Taoism Cultural Exchange Tour
Music is performed in traditional costumes at the first stop of the Taoist cultural exchange tour in Brussels, Belgium.

Taoists from China will soon head out on a cultural exchange tour of Europe. They will promote their philosophy, which they believe can boost environmental protection and promote world peace.

The Chinese Taoist Association held a press conference announcing its first cultural exchange abroad in Europe. The exchange is running from September 26 through October 6 and promotes the culture of the Taoists.

An 81-member delegation will begin the exchange in Brussels. After Belgium, they will visit the United Kingdom, specifically Oxford and London. Finally, they will finish their exchange in Paris.

The delegation will display Taoist costumes, musical instruments, pictures, paintings and videos. They will also give talks on Taoist philosophy and give martial arts and musical performances.

Taoism is an ancient tradition from China that ahs been practiced for thousands of years. The founding father is the sage Lao Tze, who lived from 571 – 471 BC.

Lao Tze’s philosophical work, Tao De Ching, emphasizes the belief that all things in the universe are born from emptiness. It also stresses that a balance must be achieved between nature and human beings.

The deputy secretary-general of the association, Meng Zhiling, said that the exhibition would focus on both the cultural heritage of Taoists and how they currently live today.

He also stated that various lectures will be held on health preservation and ecological philosophy. People are increasingly concerned with these two issues.

In the meantime, the delegation will donate copies of Taoists classics to academic institutions and universities. Several foreign researchers and academics will contribute their extensive experience with Taoism. They will take part in the European visit and help with translations of captions for the exhibition. They’ll also be present for presentations and lectures.

The Taoist association has taken part in cultural exchanges in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao and several Southeast Asian countries. However, deputy director of the international department, Yin Zhihua said that this is the first time the association has organized and undertaken an exchange abroad completely on its own initiative.

The association’s secretary-general, Wang Zheyi recently said “The purpose of the cultural exchange isn’t to make more foreigners become Taoist believers” On the contrary, he said it’s to “help the Taoist culture to play its role in Western societies in maintaining world peace, protecting the environment, keeping ecological balance and so on.”

According to Yin, the appeal of the Taoist culture has been spreading across the globe recently.

Yin also said that Taoists associations have been established in more than 10 European and American countries.

At the International Taoist Forum, located in China in 2011, foreign delegates requested that the China Taoist Association establish a worldwide Taoist Association. Yin mentioned that various governmental authorities are currently considering the request.

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