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Info about Taoism please?

Who are the diety(s) and prophets of Taoism? Are there any sacred places or texts? What are their major beliefs?


  1. There are no deities or prophets of Taoism. It is more of a philosophy than religion. The basic book, the Tao Teh Ching has been translated into English and is quite short.
    The basic tenet can be summarized as “Do not strive against the Way”.

  2. There are in effect two types of Taoism. Firstly that practiced in the East which has a number of diffferent deities, sects, temples and priests. And secondly the philosophical form practiced by many in the West.
    On the first I cannot comment, since it is not my practice. But of the second I guess you could sumarise it like this: What is Taoism? Put simply, Taoists believe that there is a ‘pattern’, a ‘flow’ to the Universe. We can see this in the changing of the seasons, the natural rhythms of the world. Taoism stresses the ‘natural’, things being as they are meant to be. Taoists believe that we can harmonise ourselves with the Universe, the Tao, our lives will go more smoothly than if we act against it.
    Taoists are not big on scripture. They believe that instinct, common sense, ‘following one’s heart’ are more effective ways of living than trying to follow a set of rules. In fact Taoists say that the Tao itself is beyond description. Beyond understanding even. Hence Taoist texts tend to be poetic, giving a flavour of Tao rather than trying to pin it down. The Tao Te Ching is the best known of these. Supposedly written by a chap called Lao Tsu.
    Taoists believe in living with compassion, simply, modestly. They are not big on standing out or being ‘part’ of something. The Taoist ideal is to live to ones heart.
    That’s it. In a biggish nutshell.


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