Taoism (frequently pronounced /ˈtaʊ.ɪ.zəm/, though Daoism /ˈdaʊ.ɪ.zəm/ is preferred), from Chinese Daojiao 道教 (pronounced zh-dào.ogg dào (help·info) Zh-jiào.ogg jiào (help·info)), refers to a variety of related philosophical and religious traditions and concepts. These traditions have influenced East Asia for over two thousand years and some have spread to the West. The word 道, Tao (or Dao, depending on the romanization scheme), means "path" or "way", although in Chinese folk religion and philosophy it has taken on more abstract meanings. Taoist propriety and ethics emphasize the Three Jewels of the Tao: compassion, moderation, and humility. Taoist thought generally focuses on nature, men-cosmos correspondence (天人相应), health, longevity, wu wei (effortless action), liberty, immortality and spontaneity.
Reverence for ancestor spirits and immortals are also common in popular Taoism. Organized Taoism distinguishes its ritual activity from that of the folk religion, which some professional Taoists (Daoshi) view as debased. Chinese alchemy (including Neidan), astrology, cuisine, several Chinese martial arts, Chinese traditional medicine, fengshui, and many styles of qigong breath training disciplines have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history.