Chinese Religion: Taoism

Russell Kirkland

in Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571390
Published online August 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665037 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbook in Public Health

Chinese Religion: Taoism

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  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Palliative Medicine


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China's Taoists, down to the present, are — by tradition and temperament alike — men and women who acknowledge the true value of all aspects of human life. Models that focus on the individual are complemented by acknowledgment of the importance not only of human society, but even of non-human creatures, and models that focus on cultivation of personal awareness or the transformation of consciousness are complemented by teachings explaining the true meaning of our bodily existence. In that sense, the term ‘Tao‘ refers to the spiritual realities that underlie every aspect of such transformational practices, whether focused upon the configurations of an individual’s mind/body, the community within which any person's life takes place or the broader world of seen and unseen forces within which all processes take place. In summary, the Taoist life requires dedication to an ongoing process of selfless personal refinement, which constitutes one's contribution to the health and well-being of nature as well as society. To live the Taoist life is thus to accept personal responsibility for taking part in a universal healing, doing one's full part to restore the health and wholeness of all individuals, as well as society and the natural cosmos.

Chapter.  6168 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Palliative Medicine

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