Inari Ōkami is the Japanese kami of foxes, of fertility, rice and sake, of agriculture and industry, of general prosperity and worldly success, one of the principal kami of Shinto. In earlier Japan, Inari was the patron of swordsmiths and merchants. Represented as male, female, or androgynous, Inari is sometimes seen as a collective of three or five individual kami. Inari appears to have been worshipped since the founding of a shrine at Inari Mountain in 711 AD, although some scholars believe that worship started in the late 5th century. By the 16th century Inari had become the patron of blacksmiths and the protector of warriors, worship of Inari spread across Japan in the Edo period. Inari is a popular figure in both Buddhist beliefs in Japan. More than one-third of the Shinto shrines in Japan are dedicated to Inari. Modern corporations, such as cosmetic company Shiseido, continue to revere Inari as a patron kami, with shrines atop their corporate headquarters. Inari's foxes, or kitsune, act as their messengers.
Inari has been depicted both as female. The most popular representations of Inari, according to scholar Karen Ann Smyers, are a young female food goddess, an old man carrying rice, an androgynous bodhisattva. No one view is correct; because of their close association with kitsune, Inari is believed to be a fox. Inari appears in the form of a snake or dragon, one folktale has Inari appear to a wicked man in the shape of a monstrous spider as a way of teaching him a lesson. Inari is sometimes identified with other mythological figures; some scholars suggest that Inari is the figure known in classical Japanese mythology as Uka-no-Mitama or Uke Mochi. Some take Inari to be identical to any grain kami. Inari's female aspect is identified or conflated with Dakiniten, a Buddhist deity, a Japanese transformation of the Indian dakini, or with Benzaiten of the Seven Lucky Gods. Dakiniten is portrayed as a androgynous bodhisattva riding a flying white fox. Inari's association with Buddhism may have begun in the 8th century, when Shingon Buddhist monk and founder, Kūkai, took over administration of the temple of Tōji, chose Inari as a protector of the temple.
Thus, Inari is still associated with Shingon Buddhism to this day. Inari is venerated as a collective of three deities. However, the identification of these kami has varied over time. According to records of Fushimi Inari, the oldest and most prominent Inari shrine, these kami have included Izanagi, Izanami and Wakumusubi, in addition to the food deities mentioned; the five kami today identified with Inari at Fushimi Inari are Ukanomitama, Omiyanome and Shi. However, at Takekoma Inari, the second-oldest Inari shrine in Japan, the three enshrined deities are Ukanomitama and Wakumusubi. According to the Nijūni shaki, the three kami are Ōmiyame no mikoto Ukanomitama no mikoto and Sarutahiko no mikami The fox and the wish-fulfilling jewel are prominent symbols of Inari. Other common elements in depictions of Inari, sometimes of their kitsune, include a sickle, a sheaf or sack of rice, a sword. Another belonging was their whip—although they were hardly known to use it, it was a powerful weapon, used to burn people's crops of rice.
The origin of Inari worship is not clear. The first recorded use of the present-day kanji of Inari's name, which mean "carrying rice", was in the Ruijū Kokushi in 892 AD. Other sets of kanji with the same phonetic readings, most of which contained a reference to rice, were in use earlier, most scholars agree that the name Inari is derived from ine-nari; the worship of Inari is known to have existed as of 711 AD, the official founding date of the shrine at Inari Mountain in Fushimi, Kyoto. Scholars such as Kazuo Higo believe; the name Inari does not appear in classical Japanese mythology. By the Heian period, Inari worship began to spread. In 823 AD, after Emperor Saga presented the Tō-ji temple to Kūkai, the founder of the Shingon Buddhist sect, the latter designated Inari as its resident protector kami. In 827, the court granted Inari the lower fifth rank, which further increased the deity's popularity in the capital. Inari's rank was subsequently increased, by 942, Emperor Suzaku granted Inari the top rank in thanks for overcoming rebellions.
At this time, the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine was among the twenty-two shrines chosen by the court to receive imperial patronage, a high honor. The second Inari shrine, Takekoma Inari, was established in the late ninth century. Inari's popularity continued to grow; the Fushimi shrine a popular pilgrimage site, gained wide renown when it became an imperial pilgrimage site in 1072. By 1338, the shrine's festival was said to rival the Gion Festival in splendor. In 1468, during the Ōnin War, the entire Fushimi shrine complex was burned. Rebuilding took about thirty years. While the old complex had enshrined three kami in separate buildings, the new one enshrined five kami in a single building; the new shrine included a Buddhist temple building for the first time, the her
In Japanese beliefs, Hachiman is the syncretic divinity of archery and war, incorporating elements from both Shinto and Buddhism. Although called the god of war, he is more defined as the tutelary god of warriors, he is the divine protector of Japan, the Japanese people and the Imperial House, the Minamoto clan and most samurai worshipped him. The name means "God of Eight Banners", referring to the eight heavenly banners that signaled the birth of the divine Emperor Ōjin, his symbolic animal and messenger is the dove. Since ancient times Hachiman was worshiped by peasants as the god of agriculture and by fishermen who hoped he would fill their nets with much fish. In Shinto, he became identified by legend as the Emperor Ōjin, son of Empress Jingū, from the 3rd–4th century. After the arrival of Buddhism in Japan, Hachiman became a syncretistic deity, fusing elements of the native kami worship with Buddhism. In the Buddhist pantheon in 8th century AD, he became Hachiman Great Bodhisattva; because as Emperor Ōjin he was an ancestor of the Minamoto clan, Hachiman became the tutelary kami of the Minamoto samurai clan.
Minamoto no Yoshiie, upon coming of age at Iwashimizu Shrine in Kyoto, took the name Hachiman Taro Yoshiie and through his military prowess and virtue as a leader, became regarded and respected as the ideal samurai through the ages. After Minamoto no Yoritomo became shōgun and established the Kamakura shogunate, Hachiman's popularity grew and he became by extension the protector of the warrior class the shōgun had brought to power. For this reason, the shintai of a Hachiman shrine is a stirrup or a bow. Throughout the Japanese medieval period, the worship of Hachiman spread throughout Japan among not only samurai, but the peasantry. So much so was his popularity that presently there are 25000 Shinto shrines in Japan dedicated to Hachiman, the second most numerous after shrines dedicated to Inari. Usa Shrine in Usa, Ōita Prefecture is head shrine of all of these shrines and together with Iwashimizu Hachiman-gū, Hakozaki-gū and Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, are noted as the most important of all the shrines dedicated to him.
The crest of Hachiman is in the design of a mitsudomoe, a round whirlpool or vortex with three heads swirling right or left. Many samurai clans used this crest as their own, including some that traced their ancestry back to the mortal enemy of the Minamoto, the Taira of the Emperor Kanmu line. Hachiman shrine Minamoto no Yoriyoshi Minamoto no Yorinobu Kamikaze Hachiman – Ancient History Encyclopedia Bender, Ross. "Metamorphosis of a Deity: The Image of Hachiman in Yumi Yawata". Monumenta Nipponica. 33: 165–78. Doi:10.2307/2384124. JSTOR 2384124. Bender, Ross. "The Political Meaning of the Hachiman Cult in Ancient and Early Medieval Japan". Dissertation. Columbia University
Chaos refers to the void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos in the Greek creation myths, or to the initial "gap" created by the original separation of heaven and earth. Greek χάος means "emptiness, vast void, abyss", from the verb χαίνω, "gape, be wide open, etc.", from Proto-Indo-European *ǵheh2n-, cognate to Old English geanian, "to gape", whence English yawn. It may mean space, the expanse of air, the nether abyss or infinite darkness. Pherecydes of Syros interprets chaos like something formless which can be differentiated. Hesiod and the Pre-Socratics use the Greek term in the context of cosmogony. Hesiod's chaos has been interpreted as either "the gaping void above the Earth created when Earth and Sky are separated from their primordial unity" or "the gaping space below the Earth on which Earth rests". In Hesiod's Theogony, Chaos was the first thing to exist: "at first Chaos came to be" but next came Gaia and Eros. Unambiguously "born" from Chaos were Nyx. For Hesiod, like Tartarus, though personified enough to have borne children, was a place, far away, underground and "gloomy", beyond which lived the Titans.
And, like the earth, the ocean, the upper air, it was capable of being affected by Zeus' thunderbolts. Passages in Hesiod's Theogony suggest that Chaos was located above Tartarus. Primal Chaos was sometimes said to be the true foundation of reality by philosophers such as Heraclitus; the notion of the temporal infinity was familiar to the Greek mind from remote antiquity in the religious conception of immortality. This idea of the divine as an origin influenced the first Greek philosophers; the main object of the first efforts to explain the world remained the description of its growth, from a beginning. They believed that the world arose out from a primal unity, that this substance was the permanent base of all its being. Anaximander claims that the origin is apeiron, a divine and perpetual substance less definite than the common elements. Everything is generated from apeiron, must return there according to necessity. A conception of the nature of the world was that the earth below its surface stretches down indefinitely and has its roots on or above Tartarus, the lower part of the underworld.
In a phrase of Xenophanes, "The upper limit of the earth borders near our feet. The lower limit reaches down to the "apeiron"." The sources and limits of the earth, the sea, the sky and all things are located in a great windy-gap, which seems to be infinite, is a specification of "chaos". In Aristophanes's comedy Birds, first there was Chaos, Night and Tartarus, from Night came Eros, from Eros and Chaos came the race of birds. At the beginning there was only Chaos, dark Erebus, deep Tartarus. Earth, the air and heaven had no existence. Firstly, blackwinged Night laid a germless egg in the bosom of the infinite deeps of Erebus, from this, after the revolution of long ages, sprang the graceful Eros with his glittering golden wings, swift as the whirlwinds of the tempest, he mated in deep Tartarus with dark Chaos, winged like himself, thus hatched forth our race, the first to see the light. That of the Immortals did not exist until Eros had brought together all the ingredients of the world, from their marriage Heaven, Ocean and the imperishable race of blessed gods sprang into being.
Thus our origin is much older than that of the dwellers in Olympus. We are the offspring of Eros. We have wings and we lend assistance to lovers. How many handsome youths, who had sworn to remain insensible, have opened their thighs because of our power and have yielded themselves to their lovers when at the end of their youth, being led away by the gift of a quail, a waterfowl, a goose, or a cock. For Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, Chaos was an unformed mass, where all the elements were jumbled up together in a "shapeless heap". Ante mare et terras et quod tegit omnia caelum unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe, quem dixere chaos: rudis indigestaque moles nec quicquam nisi pondus iners congestaque eodem non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum. Before the ocean and the earth appeared— before the skies had overspread them all— the face of Nature in a vast expanse was naught but Chaos uniformly waste, it was a undeveloped mass, that nothing made except a ponderous weight. According to Hyginus: "From Mist came Chaos.
From Chaos and Mist, came Night, Day and Ether." An Orphic tradition had Chaos as the son of Chronus and Ananke. Fifth-century Orphic cosmogony had a "Womb of Darkness" in which the Wind lay a Cosmic Egg whence Eros was hatched, who set the universe in motion; the motif of Chaoskampf is ubiquitous in myth and legend, depicting a battle of a culture hero deity with a chaos monster in the shape of a serpent or dragon. The same term has been extended to parallel concepts in the Middle East and North Africa, such as the abstract conflict of ideas in the Egyptian duality of Maat and Isfet or the battle of Horus and Set; the origins of the Chaoskampf myth most lie in the Proto-Indo-European religion whose descendants all feature some variation of the story of a storm god fighting a sea serpent representing the clash between the forces of order and chaos. Early work by German academics such as Gunkel and Bousset in comparative mythology popularized translating
Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima. As a cereal grain, it is the most consumed staple food for a large part of the world's human population in Asia, it is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production, after sugarcane and maize. Since sizable portions of sugarcane and maize crops are used for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans. There are many varieties of rice and culinary preferences tend to vary regionally. Rice, a monocot, is grown as an annual plant, although in tropical areas it can survive as a perennial and can produce a ratoon crop for up to 30 years. Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is labor-intensive to cultivate and requires ample water. However, rice can be grown anywhere on a steep hill or mountain area with the use of water-controlling terrace systems.
Although its parent species are native to Asia and certain parts of Africa, centuries of trade and exportation have made it commonplace in many cultures worldwide. The traditional method for cultivating rice is flooding the fields while, or after, setting the young seedlings; this simple method requires sound planning and servicing of the water damming and channeling, but reduces the growth of less robust weed and pest plants that have no submerged growth state, deters vermin. While flooding is not mandatory for the cultivation of rice, all other methods of irrigation require higher effort in weed and pest control during growth periods and a different approach for fertilizing the soil; the name wild rice is used for species of the genera Zizania and Porteresia, both wild and domesticated, although the term may be used for primitive or uncultivated varieties of Oryza. First used in English in the middle of the 13th century, the word "rice" derives from the Old French ris, which comes from the Italian riso, in turn from the Latin oriza, which derives from the Greek ὄρυζα.
The Greek word is the source of all European words. The origin of the Greek word is unclear, it is sometimes held to be from the Tamil word, or rather Old Tamil arici. However, Krishnamurti disagrees with the notion that Old Tamil arici is the source of the Greek term, proposes that it was borrowed from descendants of Proto-Dravidian *wariñci instead. Mayrhofer suggests that the immediate source of the Greek word is to be sought in Old Iranian words of the types *vrīz- or *vrinj-, but these are traced back to Indo-Aryan. P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar assumed that the Sanskrit vrīhí- is derived from the Tamil arici, while Ferdinand Kittel derived it from the Dravidian root variki; the rice plant can grow to 1–1.8 m tall more depending on the variety and soil fertility. It has long, slender leaves 50–100 cm long and 2–2.5 cm broad. The small wind-pollinated flowers are produced in a branched arching to pendulous inflorescence 30–50 cm long; the edible seed is a grain 5–12 mm long and 2–3 mm thick. The varieties of rice are classified as long-, medium-, short-grained.
The grains of long-grain rice tend to remain intact after cooking. Medium-grain rice is used for sweet dishes, for risotto in Italy, many rice dishes, such as arròs negre, in Spain; some varieties of long-grain rice that are high in amylopectin, known as Thai Sticky rice, are steamed. A stickier medium-grain rice is used for sushi. Medium-grain rice is used extensively in Japan, including to accompany savoury dishes, where it is served plain in a separate dish. Short-grain rice is used for rice pudding. Instant rice differs from parboiled rice in that it is cooked and dried, though there is a significant degradation in taste and texture. Rice flour and starch are used in batters and breadings to increase crispiness. Rice is rinsed before cooking to remove excess starch. Rice produced in the US is fortified with vitamins and minerals, rinsing will result in a loss of nutrients. Rice may be rinsed until the rinse water is clear to improve the texture and taste. Rice may be soaked to decrease cooking time, conserve fuel, minimize exposure to high temperature, reduce stickiness.
For some varieties, soaking improves the texture of the cooked rice by increasing expansion of the grains. Rice may be soaked for 30 minutes up to several hours. Brown rice may be soaked in warm water for 20 hours to stimulate germination; this process, called germinated brown rice, activates enzymes and enhances amino acids including gamma-aminobutyric acid to improve the nutritional value of brown rice. This method is a result of research carried out for the United Nations International Year of Rice. Rice is cooked by boiling or steaming, absorbs water during cooking. With the absorption method, rice may be cooked in a volume of water equal to the volume of dry rice- plus any evaporation losses. With the rapid-boil method, rice may be cooked in a large quantity of water, drained before serving. Rapid-boil preparation is not desirable with enriched rice, as much of the enrichment additives are l
Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions and spiritual practices based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are recognized by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana. Most Buddhist traditions share the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood. Buddhist schools vary in their interpretation of the path to liberation, the relative importance and canonicity assigned to the various Buddhist texts, their specific teachings and practices. Observed practices include taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, observance of moral precepts, monasticism and the cultivation of the Paramitas.
Theravada Buddhism has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia such as Myanmar and Thailand. Mahayana, which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Nichiren Buddhism and Tiantai, is found throughout East Asia. Vajrayana, a body of teachings attributed to Indian adepts, may be viewed as a separate branch or as an aspect of Mahayana Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism, which preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth-century India, is practiced in the countries of the Himalayan region and Kalmykia. Buddhism is an Indian religion attributed to the teachings of the Buddha born Siddhārtha Gautama, known as the Tathāgata and Sakyamuni. Early texts have his personal name as "Gautama" or "Gotama" without any mention of "Siddhārtha," which appears to have been a kind of honorific title when it does appear; the details of Buddha's life are mentioned in many Early Buddhist Texts but are inconsistent, his social background and life details are difficult to prove, the precise dates uncertain. The evidence of the early texts suggests that he was born as Siddhārtha Gautama in Lumbini and grew up in Kapilavasthu, a town in the plains region of the modern Nepal-India border, that he spent his life in what is now modern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Some hagiographic legends state that his father was a king named Suddhodana, his mother was Queen Maya, he was born in Lumbini gardens. However, scholars such as Richard Gombrich consider this a dubious claim because a combination of evidence suggests he was born in the Shakyas community – one that gave him the title Shakyamuni, the Shakya community was governed by a small oligarchy or republic-like council where there were no ranks but where seniority mattered instead; some of the stories about Buddha, his life, his teachings, claims about the society he grew up in may have been invented and interpolated at a time into the Buddhist texts. According to the Buddhist sutras, Gautama was moved by the innate suffering of humanity and its endless repetition due to rebirth, he set out on a quest to end this repeated suffering. Early Buddhist canonical texts and early biographies of Gautama state that Gautama first studied under Vedic teachers, namely Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, learning meditation and ancient philosophies the concept of "nothingness, emptiness" from the former, "what is neither seen nor unseen" from the latter.
Finding these teachings to be insufficient to attain his goal, he turned to the practice of asceticism. This too fell short of attaining his goal, he turned to the practice of dhyana, which he had discovered in his youth, he famously sat in meditation under a Ficus religiosa tree now called the Bodhi Tree in the town of Bodh Gaya in the Gangetic plains region of South Asia. He gained insight into the workings of karma and his former lives, attained enlightenment, certainty about the Middle Way as the right path of spiritual practice to end suffering from rebirths in Saṃsāra; as a enlightened Buddha, he attracted followers and founded a Sangha. Now, as the Buddha, he spent the rest of his life teaching the Dharma he had discovered, died at the age of 80 in Kushinagar, India. Buddha's teachings were propagated by his followers, which in the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE became over 18 Buddhist sub-schools of thought, each with its own basket of texts containing different interpretations and authentic teachings of the Buddha.
The Four Truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful. This keeps us caught in saṃsāra, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth and dying again, but there is a way to liberation from this endless cycle to the state of nirvana, namely following the Noble Eightfold Path. The truth of dukkha is the basic insight that life in this mundane world, with its clinging and craving to impermanent states and things is dukkha, unsatisfactory. Dukkha can be translated as "incapable of satisfying," "the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena". Dukkha is most translated as "suffering," but this is inaccurate, since it refers not to episodic suffering, but to the intrinsically unsat
Foxes are small-to-medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae. Foxes have a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a pointed upturned snout, a long bushy tail. Twelve species belong to the monophyletic "true foxes" group of genus Vulpes. Another 25 current or extinct species are always or sometimes called foxes. Foxes live on every continent except Antarctica. By far the most common and widespread species of fox is the red fox with about 47 recognized subspecies; the global distribution of foxes, together with their widespread reputation for cunning, has contributed to their prominence in popular culture and folklore in many societies around the world. The hunting of foxes with packs of hounds, long an established pursuit in Europe in the British Isles, was exported by European settlers to various parts of the New World; the word fox comes from Old English. This in turn derives from Proto-Indo-European *puḱ-, meaning ’thick-haired. Male foxes are known as dogs, tods or reynards, females as vixens, young as cubs, pups, or kits, though the latter name is not to be confused with a distinct species called kit foxes.
Vixen is one of few words in modern English that retains the Middle English southern dialect "v" pronunciation instead of "f". A group of foxes is referred to leash, or earth. Within the Canidae, the results of DNA analysis shows several phylogenetic divisions: The fox-like canids, which include the kit fox, red fox, Cape fox, Arctic fox, fennec fox; the wolf-like canids, including the dog, gray wolf, red wolf, eastern wolf, golden jackal, Ethiopian wolf, black-backed jackal, side-striped jackal and African wild dog. The South American canids, including hoary fox, crab-eating fox and maned wolf. Various monotypic taxa, including the bat-eared fox, gray fox, raccoon dog. Foxes are smaller than some other members of the family Canidae such as wolves and jackals, while they may be larger than some within the family, such as Raccoon dogs. In the largest species, the red fox, males weigh on average between 4.1 and 8.7 kg, while the smallest species, the fennec fox, weighs just 0.7 to 1.6 kg. Fox-like features include a triangular face, pointed ears, an elongated rostrum, a bushy tail.
Foxes are digitigrade, thus, walk on their toes. Unlike most members of the family Canidae, foxes have retractable claws. Fox vibrissae, or whiskers, are black; the whiskers on the muzzle, mystaciae vibrissae, average 100–110 mm long, while the whiskers everywhere else on the head average to be shorter in length. Whiskers are on the forelimbs and average 40 mm long, pointing downward and backward. Other physical characteristics vary according to adaptive significance. Fox species differ in fur color and density. Coat colors range from pearly white to black and white to black flecked with white or grey on the underside. Fennec foxes, for example, have short fur to aid in keeping the body cool. Arctic foxes, on the other hand, have tiny ears and short limbs as well as thick, insulating fur, which aid in keeping the body warm. Red foxes, by contrast, have a typical auburn pelt, the tail ending with white marking. A fox's coat color and texture may vary due to the change in seasons. To get rid of the dense winter coat, foxes moult once a year around April.
Coat color may change as the individual ages. A fox's dentition, like all other canids, is I 3/3, C 1/1, PM 4/4, M 3/2 = 42. Foxes have pronounced carnassial pairs, characteristic of a carnivore; these pairs consist of the upper premolar and the lower first molar, work together to shear tough material like flesh. Foxes' canines are pronounced characteristic of a carnivore, are excellent in gripping prey. In the wild, the typical lifespan of a fox is one to three years, although individuals may live up to ten years. Unlike many canids, foxes are not always pack animals, they live in small family groups, but some are known to be solitary. Foxes are omnivores; the diet of foxes is made up of invertebrates such as insects, small vertebrates such as reptiles and birds, can include eggs and plants. Many species are generalist predators. Most species of fox consume around 1 kg of food every day. Foxes cache excess food, burying it for consumption under leaves, snow, or soil. Foxes tend to use a pouncing technique where they crouch down to camouflage themselves in the terrain using their hind legs, leap up with great force to land on top of their targeted prey.
Using their pronounced canine te
Taoism, or Daoism, is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. The Tao is a fundamental idea in most Chinese philosophical schools. Taoism differs from Confucianism by not emphasizing rigid rituals and social order, but is similar in the sense that it is a teaching about the various disciplines for achieving "perfection" by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the universe called "the way" or "dao". Taoist ethics vary depending on the particular school, but in general tend to emphasize wu wei, "naturalness", simplicity and the Three Treasures: 慈 "compassion", 儉 "frugality", 不敢為天下先 "humility"; the roots of Taoism go back at least to the 4th century BCE. Early Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the School of Yinyang, was influenced by one of the oldest texts of Chinese culture, the I Ching, which expounds a philosophical system about how to keep human behavior in accordance with the alternating cycles of nature; the "Legalist" Shen Buhai may have been a major influence, expounding a realpolitik of wu wei.
The Tao Te Ching, a compact book containing teachings attributed to Laozi, is considered the keystone work of the Taoist tradition, together with the writings of Zhuangzi. By the Han dynasty, the various sources of Taoism had coalesced into a coherent tradition of religious organizations and orders of ritualists in the state of Shu. In earlier ancient China, Taoists were thought of as hermits or recluses who did not participate in political life. Zhuangzi was the best known of these, it is significant that he lived in the south, where he was part of local Chinese shamanic traditions. Female shamans played an important role in this tradition, strong in the southern state of Chu. Early Taoist movements developed their own institution in contrast to shamanism, but absorbed basic shamanic elements. Shamans revealed basic texts of Taoism from early times down to at least the 20th century. Institutional orders of Taoism evolved in various strains that in more recent times are conventionally grouped into two main branches: Quanzhen Taoism and Zhengyi Taoism.
After Laozi and Zhuangzi, the literature of Taoism grew and was compiled in form of a canon—the Daozang—which was published at the behest of the emperor. Throughout Chinese history, Taoism was nominated several times as a state religion. After the 17th century, however, it fell from favor. Taoism has had a profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries, Taoists, a title traditionally attributed only to the clergy and not to their lay followers take care to note distinction between their ritual tradition and the practices of Chinese folk religion and non-Taoist vernacular ritual orders, which are mistakenly identified as pertaining to Taoism. Chinese alchemy, Chinese astrology, Chan Buddhism, several martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history. Beyond China, Taoism had influence on surrounding societies in Asia. Today, the Taoist tradition is one of the five religious doctrines recognized in the People's Republic of China as well as the Republic of China, although it does not travel from its East Asian roots, it claims adherents in a number of societies, in particular in Hong Kong, in Southeast Asia.
Since the introduction of the Pinyin system for romanizing Mandarin Chinese, there have been those who have felt that "Taoism" would be more appropriately spelled as "Daoism". The Mandarin Chinese pronunciation for the word 道 is spelled as tao4 in the older Wade–Giles romanization system while it is spelled as dào in the newer Pinyin romanization system. Both the Wade–Giles tao4 and the Pinyin dào are intended to be pronounced identically in Mandarin Chinese, but despite this fact, "Taoism" and "Daoism" can be pronounced differently in English vernacular; the word "Taoism" is used to translate different Chinese terms which refer to different aspects of the same tradition and semantic field: "Taoist religion", or the "liturgical" aspect – A family of organized religious movements sharing concepts or terminology from "Taoist philosophy". "Taoist philosophy" or "Taology", or the "mystical" aspect – The philosophical doctrines based on the texts of the I Ching, the Tao Te Ching and the Zhuangzi.
These texts were linked together as "Taoist philosophy" during the early Han Dynasty, but notably not before. It is unlikely that Zhuangzi was familiar with the text of the Daodejing, Zhuangzi would not have identified himself as a Taoist as this classification did not arise until well after his death. However, the discussed distinction is rejected by the majority of Japanese scholars, it is contested by hermeneutic difficulties in the categorization of the different Taoist schools and movements. Taoism does not f