“There is a thing, formless yet complete.
Before heaven and earth it existed.
Without sound, without substance,
it stands alone and unchanging.
It is all-pervading and unfailing.
One may think of it as the mother of all beneath Heaven.
We do not know its name, but we call it Tao.
Deep and still, it seems to have existed forever.”
Taoism is one of the great religions / philosophies of Ancient China (along with Buddhism and Confucianism). In 440 B.C. Taoism was adopted as a state religion of China, with Lao Tzu (so called founder of Taoism) honoured as a deity. Lao Tzu was a contemporary of Confucuis and wrote a book called the Tao te Ching, composed some time between the sixth and third centuries B.C. Some people believe Lao Tzu is a mythical character. State support of Taoism ended in 1911 with the end of the Ch'ing Dynasty and much Taoist heritage was destroyed.