Tao: Wikis


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Tao (, pinyin: About this sound dào ) is a concept found in Taoism, Confucianism, and more generally in ancient Chinese philosophy and East Asian religions. While the word itself translates as 'way', 'path', or 'route', or sometimes more loosely as 'doctrine' or 'principle', it is often used philosophically to signify the fundamental or true nature of the world.

In Taoism, Tao both precedes and encompasses the universe. As with other nondualistic philosophies, all the observable objects in the world - referred to in the Tao Te Ching as 'the named' or 'the ten thousand things' - are considered to be manifestations of Tao, and can only operate within the boundaries of Tao. Tao is, by contrast, often referred to as 'the nameless', because neither it nor its principles can ever be adequately expressed in words.

While the Tao cannot be expressed, Taoism holds that it can be known, and its principles can be followed. Much of Taoist writing focuses on the value of following the Tao - called Te (virtue) - and of the ultimate uselessness of trying to understand or control Tao outright. This is often expressed through yin and yang arguments, where every action creates a counter-action as a natural, unavoidable movement within manifestations of the Tao.


The Chinese word

The term dao 道 is analyzable in terms of Chinese characters, alternate dào "way" or dǎo "guide" pronunciations and meanings, a possible Proto-Indo-European etymology, and loanwords such as English tao or dao.

Bronze script for dao
Large seal script for dao
Small seal script for dao


Dao is written with the Chinese character in both Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. It typifies the most common Chinese character classification of "radical-phonetic" or "phono-semantic" graphs, which compound a "radical" or "signific" (roughly providing semantic information) with a "phonetic" (suggesting ancient pronunciation).

Dao 道 graphically combines the chuo (or ) "go" radical and shou "head" phonetic. Furthermore, dao 道 is the phonetic element in dao "guide; lead" (with the cun "thumb; hand" radical) and dao "a tree name" (with the mu "tree; wood" radical).

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道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".

Dao is graphically distinguished between its earliest nominal meaning of dao 道 "way; road; path;" and the later verbal sense of "say". It should also be contrasted with dao 導 "lead the way; guide; conduct; direct; ". The Simplified character for dao 導 has si "6th of the 12 Earthly Branches" in place of dao 道.

The earliest written forms of dao are bronzeware script and seal script characters from Zhou Dynasty (1045-256 BCE) bronzes and writings. These ancient dao characters more clearly depict the shou 首 "head" element as hair above a face. 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".

Bronze scripts for dao 道 occasionally include an element of shou 手 "hand" or cun 寸 "thumb; hand", which occurs in dao 導 "lead". 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." 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. This is supported by textual examples of the use of the primary tao in the verbal sense "to lead" (e. g., Analects 1.5; 2.8) and seriously undermines the unspoken assumption implied in the common translation of Tao as "way" that the concept is essentially a nominal one. Tao would seem, then, to be etymologically a more dynamic concept than we have made it translation-wise. It would be more appropriately rendered by "lead way" and "lode" ("way," "course," "journey," "leading," "guidance"; cf. "lodestone" and "lodestar"), the somewhat obsolescent deverbal noun from "to lead."[1]

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." [2]


In modern Standard Mandarin, dao 道's pronunciations are tonally differentiated between 4th falling tone dào "way; path" and 3rd dipping tone dǎo (usually written 導) "guide; lead".

Besides these common 4th and 3rd tonal specifications dào 道 "way" and dǎo 道 (or 導) "guide", 道 has a rare 1st level tone dāo pronunciation in the regional idiomatic expression shénshendāodāo 神神道道 "odd; bizarre". This reduplication of shen "spirit; god" and dao occurs in Northeast China speech.

In Middle Chinese (ca. 6th-10th centuries CE) tone name categories, 道 and 道/導 were qusheng 去聲 "departing tone" and shangsheng 上聲 "rising tone". Historical linguists have reconstructed Middle 道 "way" and 導 "guide" as d'âu- and d'âu: (Bernhard Karlgren),[3] dau and dau (Zhou Fagao),[4] daw' and dawh (Edwin G. Pulleyblank, "Early Middle"),[5] dawX and daws (William H. Baxter),[6] and dâuB and dâuC (Axel Schuessler).[7]

In Old Chinese (ca. 7th-3rd centuries BCE) pronunciations, reconstructions for 道 "way" and 道/導 "guide" are *d'ôg (Karlgren), *dəw (Zhou), *dəgwx and *dəgwh (Li Fanggui),[8] *luʔ (Baxter), and *lûʔ and *lûh (Schuessler).


The word dao 道 has many meanings. For example, the Chinese Hanyu Da Zidian dictionary defines 39 meanings for dào 道 "way; path" and 6 for dǎo 道 (導) "guide; lead".[9]

John DeFrancis's exemplary Chinese-English dictionary gives twelve meanings for dào 道 "way; path; say", three for dǎo 道 (or 導) "guide; lead", and one for dāo 道 in an "odd, bizarre" idiomatic expression. Note that brackets clarify abbreviations and ellipsis marks omitted usage example.

2dào 道 N. [noun] road; path ◆M. [nominal measure word] ① (for rivers/topics/etc.) ② (for a course (of food); a streak (of light); etc.) ◆V. [verb] ① say; speak; talk (introducing direct quote, novel style) … ② think; suppose ◆B.F. [bound form, bound morpheme] ① channel ② way; reason; principle ③ doctrine ④ Daoism ⑤ line ⑥〈hist.〉 [history] ⑦ district; circuit canal; passage; tube ⑧ say (polite words) … See also 4dǎo, 4dāo
4dǎo 导/道[導/-] B.F. [bound form] ① guide; lead … ② transmit; conduct … ③ instruct; direct …
4dāo 道 in shénshendāodāo … 神神道道 R.F. [reduplicated form] 〈topo.〉[topolect, non-Mandarin "dialect"] odd; fantastic; bizarre [10]


The etymological linguistic origins of dao "way; path" depend upon its Old Chinese pronunciation, which scholars have tentatively reconstructed as *d'ôg, *dəgwx, *dəw, *luʔ, and *lûʔ.

Boodberg noted that the shou 首 "head" phonetic in the dao 道 character was not merely phonetic but "etymonic", analogous with English to head meaning "to lead" and "to tend in a certain direction," "ahead," "headway".

Paronomastically, tao is equated with its homonym tao < d'ôg, "to trample," "tread," and from that point of view it is nothing more than a "treadway," "headtread," or "foretread "; it is also occasionally associated with a near synonym (and possible cognate) ti < d'iôk, "follow a road," "go along," "lead," "direct"; "pursue the right path"; a term with definite ethical overtones and a graph with an exceedingly interesting phonetic, yu < djôg," "to proceed from." The reappearance of C162 [辶] "walk" in ti with the support of C157 [⻊] "foot" in tao, "to trample," "tread," should perhaps serve us as a warning not to overemphasize the headworking functions implied in tao in preference to those of the lower extremities.[11]

Victor H. Mair proposes a Proto-Indo-European etymology for dao 道, supported by numerous cognates in Indo-European languages, and semantically similar Arabic and Hebrew words.

The archaic pronunciation of Tao sounded approximately like drog or dorg. This links it to the Proto-Indo-European root drogh (to run along) and Indo-European dhorg (way, movement). Related words in a few modern Indo-European languages are Russian doroga (way, road), Polish droga (way, road), Czech draha (way, track), Serbo-Croatian draga (path through a valley), and Norwegian dialect drog (trail of animals; valley). …. The nearest Sanskrit (Old Indian) cognates to Tao (drog) are dhrajas (course, motion) and dhraj (course). The most closely related English words are "track" and "trek", while "trail" and "tract" are derived from other cognate Indo-European roots. Following the Way, then, is like going on a cosmic trek. 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.[12]

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. [13]. Either dào 道 "the thing which is doing the conducting" is a Tone B (shangsheng 上聲 "rising tone") "endoactive noun" derivation from dào 導 "conduct", or dào 導 is a Later Old Chinese (Warring States Period) "general tone C" (qusheng 去聲 "departing tone") derivation from dào 道 "way".[14] 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".


Many languages have borrowed and adapted Chinese dao 道 "the way" as a loanword.

In Sinitic languages, this character 道 is pronounced as Cantonese dou6 and Taiwanese to7. In Sino-Xenic languages, 道 is pronounced as Japanese , , or michi; Korean do or to; and Vietnamese đạo, dạo, or nhạo.

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.

The tao/dao "the way" English word of Chinese origin has three meanings, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

1. a. In Taoism, an absolute entity which is the source of the universe; the way in which this absolute entity functions.
1. b. = Taoism, Taoist
2. In Confucianism and in extended uses, the way to be followed, the right conduct; doctrine or method.

The earliest recorded usages were Tao (1736), Tau (1747), Taou (1831), and Dao (1971).

From original references to Chinese philosophy, the English word tao has generalized in usage, for instance, The Tao of Steve film.


In literal translation, the Chinese word "Tao" () is usually rendered in English as road, channel, path, way, doctrine, or line.[15] The word is commonly used metaphorically in philosophical and religious writings. Accord to Wing-tsit Chan, Tao means a (proper) system of morality for Confucianists, but the natural, eternal, spontaneous, indescribable way the universe and all it contains originated and continued for Taoists.[16] Hansen disagrees that these were separate meanings and attributes, seeing them as mutually inclusive and appropriate definitions in both traditions.[17] Tao is often associated with nature, due to the common belief that nature demonstrates Tao.[18] It is rarely an object of worship, being treated more like the Indian concepts of atman and dharma.[19]

Tao can be roughly stated to be the flow of the universe, or the force behind the natural order, equating it with the influence that keeps the universe balanced and ordered.[20] The flow of qi, as the essential energy of action and existence, is often compared to the universal order of Tao. Tao is often considered to be the source of both existence and non-existence. It is compared to what it is not, which according to Keller is similar to the negative theology of Western scholars.[21]

The Chinese character for "tao".

"Tao" may be used in Chinese as a noun, verb, or adjective, and its meaning can vary significantly depending on context. While Tao is often unavoidably referred to in the sense of the Tao in English, in that context the word is more properly considered a convenient and potentially misleading label for a universal, all-encompassing essence that has no true representation in language. The opening of the Tao Te Ching illustrates this point: "The Tao that can be spoken of is not the real Tao."[22]

Tao is deeply associated with wu ("void" or "nothingness"), including in the forms of wu wei and wu chi. This wu is not simple nothingness, but rather a formless and infinite potential. According to Ch'eng and Cheng, symbols and images of tao are intended to refer to the way that we relate to the Tao and the way the tao relates to the universe. They are not intended to speak of the Tao as itself. 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. It is viewed as a reflection of, or close in action, to Tao. Tao is often expressed a sea or flood that cannot be dammed or denied. It flows around and over obstacles like water, setting an example for those who wish to live in accord with it.[23]

As a concept and label

The ba gua, a symbol commonly used to represent the Tao and its pursuit.

Liu Da interprets the Tao Te Ching as distinguishing between the label "Tao" (the "named Tao") and the "real" Tao that cannot be spoken of (the "unnamed Tao").[notes 1] This suggests that the word "Tao" may be used to emphasize particular aspects of the broader (unnamed) Tao. Liu Da asserts that Tao is properly understood as a experiential and evolving concept. The I Ching, a text integral to both Taoism and Confucianism, supports these conclusions.[notes 2] Not only are there differences in the personal interpretation of Tao, but what people perceive in Tao is likely to be founded in their own character.[24]

The word "tao" (道) has a variety of meanings in ancient Chinese literature. Michael LaFargue posits that the word was not yet clearly defined and fixed when the Tao Te Ching was written. In the Tao Te Ching, it is used in a variety of ways across a spectrum of meanings that range from completely mundane and common ancient Chinese usage to relatively abstract and involved meanings specific to the followers of early Taoism. A common usage is a symbolic reference to its basic meaning of "road" or "way", indicating "the right way". This usage is shared among Taoists, Confucianists, and Buddhists in China. Tao also refers to the full coming into being of the spirit or mind. This can also be perceived as a state of enlightenment or the reaching of spiritual perfection. In a related meaning, the word is used to refer to the highest state of morality and good character. All of these labels relate the intellectual and spiritual paths and achievements of the faithful to the broader concept of Tao.[25]


Tao is associated with the complex concept of Te () "power; virtue; integrity", that is, the active expression of Tao.[26] Te is the active living, or cultivation, of that "way".[27]

Tao can be conceived as the primordial principle from which all existence arose and arises. An alternative interpretation of the same concept frames it as the universal tao being that which brings all things into being. In this context, Te is the essence of a thing or that which causes a thing to be that thing. It can also be said to be the true mind of a person or the purest being of a thing. Wu wei and "naturalness" are inclusive with the effortless following of one's Te.[28]

Differing interpretations of Tao and Te lead to intellectual and social conflict between Taoists and Confucianists. Taoism regarded social constructions and rigorous codes to be anathema to the pursuit of Tao. Confucianism emphasized the values of humaneness, righteousness, and codified behavior in relation to Te. Taoism rejected the Confucian view of Te. Taoists instead considered the Te to be beyond considerations of morality and aesthetics. The Taoist viewpoint critical of Confucian interpretations of Te is expressed as the rejection of extensive knowledge, powerful desires, and social artifice commonly found in Taoist scripture and writings. In some writings, such as the Tao Te Ching, those rejected factors are blamed for the loss and inhibition of mental and spiritual perfection among people.[29]

Taoist interpretations

[Tao] means a road, path, way; and hence, the way in which one does something; method, doctrine, principle. 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'. The Way of Man means, among other things, procreation; and eunuchs are said to be 'far from the Way of Man'. Chu Tao is 'the way to be a monarch', i.e. the art of ruling. Each school of philosophy has its tao, its doctrine of the way in which life should be ordered. Finally in a particular school of philosophy whose followers came to be called Taoists, tao meant 'the way the universe works'; and ultimately something very like God, in the more abstract and philosophical sense of that term.

The way and its power: a study of the Tao tê ching and its place in Chinese thought (Grove Press, 1958). ISBN 0802150853., Arthur Waley

The Tao is what gives Taoism its English name, in both its philosophical and religious forms. Tao is the fundamental and central concept of these schools of thought. Taoism perceives Tao as a natural order underlying the substance and activity of the universe. Language and the "naming" of Tao is regarded negatively within Taoism; the Tao fundamentally exists and operates outside the realm of differentiation and linguistic constraints.[30]

Diversity of views

There is no single orthodox Taoist view of Tao. All forms of Taoism center around Tao and Te, but there is a broad variety of distinct interpretations among sects and even individuals within the same sect. Despite this diversity, there are some clear, common patterns and trends within Taoism and its branches.[31]

The diversity of Taoist interpretations of Tao can be seen across four texts representative of major streams of thought within Taoism: Tao Te Ching, Tao T'i Lun, Ch'ing Ching Ching, and Zhuangzi (book) (often spelled Chuang Tzu). All four texts are used in modern Taoism with varying acceptance and emphasis among sects. Tao Te Ching is the oldest text and representative of a speculative and philosophical approach to the Tao. 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 devotional perspective of Tao is expressed in Ch'ing Ching Ching, a liturgical text that was original composed during the Song Dynasty and is used as a hymnal in religious Taoism, especially among eremites. Chuang Tzu uses literary devices such as tales, allegories, and narratives to relate the Tao to the reader, illustrating a metaphorical method of viewing and expressing the Tao.[32]

Religious Taoism

A Taoist monk practicing Chinese calligraphy with water on stone.

Like other world religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, religious Taoism is not a monolithic tradition or faith. The forms and variations of religious Taoism are incredibly diverse. They integrate a broad spectrum of academic, ritualistic, supernatural, devotional, literary, and folk practices with a multitude of results. Buddhism and Confucianism particularly affected the way many sects of Taoism framed, approached, and perceived the Tao. The multitudinous branches of religious Taoism accordingly regard the Tao, and interpret writings about it, in innumerable ways. Thus, outside of a few broad similarities, it is difficult to provide an accurate yet clear summary of their interpretation of Tao.[33]

A central tenet within most varieties of religious Taoism is that the Tao is ever-present, but must be manifested, cultivated, and/or perfected in order to be realized. It is the source of the universe and the seed of its primordial purity resides in all things. The manifestation of Tao is Te, which rectifies and invigorates the world with the Tao's radiance.[34]

Philosophical Taoism

Philosophical ("Classical") Taoism regards the Tao as a non-religious concept; it is a not a deity to be worshiped, nor is it a mystical Absolute in the religious sense of the Hindu Brahman. Joseph Wu remarked of this conception of Tao, "Tao is not religiously available; nor is it even religiously relevant." It is an inexplicable, inexpressible first cause that is easy to philosophically approach, but difficult to develop as a religious foundation. The writings of Lao Tzu and Chang Tzu are tinged with esoteric tones, but are fundamentally rooted in humanism and naturalism. This balance of mysticism and humanism has been noted by scholars. 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. The self steeped in Tao is the self grounded in its place within the natural universe. A person dwelling within the Tao excels in themselves and their activities.[35]

Confucian interpretations

The tao, or Way, of Confucius can be said to be 'Truth'. Confucianism regards the Way, or Truth, as concordant with a particular approach to life, politics, and tradition. It is held as equally necessary and well-regarded as te (virtue) and jen (humanity). Confucius presents a humanistic 'tao'. He only rarely speaks of the t'ien tao (Way of Heaven). An influential early Confucian, Hsiin Tzu, explicitly noted this contrast. Though he acknowledged the existence and celestial importance of the Way of Heaven, he insisted that the Tao principally concerns human affairs.[36]

As a formal religious concept in Confucianism, Tao is the Absolute towards which the faithful move. In Chung Yung, harmony with the Absolute is equivalent to integrity and sincerity. The Ta Hsueh expands on this concept explaining that the Way illuminates virtue, improves the people, and resides within the purest morality. During the Tang Dynasty, Han Yu further formalized and defined Confucian beliefs as an apologetic response to Buddhism. He emphasized the ethics of the Way. He explicitly paired 'tao' and 'te', focusing on humane nature and righteousness. He also framed and elaborated on a "tao t'ung" (tradition of the Way) in order to reject the traditions of Buddhism.[36]

Buddhist interpretations

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. Hundreds of collections of Pali and Sanskrit texts were translated into Chinese by Buddhist monks within a short period of time. Dhyana was translated as ch'an (and later as zen), giving Zen Buddhism its name. The use of Chinese concepts, such as Tao, that were close to Buddhist ideas and terms helped spread the religion and make it more amenable to the Chinese people. However, the differences between the Sanskrit and Chinese terminology lead to some initial misunderstandings and the eventual development of East Asian Buddhism as a distinct entity. As part of this process, many Chinese words introduced their rich semantic and philosophical associations into Buddhism, including the use of 'Tao' for central concepts and tenets of Buddhism.[37]

Pai-chang Huai-hai told a student who was grappling with difficult portions of suttas, "Take up words in order to manifest meaning and you'll obtain 'meaning'. Cut off words and meaning is emptiness. Emptiness is the Tao. The Tao is cutting off words and speech." Ch'an (Zen) Buddhists regard the Tao as synonymous with both the Buddhist Path (marga) and the results of it; the Eightfold Path and Buddhist enlightenment (satori). Pai-chang's statement plays upon this usage in the context of the fluid and varied Chinese usage of 'tao'. Words and meaning are used to refer to rituals and practice. The 'emptiness' refers to the Buddhist concept of sunyata. Finding the Tao and Buddha-nature is not simply a matter a formulations, but an active response to the Four Noble Truths that cannot be fully expressed or conveyed in words and concrete associations. The use of 'tao' in this context refers to the literal 'way' of Buddhism, the return to the universal source, dharma, proper meditation, and nirvana, among other associations. 'Tao' is commonly used in this fashion by Chinese Buddhists, heavy with associations and nuanced meanings.[38]

Neo-Confucian interpretations

During the Sung Dynasty, Neo-Confucians regarded Tao as the purest thing-in-itself. Shao Yung regarded the Tao as the origin of heaven, earth, and everything within them. In contrast, Chang Tsai presented a vitalistic Tao that was the fundamental component or effect of ch'i, the motive energy behind life and the world. A number of later scholars adopted this interpretation, such as Tai Chen during the Qing Dynasty.[36]

Chu Hsi, Cheng Ho, and Cheng Yi perceived the Tao in the context of li (Principle) and t'ien li (the Principle of Heaven). Ch'eng Hao regarded the fundamental matter of li, and thus Tao, to be humaneness. Developing compassion, altruism, and other humane virtues is the following of the Way. Ch'eng I followed this interpretation, elaborating on this perspective of Tao through teachings about yin-yang interactions, the cultivation and preservation of life; and the axiom of a morally just universe.[36]

In total, the Tao is equated with the Absolute. Wang Fu-chih expressed the Tao as the tai chi, The Great Ultimate, as well as the road leading to it. Nothing exists apart from the Principle of Heaven in Neo-Confucianism. The Way is contained within all things. Thus, the religious life is not an elite or special journey for Neo-Confucians. The normal, mundane life is the path that leads to the Absolute, because the Absolute is contained within the mundane objects and events of daily life.[36]

See also


  1. ^ Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1. "It is from the unnamed Tao
    That Heaven and Earth sprang;
    The named is but
    The Mother of the ten thousand creatures."
  2. ^ I Ching, Ta Chuan (Great Treatise). "The kind man discovers it and calls it kind;
    the wise man discovers it and calls it wise;
    the common people use it every day
    and are not aware of it."


  1. ^ Boodberg (1957), p. 599
  2. ^ 1.5 and 2.8, tr. Lau (1979), p. 59 and p. 63.
  3. ^ Karlgren (1957).
  4. ^ Zhou (1972).
  5. ^ Pulleyblank (1991).
  6. ^ Baxter (1992).
  7. ^ Schuessler (2007).
  8. ^ Li (1971).
  9. ^ Hanyu Da Zidian 漢語大字典 (1989), pp. 3864-3866.
  10. ^ DeFrancis (2007), pp. 172, 829.
  11. ^ Boodberg (1957), p. 602.
  12. ^ Mair (1990), p. 132.
  13. ^ Schuessler (2007), p. 207
  14. ^ Schuessler (2007), p. 48 and 41.
  15. ^ DeFrancis (1996) p. 113
  16. ^ Chan (1963) p. 136
  17. ^ Hansen (2000), p. 206.
  18. ^ Martinson (1987), pp. 168–169.
  19. ^ LaFargue (1994) p. 283.
  20. ^ Cane (2002), p. 13.
  21. ^ Keller (2003), p. 289.
  22. ^ Liu (1981), pp. 1-3.
  23. ^ Ch'eng and Cheng (1991), pp. 175-77.
  24. ^ Liu (1981), pp. 2-3.
  25. ^ LaFargue (1992), pp. 245-47.
  26. ^ Sharot (2001), pp. 77–78, 88.
  27. ^ Maspero (1981), p. 32.
  28. ^ Bodde & Fung (1997), pp. 99-101.
  29. ^ Bodde & Fung (1997), pp. 100-02.
  30. ^ Kohn (1993), p. 11.
  31. ^ Kohn (1993), p. 11-12.
  32. ^ Kohn (1993), p. 12.
  33. ^ Fowler (2005), pp. 5-7.
  34. ^ Kohn (1993), pp. 11-12.
  35. ^ Fowler (2005), p. 5-6.
  36. ^ a b c d e Taylor & Choy (2005), p. 589.
  37. ^ Dumoulin (2005), pp. 63-65.
  38. ^ Hershock (1996), pp. 67-70.


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  • Fowler, Jeaneane. An introduction to the philosophy and religion of Taoism: pathways to immortality (Sussex Academic Press, 2005). ISBN 1845190858.
  • Hansen, Chad D. A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought: A Philosophical Interpretation (Oxford University Press, 2000). ISBN 0195134192.
  • Hershock, Peter. Liberating intimacy: enlightenment and social virtuosity in Ch'an Buddhism (SUNY Press, 1996). ISBN 0791429814.
  • Karlgren, Bernhard. Grammata Serica Recensa (Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 1957).
  • Keller, Catherine. The Face of the Deep: A Theology of Becoming (Routledge, 2003). ISBN 0415256488.
  • Kohn, Livia. The Taoist experience (SUNY Press, 1993). ISBN 0791415791.
  • LaFargue, Michael. Tao and Method: A Reasoned Approach to the Tao Te Ching (SUNY Press, 1994) ISBN 0791416011.
  • LaFargue, Michael. The tao of the Tao te ching: a translation and commentary (SUNY Press, 1992). ISBN 0791409864.
  • Lau, D. C., tr. The Analects (Lun yu), (Penguin, 1979).
  • Li Fanggui 李方桂. Shanggu yin yanjiu 上古音研究 (Tsinghua Journal of Chinese Studies 1971, 9:1-61). (Chinese)
  • Liu, Da. The Tao and Chinese culture (Taylor & Francis, 1981). ISBN 0710008414.
  • Mair, Victor H. Tao Te Ching: The Classic Book of Integrity and the Way, by Lao Tzu; an entirely new translation based on the recently discovered Ma-wang-tui manuscripts (Bantam Books, 1990).
  • Martinson, Paul Varo. A theology of world religions: Interpreting God, self, and world in Semitic, Indian, and Chinese thought (Augsburg Publishing House, 1987). ISBN 0806622539.
  • Maspero, Henri. Translated by Frank A. Kierman, Jr. Taoism and Chinese Religion (University of Massachusetts Press, 1981). ISBN 0870233084.
  • Pulleyblank, E.G. "Lexicon of Reconstructed Pronunciation in Early Middle Chinese, Late Middle Chinese, and Early Mandarin" (UBC Press, 1991).
  • Schuessler, Axel. ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese] (University of Hawaii Press, 2007).
  • Sharot, Stephen. A Comparative Sociology of World Religions: virtuosos, priests, and popular religion (New York: NYU Press, 2001). ISBN 0814798055.
  • Taylor, Rodney Leon & Choy, Howard Yuen Fung. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Confucianism: N-Z, Volume 2 of The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Confucianism (Rosen Publishing Group, 2005). ISBN 0823940810.
  • Zhou Fagao 周法高 . "Shanggu Hanyu he Han-Zangyu 上古漢語和漢藏語" (Journal of the Institute of Chinese Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong 1972 5:159-244). (Chinese)

Further reading

  • Chang, Dr. Stephen T. The Great Tao. Tao Publishing, imprint of Tao Longevity LLC. 1985. ISBN 0-942196-01-5.
  • Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English (translators). 1972. Lao Tsu/Tao Te Ching. New York: Vintage Books.
  • Robinet, Isabelle. Taoism: Growth of a Religion (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997 [original French 1992]) page 14,20. ISBN 0-8047-2839-9.

Simple English

Chinese name
Japanese name
Hiragana: 1. とう
2. どう
3. みち
Korean name
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese: Đạo

Tao (, Pinyin Dào ) is a metaphysical concept found in Taoism, Confucianism, and more often in ancient Chinese philosophy. The Chinese character translates as "way," "path," or "route,". In Taoism, Tao began before and means the whole universe.

Simple English Wiktionary has the word meaning for:

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