Daoism is the Pinyin transliteration Taoism was the earlier Wade-Giles transcription of the same word.
The sacred rituals are called li. They are essential because the ancestors will help their descendents, if treated with proper respect, or cause trouble if ignored.
They beleive in nature spirits such as plants, animals, rivers, stones, mountains, stars, all parts of the natural world are vitalized by cosmic energy personified and honored as deities.
Shangdi (Shang Ti) is the Lord-on-High, ruler of the universe, the supreme ancestor of the Chinese. He was a spiritual being. Deities governing aspects of the cosmos and the local enviroment are subordinate to him. This deity is conceived as masculine and closely involved in human affairs, but not a creator God.
qi (ch'i) is a belief that the cosmos is a manifestation of an impersonal sel generating energy which is called qi. This force has two aspects whose interplay causes the ever changing phenomena of the Universe. Yin is the dark, receptive, "female" aspect: Yang is the bright, assertive, "male" aspect. Wisdon lies in recognizing their ever shifting but regular and balanced, patterns and moving with them. This creative rhtym of the universe is called the Dao (Tao) or "way".
Yijing ( I Ching) or the Book pf Changes" it is a common source for both Daoism and Confucianism and is regarded as a classic text in both traditions. The more mystically religious ways, which are collectively called Daoism, and the more political and moral ways, which are known as Confucianism. Like yin and yang, they interpenetrate and complement each other, and are themselves evolving dynamically.
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