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    Ancient native Chinese religion
    Its origins date back to well before recorded history
    Usually pronounced like 'dow-ism' and means 'way' or 'path'
    Taoism proper was founded in the Fifth Century BC by Lao-Tse (possibly a mythical figure)
    Major text, 'Tao Te Ching' or 'Book of the Way'
    Divided into three major and inter-related schools: Philosophical, Religious, and Folk
    It is so divided and has no central authority, making it is really hard to say what is Taoism and what is not.
    You know the whole yin yang stuff, that the universe is divided into two equal and opposite forces? That's them.
    Tai Chi? That's them too.
    It started as a combination of psychology and philosophy and evolved into a religion.
    The 'Folk' branch is a collection of superstitions like animism, placating good and bad spirits, etc.
    It emphasizes the 'Three Jewels of Tao:' compassion, moderation, and humility.
    It developed syncretistically with Buddhism and Confucianism and with them almost defines the spirituality of the great Chinese people.
    It has an estimated 400 million followers!
    Many of its monks and followers were murdered by Mao Zedong and his communist followers.
    There has never been a time in history that the world could not use compassion, moderation and humility in large doses.
    They don't force their beliefs on others and sure as hell don't have televangelists or burn witches at the stake or stone women of ill repute.
    The idea of 'The Force' in Star Wars was derived from yin and yang.
    The yin and yang logo is widely recognized and kind of cool looking.

Credit: tom_jeffords

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