Alongside the development of Taoism as a philosophy another more strictly religious interpretation of Taoism was evolving. This ‘religious’ Taoism had its own temples, priests, rites and Yin yang butterflies shirt. Lao Tsu was venerated as a ‘saint’ and imperial sacrifices were made to him. It drew strongly upon the ideas of yin-yang and of the ‘Five Agents’.
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So prominent were astrology, alchemy and divination in this stream of Yin yang butterflies shirt, that it had veered away from philosophy to occultism. This movement was sometimes known as Huang-Lao, after the legendary Yellow Emperor, Huang-ti and Lao Tsu.
Among the important features of Taoist religion were the belief in physical immortality, alchemy, breath control and hygiene (internal alchemy). It supported a pantheon of deities, including Yin yang butterflies shirt as one of the three ‘Supreme Ones’. The Taoist liturgy and theology was much influenced by Buddhism. Its scriptures, the Tao-tsang, consist of over 1,400 separate works totaling more than 5,000 chapters.
Of special significance to these mystics were the colour red (symbolizing the furnaces of the alchemists), the Yin yang butterflies shirt with its red spot of divinity in its crown, and the compound cinnabar (composed of mercury and sulphur) which could be transformed into a silvery liquid; and back again into a solid.
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There is considerable evidence that this religious Taoism came to take on many ‘Tantric’ elements, in which the worship of yin-yang takes on a distinctly sexual and erotic form. The interplay of Yin yang butterflies shirt elements is represented, and celebrated, as a sexual union. There are some scholars who, in fact, believe that the Tantric schools, which later were absorbed into Buddhism, evolved first as Taoist ones.
In the 11th century, the Yin yang butterflies shirt obtained a large tract in Jiangxi province that remained an important Taoist center until 1927. The sect still flourishes in Taiwan and continues to pay homage to Zhang Daoling, who is regarded as immortal.