Some 70 km north of Xiamen, is the city of Quanzhou which is about 10 times the size of Xiamen and with a population of about 8.5 million. Marco Polo, 13th century, said this was one of the best harbours in the world and was the eastern end of the silk route. It was also the base for boat building and for China to trade throughout much of the Asian world.
While there we visit the Kaiyuan temple with its beautiful tall pagodas, the Maritime Museum and, my favourite, the stone carving of the founder of Taoism, which was carved in the fifth century: it’s on Mt. Qingyuan, is one of the principal tourist attractions in the Quanzhou area and, is only about 3ks from the city.
Lao-tzu was a famous philosopher and thinker during 770 BC – 476 BC which is called the spring and autumn period. He is the founder of Taoism and evidently his most renown work is the ‘Tao Te Ching’, the basic doctrine of Taoism.
In this carving (5m high X 8m wide) Lao-tzu’s left hand rests on his left knee and his right hand is on a small table. His face is larger-than-life, with long eyebrows, flowing moustache and oversized ears.
Taoism, which originated in China over 2000 years ago, is also referred to as Daoism which in English is more like the sound of the actual Chinese word.
It is a religion of unity and opposites – the complimentary forces of the Yin and the Yang; of action and non-action, light and dark, hot and cold.
Taoism has no God but includes many deities that are worshipped in Taoist temples and promotes achieving harmony and union with nature, self-development, and being virtuous. They also pursue spiritual immortality and their practices include feng shui, fortune-telling, meditation and of course the reading and chanting of their scriptures.
Before the Communist revolution, over fifty years ago, Taoism was one of the strongest religions in China.