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Thread: Basic Taoist belifs

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    Basic Taoist belifs

    I was wondering if anybody here could clear up a couple things about Taoism which I think is an interesting religion. I often wonder why they call it a philosophy and not a religion even though Taoism has a pantehon of deities, like the Jade Emperor and the Three Pure Ones. The afterlife is something I am not quite certain about. I hear that Taoists don't believe in an "afterlife realm". Rather, the soul still lives on and you can travel anywhere you want to and travel all over the world and the universe. But I also hear they believe in reincarnation since they believe Lao Tzu will be return in a reincarnated form, so what exactly do they believe about the afterlife? I also hear they don't really have any clothing restrictions or prohibitions but some of them tend to wear robes or wear the Yin Yang symbol around their neck. Taoism is one of the religions that believe life is good while other religions think this life is suffering. I don't think this life is particuraly suffering. It's really what you make of it. There's many good and bad things here. It's kind of strange that this world is suffering? So why was I brought to this existence in the first place? I was born here, just so I can escape here? That's what I like about Taoism is that it doesn't focus so much on the afterlife and what I might or might not get in the afterlife. Rather simplicity is the key and living a good life here is important.

    I was wondering if anyone else had imput about Taoism, it's deities, it's belief in the afterlife or it's customs, or if anyone knew any great sites about Taoism.

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    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Taoist belifs

    I'm not sure about Taoism as a religion, but I will say that the Tao Te Ching is one of my favorite spiritual texts, and I keep a copy next to my desk at all times which I flip through on a regular basis.

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    Re: Basic Taoist belifs

    Well, a philosophy can have deity like beings, it becomes a religion when you actually worship them... I don't know enough about Taoism to really know. My educated guess is that most Taoists follow the principles of Taosit belief, but only go that far and don't worship deity like beings, or do religious rituals or the like.

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    Sr. Member Witcher's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Taoist belifs

    There is a massive difference between "philosophical Daoism" and the day-to-day religious workings of Daoism as it exists in East Asia. Religious Daoism (as it is called) is extremely interested in ritual, deities, magic, divination, and other things that it has absorbed by what is often called Chinese Folk Religion. There is a massive collection of Daoist religious texts called the Daozang and the Tao Te Ching/Dao De Jing is a relatively unimportant text in that collection. Most of the texts are what many Westerners would call "superstitious" and have very little, if anything, to do with the philosophical concepts found in the passages of the Dao De Jing.

    There are countless deities in established Daoist communities in East Asia and they vary depending on location and what "school" of Daoism the practitioner identifies with. It is even more complicated when you take into consideration most people wouldn't actually identify with Daoism or the established schools within it. Many would identify as Buddhists even though they incorporate many Daoist rituals and deities into their practice.
    "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft." -1 Samuel 15:23

    "Most witches donít believe in gods. They know that the gods exist, of course. They even deal with them occasionally. But they donít believe in them. They know them too well. It would be like believing in the postman." -Terry Pratchett

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    Re: Basic Taoist belifs

    I always thought Taoism was a religion and a pshilosophy since they worship deities, but I guess the religions side of it is practiced more in the east. I have to ask yet again, because no one has really answered my questions... I was wondering what the basic Taoist beliefs are, like with the afterlife or their customs or what they eat or how they dress or even what kind. The Tao Te Ching I hear is still read by Daoists whether they believe in the deities or not. Daoism is basically a religion with philisophical teachings. Or is Religions Daoism entirely different from Lao Tzu's teachings in the Tao Te Ching? Is it like a different denomination between the 2 or are they the same thing?

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    Re: Basic Taoist belifs

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist View Post
    I always thought Taoism was a religion and a pshilosophy since they worship deities, but I guess the religions side of it is practiced more in the east. I have to ask yet again, because no one has really answered my questions... I was wondering what the basic Taoist beliefs are, like with the afterlife or their customs or what they eat or how they dress or even what kind. The Tao Te Ching I hear is still read by Daoists whether they believe in the deities or not. Daoism is basically a religion with philisophical teachings. Or is Religions Daoism entirely different from Lao Tzu's teachings in the Tao Te Ching? Is it like a different denomination between the 2 or are they the same thing?
    I am also wondering if the Tao Te Ching is rather unimportant, why is considered the most important text of Taoism and was authored by Lao Tzu himself who is also considered to be an incarnation of one of the Three Pure Ones?

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    Re: Basic Taoist belifs

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist View Post
    I am also wondering if the Tao Te Ching is rather unimportant, why is considered the most important text of Taoism and was authored by Lao Tzu himself who is also considered to be an incarnation of one of the Three Pure Ones?
    I love the Tao-Te-Ching. It shows much of the Middle Way.

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    Re: Basic Taoist belifs

    Fundamentally, Taoism is based on the Tao which existed before the Gods and will exist after the Gods. The gods themselves are, in simple terms, enlightened immortal beings that walk with us to help us towards enlightenment. Witcher is correct that there is a difference between philosophical Taoism and religious Taoism ... but even in Religious Taoism it's more about reaching enlightenment than it is about worshiping Gods, which is why I think it's considered more of a philosophy.

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    Re: Basic Taoist belifs

    I considered myself a Taoist for a short period of time in my youth. I never found any religion in it, which is why I moved on.

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    Re: Basic Taoist belifs

    You can live by the Taoist way without worshiping its deities

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