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Speaking of the origin of Chinese culture and Chinese spirituality, Lao Zi(老子) was always the first figure that we must focus on. Due to his complicated identities as the teacher of Confucius, the founder of Chinese Taoism, the originator of Chinese philosophy, the greatest saint of Chinese spirituality, the supreme god next to Jade Emperor(玉皇大帝,Yu Huang Da Di or The Supreme Being of Jade Emperor ) in Chinese mythological system and the forefather of Tang Dynasty, the most powerful dynasty in China’s history. Lao Zi in the mind of Chinese people was extraordinarily superior to Confucius, Zhuang Zi, Mencius, Xun Zi, Zhu Zi and other great saints and masters in spirituality history of China. He was the first man shaping the foundation and structure of Chinese civilization. In a word, it is insufficient no matter how highly we comment him. In comparison with western spirituality, Lao Zi was the oriental Jehovah, and Confucius was Jesus in eastern world. We also could regard Lao Zi as the father of Confucius, whose real father died at his childhood, on the basis of the classic saying: a teacher for one day equals a father for the whole life(yi ri wei shi, zhong sheng wei fu, 一日为师，终生为父). Lao Zi was the eternal spiritual emperor of human and gods in China.
Lao Zi was widely known as the founder of Taoism(道家, an academic school was prominent before Qin Dynasty, but as the religion, the founder of religious Taoism(道教) was Zhang Ling(张陵) who was crowned to be Zhang Tianshi(张天师, the Taoist Master Zhang) and he was the originator of Taoism as a religion. Zhang Ling changed Lao Zi’s masterpiece into Daode Zhenjing (道德真经), and from then on, Lao Zi originally as an academic masterpiece transferred to being the complication of multiple roles. This book since then trended to mystery. Beginning from the book of Lie Xian Zhuan(列仙传, or Biography of Immortals), a famous classics in ancient China, Lao Zi was written into the list of immortals, and also said that Lao Zi paid more attention to Fang Zhongshu(房中术, exactly means sexual intercourse) . In East Han Dynasty, Wang Fu(王阜), a civilian of Chengdu unified the Dao and Lao Zi in his article named Stele of Lao Zi and Deity(老子圣母碑), and he regarded Lao Zi as an immortal created by the heaven and earth. This was considered to be the rudiment of The Creation of Taoism. During the reign of Emperor Huandi in East Han Dynasty, Lao Zi was regarded to be the ancestor of the immortals, and Emperor Huandi also sacrificed for himself to Lao Zi. In Taoism, Lao Zi was crowned to be Tai Shang Lao Jun and honored as The Emperor of Hunyuan (混元皇帝, Hunyuan is a term meaning the situation before the world appears) as well as The Daode Tianzun(道德天尊, The Supernatural Being of Taoism)