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(1) (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) A blockchain-based association that is run by its members, who each get one vote. Although all rules and financial records of a DAO are maintained on the blockchain, a DAO appears to have ambiguous legal status. The Dash cryptocurrency is run by a DAO, and many other groups have organized as a DAO (see The DAO, ConstitutionDAO, Endaoment and Dash).

(2) (Data Access Objects) A programming interface for data access from Microsoft. DAO/Jet provides access to the Jet database, and DAO/ODBCDirect provides an interface to ODBC databases via RDO. DAO is a COM object. See RDO, ADO, OLE DB and ODBC. See also disc-at-once.
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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Dao, sometimes spelled Tao, can be roughly translated to mean "the way." But no definition really captures the all-encompassing meaning of Dao. In the very first line of the Dao De Jing (or Tao Te Ching), Lao Tzu writes:

The way (Dao) that can be spoken of Is not the constant way; The name that can be named Is not the constant name. The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth; The named was the mother of the myriad creatures. Hence always rid yourself of desires in order to observe its secrets; But always allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its manifestations.

In China, if you ask what the Dao is, you will probably get the nebulous answer, "All ten thousand things." But in the West, if a practical definition of following the Dao could be attempted, it would probably say something like this: Daoism is the way to live the way.

The Dao is everything there is and the force that both brought it into existence and sustains it. In this sense, Dao is a noun. But it is also a verb. The Dao sustains everything and operates within the universe not only in its active, creating and sustaining force, but in the daily, moment-by-moment practice of all that live in it. It is at once everything and nothing, tangible and intangible.

The symbol of the Dao is the circle, divided into two halves. It is sometimes described as being two interlocking fish, one white, one black. But within the white fish is a black spot and within the black fish, a white spot. One symbolizes yin: the feminine, intuitive, instinctive force, the strength of which lies in yielding. Its sign is the tiger, and its celebration is at the time of the spring and fall equinoxes. The other symbolizes yang: the masculine, analytical, objective force the strength of which is in power and attack. Its sign is the dragon, seen in the parades of new year and midsummer festivals held in Chinese villages.

It should be emphasized here that the Western and Eastern dragon are two completely different symbols. In the West the dragon is a negative symbol. Western mythology sees the dragon as an evil force involved in two principal activities: dragons steal treasures and maidens. They don't do anything with either of them. They just guard them. In order to obtain the dragon's hoard and rescue the maiden, the gallant knight has to slay the dragon. Western psychological therapy consists of slaying the dragons of fear and resentment that guard the gold and innocence of our inner life. By skillful counseling, the therapist coaxes the dragon out into the light of day where it can be defeated, releasing the inner secrets of potentiality languishing in the caves of the psyche.

Eastern dragons, however, represent vitality. They are the masculine in both male and female that roars out into daylight, thumping its chest, ready for whatever challenges await.

In the West, snakes, a diminutive form of dragons, have always been something to destroy. In India, priestesses will actually lure a snake out of its lair and kiss it three times on the head to bring rain to the parched earth.

The principle of yin/yang is the basis of martial arts. Power is met with yielding, and yielding with power. Yin and yang operate as well within the human body, which must have feminine and masculine energy at balance in order to be healthy and strong.

Daoism as a religion is very ancient but has proved to be flexible, adapting with the times. A huge body of Daoist scripture exists. The Tao-tsang (Daoist canon) consists of more than one thousand volumes compiled over fifteen centuries. It is a mixture of Daoist, Buddhist, and Manichaean texts, with some Christian material thrown in for good measure.

Although myth and legend shroud Lao Tzu, ever since the fourth century BCE he has been studied, venerated, and sometimes worshiped, a fact that probably would have irritated the historical Lao Tzu no end. But his impact and his writings cannot be emphasized enough. The Dao permeates Confucianism, Buddhism, martial arts, New Age religion, and the Star Wars movies.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.

dao, paldao

A variegated colored wood from the Philippines and New Guinea, having shades of gray, green, yellow, brown, and pink with dark streaks; moderately hard, heavy; used for cabinets, plywood, and interior finish.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.