Have you heard of the Yellow Turban Taoist Revolution? Or how about the Taoist Republic that lasted for 30 years? Did you know that Taoism has experienced a remarkable come-back from a poultry 400 priests in the 1960's to over 26.000 today? (Most make a living these days as Twitter Gurus). Read more on why Taoism tattoos are finally back in fashion...
Taoism is a much abused term in these culturally and socially confused times. It is thrown about in conversation, interchangeably with concepts such as "yield", "adaptation", "flow", "balance"and of course "yin and yang". East as it appears, not only met West, but got lost in the process. Meanings disappear as we apply our overly analytical minds to endless debates on spelling and pronunciation rather than practicality and purpose.
Me? Of Course I'm a Taoist. Haven't you seen my buttock?
Meanwhile, images and icons percolate down into popular culture: Who doesn't today sport a yin-yang tattoo on their shoulder or a portrait of Lao Tzu on their buttock? Who hasn't heard Bruce Lee's water flow speech and proudly shared it on their friends Facebook timeline? Who hasn't a copy of the Tao Te Ching sitting unread on the floor of their bathroom?
Yet for many of us, our culture has - and continues to - re-define these terms in the act of embracing them. So it can be useful for those of us interested in the original ideas to go back every now and then and look at what these terms meant and will mean in the future as our cultural reference points become increasingly blurred.
The Taoist Podcast
Taoism - perhaps the single most important body of thought behind many of the chinese martial arts - had its roots in another world altogether. Listen in to the podcast by Melvin Bragg from the BBC who is joined by Tim Barrett (Professor of East Asian History at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) Martin Palmer (Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture) and Hilde De Weerdt (Fellow and Tutor in Chinese History at Pembroke College, University of Oxford)
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