The ancient Chinese religion of Taoism is not entirely distinct from Confucianism or Chinese folk religion, for all Chinese religion and philosophy operate within the same ancient worldview.
Since earliest times, Chinese thought has been characterized by an awareness of man's close relationship with nature and the universe, a cyclical view of time and the universe, veneration or worship of ancestors, the idea of Heaven, and belief in the divinity of the sovereign.
Both Confucianism and Taoism operate within this worldview and incorporate many of its concepts. These two organized belief systems are best viewed as complementary rather than competitive. While Confucianism concerns itself with the social and moral side of life, Taoism focuses on the individual, spiritual life.
The articles in this section explain some of the beliefs that are especially fundamental to Taoism.