Máo Shān Taoism
Taoism represents one of the oldest philosophical and religious traditions from ancient China with a history that spans for over two millennia. With the ancient Chinese philosopher Lǎo Zǐ’「老子」or Tài Shàng Lǎo Jūn「太上老君」being one of the central figures in Taoism, his ancient text of Dào Dé Jīng《道德經》provides the fundamentals of philosophical Taoism. Using dào「道」which literally translates to “way” but extended to mean “The Way” and dé「德」which literally translates to “virtue” or “integrity”, this ancient classic scripture lays the foundations of Taoism.
Worshiped as the highest powers within the Taoist pantheon are the Three Pure Ones or Sān Qīng Zūn Shén「三清尊神」－ Yù Qīng Yuán Shǐ Tiān Zūn「玉清元始天尊」, more popularly known in the West as the Jade Emperor, Shàng Qīng Lìng Bǎo Tiān Zūn「上清靈寶天尊」and Tài Qīng Dào Dé Tiān Zūn「太清道德天尊」, who is believed to have manifested himself in the form of Lǎo Zǐ’「老子」.
The Máo Shān Movement or Sect is a major branch of Taoism with a long and illustrious history. Máo Shān「茅山」or literally Máo Mountain was originally known as Gōu Qū Shān「句曲山」or Gōu Qū Mountain. It is renowned in China as a blessed or holy place and is closely associated with Taoism. The Shàng Qīng Sect「上清派」found its roots and flourished from this mountain. The Taoism community acclaims it to be The Eighth Celestial Heaven and The Most Auspicious Land「第八洞天，第一福地」. During the Western Han period more than two thousand years ago, three brothers Máo Yíng「茅盈」, Máo Gù「茅固」and Máo Zhōng「茅衷」, collectively know as Sān Máo Zhēn Jūn「三茅真君」, practiced Taoism here and are believed to have been enlightened to a state of divine immortality and thus the mountain was appropriately renamed.