16 Dec, 2010 290 Other religions

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Daoism. An ancient Chinese tradition of philosophy and religious belief, Daoism first appeared more than two thousand years ago. For centuries it was the most popular religion in China; in the West its religious aspects are not as well known as its practices, which include meditation and Feng Shui, and for its most celebrated text, the Daodejing.The central aim in Daoism is to follow the ‘Dao’, a word which roughly translates as ‘The Way’. Daoists believe in following life in its natural flow, what they refer to as an ‘effortless action’. This transcendence can be linked to Buddhism, the Indian religion that came to China in the 2nd century BC and influenced Daoism - an exchange which went both ways. Daoism is closely related to, but has also at times conflicted with, the religion of the Chinese Imperial court, Confucianism. The spirit world is of great significance in Daoism, and its hierarchy and power often take precedence over events and people in real life. But how did this ancient and complex religion come to be so influential?

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  • Tim Barrett 8 episodes
    Professor of East Asian History at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  • Martin Palmer 22 episodes
    Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture
  • Hilde De Weerdt 6 episodes
    Fellow and Tutor in Chinese History at Pembroke College, University of Oxford

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Auto-category: 299 (Religions originating in China)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. It's said that on a cold, misty night many years ago, an old man arrived at the western border of imperial China.