Tao can be roughly translated into English as path
. It is generally used in a more metaphysical sense within popular Taoism, however. Tao (Dao) is often seen as an insentient and unseen force, principle or system rather than a concrete or even metaphorical path. Taoists believe that the Tao is the source of all things, and thus Taoism is older than recorded history. The person usually attributed with having "reawakened" knowledge of the Tao is Lao Tzu (604?-531? BCE) a mysterious figure said to have been a librarian in the south of ancient China. Taoism is a philosophy but evolved into a religion about 140 CE and was later adopted as a state religion. At that time Lao Tzu became popularly venerated as a deity. See also FAQ list
at the temple.