Title: Akrishi's Home of Taoist Classics 

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Introduction to Taoism
     When we mention the word "taoism", actually we are talking about three different but closely related aspects. They are:
     1) Taoism as a philosophy of life;
     2) Taoism as Chinese alchemy; and
     3) Taoism as a traditional religion of China.

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     As a philosophy of life, Taoism is known to the West as a principal Chinese philosophy based on the teachings of Lao-tzu (6th century - 4th century B.C.) and Chuang-tzu (370-300 B.C.). But actually, the concept of Tao can be traced back to Huangdi , the Yellow Emperor (2697? - 2599? B.C.) and the earliest writings of ancient China. It is a way of living life in harmony with Nature which is actually man's innate nature, and is also closely related to the concept of "Heaven-Man-Union" .
     Just as Confucius said, "Tao is not far from man" , and also in "I-Ching", "The common people use it daily without knowing" .   Tao is built-in newborn babies (but most people lost it when their egos become fully developed) [NB. See "Tao Teh Ching" ch. 55 ] and is also the source of creativity for those talented.
     The "Tao Teh Ching" as written by Lao-tzu is the first and the most authoritative Chinese text that systematically presents the concept of Tao and its gaining (Teh). Thus it becomes the principal text of Taoism.

  Besides being a philosophy of life, Tao has found its application in Chinese alchemy - the goal of which is to achieve longevity, immortality and finally ascension (to become celestial immortals) through the cultivation of the elixir.   While still honouring Lao-tzu and the "Tao Teh Ching" as their patriarch and principal text, the knack of this has been passed on mainly by word of mouth through lineages of Taoist masters or by writings and poems in secret jargons. Here is my introduction to Chinese Alchemy and a list of known Chinese Alchemy schools lineages.

     Finally, to most Chinese, Taoism is an indigenous polytheistic religion, in which Lao-tzu is worshipped as the "Supreme Old Master" - one of the three principal deities of Taoism. Also, many historical ascended immortals are worshipped as gods in the religion of Taoism.
     Associated with the religion of Taoism is a series of beliefs, religious activities, rituals, theurgies, etc. which have already become part of the traditional Chinese culture. [See Taoist Culture and Information Centre webpage for more details.]

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     My expertise in Taoism is mainly in the knowledge of Tao, "Heaven-Man-Union" and Chinese alchemy.   And in Chinese alchemy, I am only familiar with the cultivation of the golden elixir. Although I do have experience and success in cultivating the inner elixir some years ago while practising Qigong, I do not claim to be an expert in this field.   As for the religion of Taoism, my knowledge is only up to what I have come to know being brought up in a traditional Chinese society.
     Since I started the translation of the "Tao Teh Ching" in Jan 2000, I have been working on the translation of a few Taoist classics which I consider as orthodox pre-heavenly Taoist approach. And with this web page, I hope to share this profound knowledge of Tao with people all over the world.
Akrishi, 2007/1/27 (revised 2007/2/23)

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