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Classical Daoism Stoloff, Adrien


Classical Daoism is a "catch-all" term for a set of beliefs and practices evidenced from texts dating from the Warring States period to the Early Han Dynasty in China. Scholars have deduced that these texts, having similar ideas regarding the world, must have been written by an informal community of like-minded practitioners. It was therefore not an organized religion (though early and later organized Daoism does espouse some of the same basic principles). Because the state and provenance of these texts is unclear, little is known about the social organization of Classical Daoists. However, it is clear that Classical Daoists believe in the Dao as the guiding principle of the universe, outline cultivation practices that have a goal of becoming one with or attaining the Dao, and in some cases, suggest strategies for rulership in accordance with the Dao.

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