Taoism is a local religion in China, with “Tao” as its supreme belief. On the concept of worshiping ghosts and gods in ancient China, Taoism took Huang and Lao’s Taoism as its theoretical basis and inherited the development of immortal occult techniques since the Warring States Period. At the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty, a large number of Taoist organizations appeared, with the famous Taiping Dao and Wudoumi Dao. Zhang Daoling, officially founded the organization, which has a history of 1800 years. Taoism is a multi-god worship. The gods worshipped are the personification of Taoism’s belief in Tao. Taoist priests are clergymen of Taoism, and there are more than 30,000 Taoist priests living in the country. Taoist temple is a place for Taoist activities. There are more than 2,000 registered Taoist temples throughout the country.

History of Taoism

Taoism shares the same breath and destiny with the Chinese nation, and the history of Taoism is closely connected with the history of China.

Laozi is traditionally regarded as one of the founders of Taoism and is closely associated in this context with “original” or “primordial” Taoism. His work Tao Te Ching is dated to the late 4th century BCE. In the mid-Warring States Period, the Taoism of Huanglao, which respected Huangdi and Laozi, was flourishing in Qi State. In the early Western Han Dynasty, the rulers respected the doctrine of Huanglao Taoism that doing nothing that goes against nature. 

During the Southern and Northern Dynasties, there was a fierce confrontation between the foreign Buddhism and the native Taoism. The Sui Dynasty is giving equal attention to Buddhism and Taoism when it was a turning point in the development of Taoism. In the Tang Dynasty, Lao Tzu was respected as the ancestor and Taoism as the national religion. Measures were taken to vigorously promote Taoism and improve the status of Taoist priests.

After the unification of the whole country, the Qing Dynasty accepted Buddhism and adopted a strict policy of prevention and suppression against Taoism. After the Opium War, the country lagged behind and weakened, and Taoism was declining day by day. After the founding of New China, people’s freedom of religious belief was guaranteed in law and policy. In 1957, the Chinese Taoist Association was founded in Baiyun Guan, Beijing, the ancestral temple of Quanzhen Longmen School. For the first time, Taoism had a unified national organization.

Doctrines of Taoism

Taoism tends to emphasize the various themes of Tao Te Ching and Zhuang zi, such as nature, spontaneity, simplicity, freedom from desire, and most importantly, inaction. Tao literally means “way”, but it can also be interpreted as road, passage, path, doctrine or line. In Taoism, it is “a person, who is natural, spontaneous, eternal, nameless and indescribable. It is not only the beginning of everything, but also the way in which everything pursues its process.


Wu-wei constitutes the leading ethical concept in Taoism. Wu refers to any intentional or intentional act, while it has the meaning of “no” or “lack”. Common translations are “inaction”, “effortless action” or “action without intention”. Taoist philosophy, in accordance with the I Ching, proposes that the universe works harmoniously according to its own ways. Taoism does not regard one’s will as the fundamental problem.Instead, it asserts that man must reconcile his will with the natural universe.


Nature is regarded as the core value of Taoism, which describes the “original state” of all things and the basic characteristics of Tao, usually associated with spontaneity and creativity. In order to acquire Ziran, one must agree with Tao, which involves freeing oneself from selfishness and desire and enjoying simplicity.

Three Treasures

The basic virtues of ci(compassion), jian(moderation), and bugan wei tianxia xian(humility) are the three treasures of Taoism. The Three Treasures can also refer to jing(精), qi(气) and shen(神), which are elements of the traditional Chinese concept of the human body, which shares its cosmological foundation—Yinyangism or the Naturalists—with Taoism. 

Famous Taoist Mountains in China

 Area Mountains
 The Five Mountains of China Mount Tai(泰山), Mount Huashan(华山), Mount Hengshan(衡山), Mount Hengshan(恒山), Mount Songshan(嵩山)
 Three Fulu Mountains Mount Mao in Jiangsu(江苏茅山), Mount Longhu in Jiangxi(江西龙虎山), Mount Gezao in Jiangxi(江西阁皂山)
 Four Famous Mountains Mount Longhu in Jiangxi(江西龙虎山), Mount Qingcheng in Sichuan(四川青城山), Mount Wudang in Hubei(湖北武当山), Mount Qiyun in Anhui(安徽齐云山)
 Northeast Mount Songfeng in Heilongjiang(黑龙江松峰山), Mount Qianshan in Liaoning(辽宁千山), Mount Tieshan in Liaoning(辽宁铁刹山)
 North China Mount Shenlian in Beijing(北京圣莲山), Mount Miaofeng in Beijing(北京妙峰山), Mount Yahuan in Beijing(北京丫髻山), Mount Mianshan in Shanxi(山西绵山), Mount North Wudang in Shanxi(山西北武当山), Mount Zhangguolao in Hebei(河北张果老山), Mount Gu Wudang in Hebei(河北古武当山)
 Northwest Mount Zhongnan in Shaanxi(陕西终南山), Mount Baiyun in Shaanxi(陕西白云山), Mount Kongtong in Gansu(甘肃崆峒山), Mountain Tianshan in Xinjiang(新疆天山), Mount Kunlun in Qinghai(青海昆仑山)
 East China Mount Qionglong in Suzhou(苏州穹窿山), Mount Yuhuang in Hangzhou(杭州玉皇山), Mount Laoshan in Shandong(山东崂山), Mount Kunyu in Shandong(山东昆嵛山), Mount Lu in Jiangxi(江西庐山), Mount Sanxing in Shangrao(上饶三清山), Mount Huang in Anhui(安徽黄山), Mount Tianzhu in Anhui(安徽天柱山), Mount Bagong in Huainan(淮南八公山), Mount Tiantai in Taizhou(台州天台山), Mount Guiji in Shaoxing(绍兴会稽山), Mount Yandang in Wenzhou(温州雁荡山), Mount Wuyi in Fujian(福建武夷山), Mount Qingyuan in Quanzhou(泉州清源山)
 South Central China Mount Wangwu in Henan(河南王屋山), Mount Laojun in Luoyang(洛阳老君山), Mount Wuduo in Nanyang(南阳五朵山), Mount Zhenwu in Xiangyang(襄阳真武山), Mount Jiugong in Xianning(咸宁九宫山), Mount Middle Wudang in Changyang(长阳中武当山), Mount South Wudang in Changyang(英山南武当山), Mount Wulei in Hunan(湖南五雷山), Mount Luofu in Guangdong(广东罗浮山), Mount Xiqiao in Nanhai(南海西樵山), Mount Wenbi in Hainan(海南文笔峰)
 Southwest Mount Laojun in Xinjin(新津老君山), Mount Zhenwu in Yibin(宜宾真武山), Mount Weibao in Dali(大理巍宝山), Mount Yunfeng in Tengchong(腾冲云峰山)

Famous Taoist Temples in China

  • White Cloud Taoist Temple in Beijing(北京白云观)
  • Yongle Palace in Ruicheng(芮城永乐宫)
  • Chongyang Palace in Huxian County(户县重阳宫)
  • Shenqing Temple in Yantai(烟台神清观)
  • Maoshan Temple in Jurong(句容茅山道院)

Discover Daoism in China with Us

In China, there are more than 9,000 Taoist temples , more than 50,000 priests and nuns, and five Taoist schools. The number of believers is numerous and difficult to count. If you are interested in Chinese Daoism, please contact our consultant to get a deeper understanding of Daoism and make the private China culture tour.

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