Q:

What is the holy book of Taoism?

A:

Quick Answer

The primary scripture of Taoism is the "Tao Te Ching," which is also sometimes called the "Laozi" after its purported author, Lao Tzu. However, Taoists also venerate many other works, including the "Zhuangzi" and the "Liezi," authored by Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu respectively. The term "tzu," or "zi," roughly translates to "master."

Know More
What is the holy book of Taoism?
Credit: Andrea Pistolesi The Image Bank Getty Images

Full Answer

According to legend, Lao Tzu was traveling out of China in the sixth century B.C. when a guard at the Great Wall asked him to relay his wisdom for the ages. Master Lao dictated the entirety of the "Tao Te Ching" to this guard, and it was passed down through history. Most modern Taoist scholars believe Lao Tzu was an invented character, and the book simply represents a collection of the wisdom of the earliest Taoist sages.

While the "Tao Te Ching" is considered Taoist scripture, it is not venerated to the extent that holy books in Western religions are. The book opens with an admonition that "the Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao," meaning that the wisdom described in the book is only a pale shadow of the true path. The text is filled with duality and paradox, and the classical Chinese in which the original text is written is notoriously difficult to translate. With no punctuation marks, the meanings of specific passages can be altered by the translator, leading to many different versions of the text.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is the name of the Sikh's holy book?

    A:

    The holy book of the Sikh religion is the Guru Granth Sahib. Originally, the religion relied on the teaching of living gurus. The 10th guru, Gobind Singh, declared that he would have no living successor, and this collection of teachings would become the ultimate guru for the Sikh.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the holy book of Buddhism?

    A:

    The Buddhist holy book is known as the Tipitaka. The Buddha’s teachings were preserved in the Pali Canon, which acts as an extensive analytical record written in Pali, the Buddha’s native dialect. Pali is considered the classical language of Buddhism, and the documents preserved in Pali make up the Tipitaka as well as other Buddhist documents such as the Atthakatha, Tika, Anu-tika and Madhu-tika.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the holy book of Judaism?

    A:

    The primary holy book of the Jewish faith is known as the Torah, which comprises the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; these are also the first five books of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, although "Old Testament" is not a term that followers of the Jewish faith typically apply to the Torah. The Torah can also be known as the Pentateuch, and it is accompanied by holy texts such as the Talmud, an authoritative book of biblical interpretations and Jewish oral traditions. According to Jewish religious tradition, God gave the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the Hindu holy book called?

    A:

    Hindu scripture is not limited to a single book in the same way as other world faiths; however, the four Vedas may be considered the main, or at least the original and most authoritative "holy books." Otherwise, the Hindu faith is informed by a series of texts, each categorized as either "Shruti" (Revelation, that which is heard) or "Smriti" (Human Composition or Tradition, that which is remembered).

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore