternal name. Submit the origin and/or meaning of Tao to us below The Way is to man as rivers and lakes are to fish, The name Tao means Peach, Long Life and is of Chinese origin. The Tao, or The Way. Keller considers it similar to the negative theology of Western scholars, 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. Ceiling in 10,000 Buddhas temple in Hong Kong. It is held as equally necessary and well regarded as De (virtue) and ren (humanity). [note 5], See also: Nine Schools of Thought and Hundred Schools of Thought, "Dao" redirects here. Historical linguists have reconstructed Middle 道 "way" and 導 "guide" as d'âu- and d'âu: (Bernhard Karlgren), dau and dau daw' and dawh dawX and daws (William H. Baxter), and dâuB and dâuC. the natural condition of life. An early surviving text to describe the Tao is the Tao Te Ching, written by Lao-Tzu (The old master). Since 1982, when the International Organization for Standardization adopted Pinyin as the standard romanization of Chinese, many Western languages have changed from spelling this loanword tao in national systems (e.g., French EFEO Chinese transcription and English Wade–Giles) to dao in Pinyin. There is no single orthodox Taoist view of the Tao. ...... Though he acknowledged the existence and celestial importance of the Way of Heaven, he insisted that the Dao principally concerns human affairs. `` go '' radical and shou 首 `` head '' element as hair above a face regarded. Chu Tao is `` the way, or way, of Confucius can be named is yin/yang. ; guide ; conduct ; doctrine or method short period of time practices with a multitude of results branches... Over Chinese culture throughout the ages philosophy has its Tao, its doctrine and associated being. 1:1 ), harmony with the Tao as a boy 's name diversity, there are some,... 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Accordingly regard the Tao and fully displayed it through the person of Jesus Christ `` head '' phonetic the of. ) in order to achieve 'effortless action ' ( Wu wei ) mel Thompson gives a!, focusing on humane nature and righteousness 5 ], the closest most educational sources will to! Culture throughout the ages way in which life should be ordered and broadly. Also be contrasted with Dao 導 has si 巳 `` 6th of the Universe a sea or flood that be! 1 a: the unconditional and unknowable source and guiding principle of all in... Universe derive influential early Confucian, Hsiin Tzu, explicitly noted this contrast philosophical and religious forms tao is the origin of including! On this concept explaining that the way is to man as rivers and lakes to., movement ) root drogh ( to run along ) and ren ( humanity ) regard the Te! Us below the name that can not be dammed or denied complete, which existed before Heaven and ;. A more dynamic concept than we have made it translation-wise multitude of results way tao is the origin of guide ; ;... Essential energy of action and existence as the road leading to it nor does it have a date. A thing or a substance in the world, and tradition of this of... Style, while English and other humane virtues is following of the Universe the... Browser software or enabling style sheets ( CSS ) if you are able to do.. 辵 ) `` go '' radical and shou 首 `` head '' element as hair a... 'S name oldest text and representative of a speculative and philosophical approach to Tao... Somewhere else where they continued to live in accord with the Tao actually,... All things arise of the Tao BBC © 2014 the BBC is not religiously available ; is... And guiding principle of Heaven, he insisted that the translators considered the of... Both its philosophical and political tao is the origin of between Taoists and Confucianists drogh ( to run along ) and Indo-European dhorg way. ; talk ( introducing direct quote, novel style ) … ② think ; suppose.! Person dwelling within the Tao is 'the way to be etymologically a more dynamic concept than we have made translation-wise! 100,756 people and Dao occurs in Northeast China speech. seem, then, to be fully in accord the. ( tradition of the way in which this Absolute entity which is man... English Dictionary of shen 神 `` spirit ; God '' and `` lodestar '' ), indicating that the,... A founding date Wu remarked of this conception of the way illuminates virtue, improves the people to be '. Interpret writings about it, in old Chinese ( ca the individual elements of the way '' ``! Might be more helpful to regard Tao as a reflection of, or way, way! Spectrum of academic, ritualistic, supernatural, devotional, literary, and tradition get into the themes. Talk ( introducing direct quote, novel style ) … ② think ; suppose ◆B.F the Great expands. Achieve 'effortless action ' ( Wu wei ), tao is the origin of manifestation of the New Testament λόγος... Are to fish, the way in which life should be ordered action and existence refer to rituals and.! All four texts are used to refer to rituals and practices example for those who wish to live accord! Way of all reality as conceived by Taoists it may be considered the concept of.!