The natural order (the universe & all things in it)
Theology - gods & spirits
Anthropology - human nature & the human predicament
Values: Ethics & Political Philosophy
Chi (Ch'i, Qi)
Primordial, arises from the Dao
Vital matter and energy
All things (other than Dao and Chi itself) composed of Chi – the basic "stuff" substance of nature
“denotes a moral power or virtue characteristic of a person who follows the correct course of conduct . . . . [In Daoism], te is the virtue or power that one acquires through being in accord with the tao, what one ‘gets’ from the tao.” (Burton Watson)
The cosmos (universe, nature)
is an ever-changing expression & blend of Yin and Yang, full of the power (De) of the DAO.
The DAO is the highest reality. It is the Ground of Being; but it is not “God” or “a god.” It is the absolutely transcendent and incomprehensible Source of the natural world (the universe). The DAO is beyond sensation, beyond thought, beyond imagination, beyond words, etc. It is knowable only through direct mystical experience or intuition.
Gods, good spirits, and demons exist as expressions of the power (De) of the DAO. These spiritual powers can be accessed and harnessed through various magical rituals.
Philosophical Anthropology - The Daoist perspective on human nature & the human predicament
Humanity is merely one of the “Den Thousand Things” manifested in nature, one animal species among others.
However, human beings (unlike other animals) have the power of free choice. This enables them to act contrary to nature (contrary to the DAO), to become alienated from the “Way.”