Tao or Dao (/taʊ/, /daʊ/) is a Chinese concept signifying 'way', 'path', 'route', or sometimes more loosely, 'doctrine' or 'principle'. Within the context of traditional Chinese philosophy and religion, The Tao is the intuitive knowing of "life" that of which cannot be grasped full-heartedly as just a concept but known nonetheless through actual living experience of one's everyday being.
The Tao signifies the primordial essence or fundamental nature of the universe. The teachings began from Laozi that gave rise to a religion (Wade–Giles, Tao Chiao; Pinyin, Daojiao) and philosophy (Wade–Giles, Tao chia; Pinyin, Daojia) referred to in English with the single term Taoism. In the foundational text of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching, Laozi explains that Tao is not a 'name' for a 'thing' but the underlying natural order of the universe whose ultimate essence is difficult to circumscribe due to it being non conceptual yet evident in one's being of aliveness. The Tao is "eternally nameless” (Dao De Jing-32. Laozi) and to be distinguished from the countless 'named' things which are considered to be its manifestations, the reality of life before its descriptions of it.
The concept of Tao differs from conventional (western) ontology: it is an active and holistic conception of Nature, rather than a static, atomistic one. It is worth comparing to the original Logos of Heraclitus, c. 500 BC.
Example via www.ramdass.org: “Tao Te Ching” by Lao Tzu
Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: The Way of Life