5.6   TAOISM

Taoism is less of a religion than it is a philosophy.  The Tao te Ching, the central book of Taoist beliefs, was attributed to Lao Tzu around the sixth century BCE.  It is really simply a set a poetic tracks that are meant to inspire the contemplation of existence.

At the very heart, Taoism is represented by the symbolic yin yang.  It represents the opposites that exist through out the universe.  For every idea or thing there is always an opposite that keeps it in balance.   Sadness counters happiness.  Ugliness counters beauty.  Male counters female, and existence counters non-existence.   It is the interaction of these opposites that dictates the flow of the universe.

From the interaction of the yin yang, the five elements are extrapolated.  They are: wood, fire, water, metal, and earth.

The goals of Taoism are simple.  The Tao or "the Way" teaches one to be in harmony with nature and live by its rules.   It teaches the adherent to live in the moment, not concerning himself with what is to come.  In the end, one is to merge with the universe.  This is an impersonal state that has nothing to do with consciousness.

Though little in Taoism hints at a truly religious nature, demanding its adherents subscribe to specific a set of dogmas, it is still quite difficult to reconcile it with the Children of Fire world.  The Taoist concept of afterlife shares nothing with the Judeo/Christian one described in this game.   In addition, the Taoist emphasis on the hear and now does not jive well with one being judged for the over all goodness or inherent evil of their life.   To the Taoist, one's past deeds are irrelevant when considering their actions in the present.   For these reason, the storyteller will need to work long and hard if he wishes to make Taoism the central focus of a Children of Fire campaign.

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