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In Chinese philosophy, a fundamental concept signifying the correct or divine way. In Confucianism, dao signifies a morally correct path of behaviour. In Daoism the concept is more encompassing and includes the visible process of nature, by which all things change, as well as the principle underlying this process. This principle, known as Absolute Dao, can be only imperfectly understood by the practitioner but is the guiding principle in life. Daoists view life and death as stages of Absolute Dao and advocate a way of life that brings one closer to conformity with essential nature.
Variants of DAO
dao or tao
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on dao, visit Britannica.com.