Lao Tzu (photo: Judy and Ed).Taoism is a religion developed by Lao Tzu in 550 BC in China. Today it is one of the minor religions of the world with under 3 million followers. The actual number may be much greater when one takes into consideration that many followers of a particular Chinese religion may also follow Taoism.

Photo: Lao Tzu (photo: Judy and Ed).

Taoism Today

Taoism is both a philosophy and a religion. The primary purpose of the religion is to follow the Tao (the path or the way). Within this religion, humans attempt to live in harmony with the Tao. It is found in China, Japan and Southeast Asia.

Basic principles of Taoism include the following:

Tao: refers to the way or the path. This path is the beginning and the flow of all things. It is the universe and a single individual.

Wuwei: refers to the belief in action without intent. In this manner, one acts more in harmony with nature.

Ziran: refers to naturalness. Ideally one is in harmony with the Tao and acts in a natural manner and without desire. It is living simply.

Improving Your Reading and Thinking Skills

Think for a few moments. Try to recall the major ideas in this article. When you are done, click the box below for a list of main ideas.


How did you do? With practice, you should be able to identify many of the major ideas. You may even discover some important ideas that aren’t listed.


Number of adherents of world religions, Religions of the World.


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Webster Gabiana

Taoism was develop by Lao Tzu in 550 BC.