Taoism (chin: 道教 of 道, dao, literally the way) is originally a Chinese philosophy, which later developed into a popular religion.
The 'tao', as the central element of this doctrine, is best understood as a comprehensive world principle that is not purely rationally accessible to man. Man should disturb this principle as little as possible by conscious action and striving, but live in a mystical-intuitive way in accordance with this law.
Here, the principle of 'acting by inaction' (wu wei) plays a crucial role. Both the term 'dao' and the 'wu wei' are already found in Confucianism. There, however, dao stands rather for the morally right way, and the principle of non-action is primarily related to the behavior of the ruler: Thus, in the conversations of Confucius (論語, Lunyu, II, 1) the ruler is compared with the Polestar, around which all the other stars seem to turn. The ideal of ruling is not actively intervening, but acting solely through the model.
Taoism is in the period of the 6.-4. Century BC originated in China, the legendary founding figure is 'Lao-Tse'. He is credited with the basic work Tao Te King (The Book of Tao and His Works).
When 'Buddhism' came to China in the 5th century (according to legend by Boddhidharma), Chan Buddhism (禪) developed under strong influence of Taoism, which later became Zen in Japan.
Another important work of Taoism is the 'Nan Hua Chen Ching' (the true book of the southern flower land) of his successor Dschuang Dsi (365 - 290 BC), in which the essence of Taoism in parables, anecdotes and disputes of Lao -Tse explained with Confucius.
For a long time Taoist tendencies with less philosophical, than alchemical and magical character were quite common in the Chinese people. (For example, the Ch'üan Chen School (School of Perfect Realization) in the 13th century AD.
The philosophical direction of Taoism has also attracted attention and followers in the West, ia. because it seems to be compatible with the scientific worldview. (Logician Raymond N. Smullyan).

The descendant of the Taoist magic line is Feng Shui.
Different transcriptions:
Tao - Dao - Dau
Taoism - Daoism - Dauism
Lao-Tse - Lao Tzu - Laudse - Laozi - Laulaidse - Lau Dan - Li Er
Tao-te-king - Daudedsching - Daodejing
Chuang Dsi - Zhuangzi - Chuang-tzu

(Source encyclopedia Wikipedia)