DK Society & Beliefs: Daoism

Dao (“the way”) is the organizing principle of the Universe. The best way to act or think is wuwei, or effortless activity. Not trying to resist or control events helps peace and harmony to be created within oneself and within the world.


Laozi (“the old master”), who lived in China in the 6th century BCE, wrote the Daode Jing, whose teachings form the cornerstone of Daoism. According to tradition, Laozi served as archivist in the royal court and knew Confucius. When Laozi decided to go on a spiritual pilgrimage, he was not allowed to leave China until he had written down all his teachings.


The principle of qi lies at the root of Chinese life and belief. It is the vital substance that makes up the universe and is composed of two complementary energy forces: yin and yang. The Chinese believe that qi runs through energy lines in our bodies and that when these lines are blocked, ill health results. Acupuncture uses needles to unblock them.


China’s First Empire

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley