INFLUENCE IN SOCIETY
Taoism’s influence is China is particularly significant; with 30% of citizens identifying as a Taoist (or follower of another folk religion.)
Worldwide, only 6.4% of people identify with Taoisms. From this it can be seen that Taoism’s influence on larger societies is not as great.
Taoism as a whole has had the greatest impact on the people of China, however, all over the world people have and continue to adopt Taoism’s simplistic approach to life and relaxed nature.
In further communities, like that of the world, Taoism influences the way we act, the way we see our environment and many things we do for our wellbeing. Some examples include:
· Qigong (a Taoist breathing technique) is adopted all over the world in medicine and numerous types of therapies.
o In combination with acupuncture, Qigong is the most important Chinese medicine therapy.
o “Qigong gently stretches and massages muscles and tendons and promotes circulation through joints and tissues with a very sophisticated and scientific pumping flowing motion. The more relaxed and focused on the body the greater the blood circulation effects you will get. The more focused and relaxed you are the more your mind becomes calm and strong.” (http://www.qigong.org)
· The concept of Yin and Yang originated from Taoist teachings and is known and used all over the world, particularly in martial arts, the homosexual community and in the New Age Movement.
· The concept of ‘Tao’ encourages believers to keep their universe stable. It symbolises harmony and encourages peace and tranquility as well as ‘moderating tensions between love and hate.’
· As Taoism is considered to be a philosophy, it is taught in some university philosophy, and religion courses. It is also taught in some high schools across the world.
· The concept of peace, while not originating in Taoism, is key to being at one with the Tao… so when society speaks of peace or ceasing warfare, they are conforming to a Taoist principle.
Evidently, those who are informed about Taoism, realise the affect it has on their lives and society, however those ignorant to its origins and symbolic nature don’t realise its full impact on their lives (like Yin and Yang & Qigong having Taoist origins.)