World Religion
The History of Taoism

The History of Taoism
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.19

     challenging words:    corruption, mystical, philosophy, weakness, nuns, temples, embrace, negative, spat, believers, portion, status, prophet, beauty, concept, dynasty
     content words:    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, On Lao, Te Ching, Hundred Schools, Chuang Tzu, To Taoists

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The History of Taoism
By Colleen Messina

1     Taoism is a major world religion that started long ago in China. Many believe that it started in the sixth century B.C. with a philosopher named Lao Tzu. He wrote down his teachings in a famous book called the Tao Te Ching, but no one knows whether Lao Tzu was real or not!
2     Legends say that Lao Tzu became disillusioned with the war, violence, and corruption in China, and he decided to leave. On Lao Tzu's way out of China, a guard would not let the old man go until Lao Tzu wrote down his teachings. Lao Tzu then wrote down the Tao Te Ching, which became the sacred book of Taoism. He rode off on a water buffalo, and no one ever saw him again.
3     Lao Tzu never intended to create a new religion. He didn't want to be a prophet or a leader. However, the people of China loved his teachings. After a while, ideas from his writings combined with the ancient customs of Chinese folk religions. Taoism began to include beliefs in gods, goddesses, dragons, and magicians. The common people added spells and charms, and the worship of ancestors as well.

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