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The Way of Man means, among other things, procreation; and eunuchs are said to be 'far from the Way of Man'. Finally in a particular school of philosophy whose followers came to be called Taoists, tao meant 'the way the universe works'; and ultimately something very like God, in the more abstract and philosophical sense of that term.

The Tao is what gives Taoism its English name, in both its philosophical and religious forms.

All forms of Taoism center around Tao and De, but there is a broad variety of distinct interpretations among sects and even individuals within the same sect.

Taoism perceives the Tao as a natural order underlying the substance and activity of the Universe.[Tao] means a road, path, way; and hence, the way in which one does something; method, doctrine, principle.The Way of Heaven, for example, is ruthless; when autumn comes 'no leaf is spared because of its beauty, no flower because of its fragrance'. Each school of philosophy has its tao, its doctrine of the way in which life should be ordered.Stoicism) in order to achieve 'effortless action' (Wu wei). Important in this respect is the Taoist concept of De (德; virtue).In Confucianism and religious forms of Taoism, these are often explicitly moral/ethical arguments about proper behavior, while Buddhism and more philosophical forms of Taoism usually refer to the natural and mercurial outcomes of action (comparable to karma).

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