Taoism is considered as an important part of three religions of Vietnam: Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. People believe that Taoism was founded by Lao Tseu, who is a Chinese Contemporary of Confucius from 604 to 531 B.C. He did spend his life on searching for a way that would avoid the constant feudal warfare and conflicts that disrupted society during his lifetime. The result was his book entitled Dao Duc Kinh (The book of Morality).
Therefore, Taoism is the natural mode of behavior, the best way to acquire perfection in relation to the natural world which surrounds man. Submission to the laws of nature is taught since this encourages virtues such as gentleness, peacefulness, serenity and resignation to “unchangeable fates”. The ritual of Taoism in Vietnam today consists of religion-magical features, divining, worship of the spirits of nature, and so forth.
The most common graphic representation of Taoist theology is the circular Yin Yang figure, with black representing yin and white presenting yang. It represents the balance of opposites in the universe. No quality is independent of its opposite, nor pure. This principle applies to all elements of existence – from nature to a particular individual. Social disturbance, natural disasters, personal illness, unsettled family relationships and so on are the results of an imbalance between the forces of Yin and Yang.
Taoists believe that nature and the earth is constantly in flux. Simply, the only constant in the world is change. When individuals learn that growth and movement are natural and necessary, they can become balanced. Reality is perpetual change. Taoism insists on harmony with and submission to nature, its inherent drive is the repression of a willingness to exploit nature, to take risks or to gamble for distant goals if success is not obvious. Therefore, to some extent, Taoism seems to discourage the willingness to engage in combat with either nature or man. Like some aspects of Buddhism, it seems to have overtones of pessimism and a negative attitude toward attempts to change drastically the life patterns. Visit Vietnam with Indochina tours
While having only a limited formal organization in Vietnam today, the concepts of Taoism are in evidence in the daily life cycle of ethnic Vietnamese, whether they be dwellers of the cities or peasants tilling the rice-paddies. Through our country, you can see so many images of the Gods of Taoism to be worshipped in temples and pagodas. Travel to Vietnam, you may be puzzled by a small mirrored octagonal disc, with the Yin Yang and other symbols, fixed above the door of most houses and small shops. According to the Vietnamese people, it plays an important role in preventing wandering spirits or ghosts.
The Indochina Voyages team.