The ‘god’ in this religion is referred to as the Tao. The Taoists do not refer to the Tao as a god and he is not worshipped, he is simply the ultimate creative principle of the universe. The Tao is not a thing; it cannot be perceived but can be observed in worldly things, it is only glimpsed through effects. It gives rise to all beings but is not a being itself, and is only a system of guidance.
Firstly, Taoism originated in China more than 2000 years ago. It emerged from a rich shamanic tradition that existed in China since the Ice Age. These Shamans were healers and diviners, they also had power over the elements, they could travel the sky, have conversations with wild animals and they also had the knowledge of the use of plants. One of the shamans, whose name was King Fu Hsi, lived in 2,800 BCE. He was the first to construct a system to help express and understand the underlying structure of the universe. This system was a forerunner to tri-grams of I Ching - Classic of Change which is an enduring tool of divination.
Academics in the modern day consider King Fu Hsi to be mythical due to the fanciful stories that surrounded him. However, the Taoist tradition has a strong lineage and knowledge of King Fu Hsi that is passed down from generation to generation – which is unbroken to this day and has been passed down for centuries. These Taoists know that he existed and they do recognize the role he played in the formation of the religion “Taoism.”
The next shaman is Yu, who was born in 2,070 BCE. He was given the responsibility of saving people from rising flood waters by King Shun. He was not the first one to be given this responsibility. Many were given this responsibility before he was, even his father, and they all failed. Yu – who was guided, not only saved the people from disaster but he also led to its future prosperity. He revealed the universes nature of continuous flux. He did such a great job at his responsibility that when Shun died Yu became king. Shaman King Wen, who was born in 1,100 BCE, took both of the systems of divination and produced the sixty-four hexagons.
In the following centuries after finding these kings the powerful cities – which were led by feudal kings, began to compete with each other. They kept defeating one another and it grew into one city which just grew and grew until Ch’in triumphed over its rivals and united the warring states, calling them China. During the war period, the kings who were once shamans relied on the wisdom of advisers. Some of these advisers were motivated by money; the others were motivated by a genuine belief in need for a better way. They travelled from state to state…