Tao Jia and Taoism

Written by Cai Wen Yu

Tao Jia was founded by Lao Tse and Zhaung Zi. Several families of Chinese tradition consider Lao Tse to be Tao Jia himself.

One must not mistake Tao Jia with Tao Jiao. Tao Jiao is the Taoist religion and Tao Jia is the Taoist philosophy. Today many people practice Tao Jia and Tao Jiao, but can't tell them apart. For instance, people think they are training Tao Jia Qi Gong, but they are actually training Tao Jiao Qi Gong.

The theory of Tao Jia is the philosophy that leads the body and the mind, and that leads countries and armies.

At the beginning of the Han dynasty, the theory of the Yellow Emperor joined Lao Tse's Tao Jia, being then called "Huang Lao Zhi Tao" (Huang = Yellow Emperor) (Lao = Lao Tse) (Gi Tao = Do Tao).

Huang Lao Zhi Tao was the main line of thought that guided the Han dynasty, and it was also very important for the politics of the time.

During the times of the Han dynasty, Emperor Han Wu Di used only Confucius' philosophy to rule, leaving aside Lao Tse's concepts.

This attitude had serious consequences, for the philosophers who were aides to the rulers and were members of Lao Tse's family were replaced by philosophers of Confucius' family, and many of them had no other choice but to become hermits.

Lao Tse's theories were used to help in politics, and when the philosophers saw themselves no longer useful for the government and became hermits, they began using these theories to achieve longevity, practicing what is now called Qi Gong, previously known as Tao Yin

In that time, many philosophers became hermits and moved to the mountains. They influenced many people with their philosophies, but they did not form religious associations.

At the end of Han dynasty, Zhang Ling was the first to found Wu Dou Mi Tao. He used as sacred book of Taoism the book Lao Tse Wu Qian Wen. He was the first to say that Lao Tse was the founder of the Taoist religion and he called him Tai Shang Lao Jing.

At the same time, there was a philosopher called Zhang Jiao. He founded Tai Ping Tao, and he also said that Lao Tse was the founder of his religion.

The result of that was the flourishing of Taoism throughout China. Thus the religion of Taoism came into being.

Later, during Tan Dynasty, the emperors claimed to be descendants of Lao Tse, for they had the same surname.

In human history, politics, philosophy, and religion were always interlocked, but they also always created conflict.

The Taoism we know today is that of Taoist religion, not the Taoist philosophy, just as the Lao Tse we know is the one described by the religion, and not the philosopher.

.To define in how many factions the Taoist religion is divided, one must analyze their content. Once that's done, one can say it's divided in two factions: a symbolist one and one that seeks longevity.

The symbolist faction has six families:

1- Zheng Yi Family: its founder was Zheng Ling great-grandson. The principle of its training was eating the air.

2- Shang Qing Family: its founder was Wei Hua Cun. Its training was fasting and massages.

3- Ling Pao Family: its founder was Ge Xuan. Its training was the same of Shang Qing family.

4- Qing Wei Family: it was founded during the Tan dynasty and was very popular in China until the YUan dynasty. Its training consisted of developing Dan Tian in a very peculiar way that only that family knew. That was the first Taoist family to settle at Wu Dang mountains.

5- Shen Xiao Famly: its founder was Wang Wen Qing. Its training system was feeling the universe. This system was largely practiced by the lower classes.

6- Jing Ming Family: its founder was Xu Xung. They were the one who began joining Lao Tse's and Confucius' philosophies.

The faction that seeks longevity has seven families:

1- Southern Family: its founder was Zhang Bo Duan. They trained the art of sex to improve their energy and prolong their life.

2- Northern Family: its founder was Wang Chong Yang and he has seven great disciples who formed the seven great families:

1) Qiu Chu Ji - Long Men family

2) Ma Yu -Yu Shan family

3) Tan Chu Duan -Nan Wu family

4) Liu Chu Xuan -Sui Shan family

5) Wang Chu Yi -Yi Shan family

6) Hao Da Tong -Hua Shan family

7) Sun Bu Ar -Qing Jing family

These seven masters were the first to join Taoism and Buddhism.

Their main training was Nei Dan, which is very important for the Taoist Qi Gong. (We will explain what is Nei Dan in another article)

3- Center Family: its founder was Li Tao Chun. Its training also consisted in developing Nei Dan.

4- Western Family: its founder was Li Xi Yue. He was a disciple of Zhang San Feng and Lü Dong Bin. Its training consisted of practicing sex to obtain energy and achieve longevity.

5- Eastern Family: its founder was Lu Xi Xing. Its training consisted in developing Nei Dan as well.

6- Lao Hua Shan Family - its founder was Chen Chuan.

7- Zhang San Feng Family - its founder was Zhang Sang Feng himself. Its main training was developing Nei Dan, but its philosophy was more profound.

The Taoist religion is very different from other religions. Its goal is self-knowledge and the search for longevity, and not worshiping and making offerings to the gods

Taoism is the theory and practice of many people who seek self-knowledge, and who have connected themselves with the universe and nature. It managed to survive through oral tradition for thousands of years, leaving us teachings and the result of enriching experiences.

Contato: Mestre Cai Wen Yu - (11) 7512-1842