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Taoism is the only religious doctrine that actually originated in China. As with Buddhism, a philosophical, then religious tradition, it has, with Confucianism, shaped Chinese life for more than 2,000 years. The doctrine derives from the philosophical ideas of Laozi, an outstanding Chinese philosopher. The key concept in Taoism revolves around "the Way," variously interpreted as either a philosophical or religious guidance system for all people interested in Taoism. At one time, it was used as a governing tool, but today it survives both as a religious tradition and as a philosophy. The most common representation of Taoist theology is the circular Yin Yang figure: a symbol of existing opposites in perfect balance. When they are both equally present, all is calm; when one outweighs the other, confusion and chaos appear.

( August 27, 2007)

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