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Taliesin
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« Topic Start: December 20, 2010, 03:24:05 pm »

After finding out about Taoism in the past few days I'm left feeling pretty mind-blown and uncertain. In a way, it just puts a label onto beliefs I already have, and expands them a bit further, and it certainly resonates a lot with me. I'm just a bit unsure what to do now, and hopefully you guys can give me some advice?

Firstly, I don't know if I'd feel right labeling myself as Taoist after only knowing about it for a few days! (But then again, some of the beliefs have been with me for a long time, so in a way I'd just be expanding upon I part of me I hadn't fully explored.) Does anyone have some useful resources or ideas for me to think about to 'make sure'?

Secondly, I'd feel a bit shallow 'becoming' a Taoist, in the sense that I've only been exploring the Celtic side of my spirituality for the past year. I want longevity, and I feel that I'd somehow be devaluing the past year's development by suddenly proclaiming myself as Taoist? I don't want to be someone who 'tries out' every religion under the sun, and I'd think I'd feel like I'm doing this.

And, would it even be possible or viable to combine Celtic polytheism and a semi-Celtic worldview with Taoism?

I guess I need to keep researching until I'm 'sure'. I just worry that I'll end up switching religions every year like I would redecorate a room or something. I don't want that, at all. Taoism is a very deep and meaningful philosophy, and I'd want to treat it as such - not just rush into it superficially.

Sorry guys, this is all a bit of a mess at the minute. I'm not sure what to think. Not sure what my Gods would think, not sure what to do. Like I say, I'm left feeling pretty mind-blown, and it's all still very new. Perhaps I'm rushing into things already by even considering adopting Taoism so soon. Sigh.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this. Smiley

« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 03:27:06 pm by Taliesin » Logged

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« Reply #1: December 20, 2010, 10:51:01 pm »

After finding out about Taoism in the past few days I'm left feeling pretty mind-blown and uncertain. In a way, it just puts a label onto beliefs I already have, and expands them a bit further, and it certainly resonates a lot with me. I'm just a bit unsure what to do now, and hopefully you guys can give me some advice?

Firstly, I don't know if I'd feel right labeling myself as Taoist after only knowing about it for a few days! (But then again, some of the beliefs have been with me for a long time, so in a way I'd just be expanding upon I part of me I hadn't fully explored.) Does anyone have some useful resources or ideas for me to think about to 'make sure'?

Secondly, I'd feel a bit shallow 'becoming' a Taoist, in the sense that I've only been exploring the Celtic side of my spirituality for the past year. I want longevity, and I feel that I'd somehow be devaluing the past year's development by suddenly proclaiming myself as Taoist? I don't want to be someone who 'tries out' every religion under the sun, and I'd think I'd feel like I'm doing this.

And, would it even be possible or viable to combine Celtic polytheism and a semi-Celtic worldview with Taoism?

I guess I need to keep researching until I'm 'sure'. I just worry that I'll end up switching religions every year like I would redecorate a room or something. I don't want that, at all. Taoism is a very deep and meaningful philosophy, and I'd want to treat it as such - not just rush into it superficially.

Sorry guys, this is all a bit of a mess at the minute. I'm not sure what to think. Not sure what my Gods would think, not sure what to do. Like I say, I'm left feeling pretty mind-blown, and it's all still very new. Perhaps I'm rushing into things already by even considering adopting Taoism so soon. Sigh.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this. Smiley



There is religious taoism (or daoism) and there is philosophical taoism.  I don't see where there would be a problem combing the philosophical version with another religion, but the religious one carries with it its own belief in various deities and spirits.

I suggest reading "The Inner Chapters" by Zhuangzi.  This is a pretty important taoist text, and it covers many of the basic philosophical bases.
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« Reply #2: December 21, 2010, 01:12:17 am »


Firstly, I don't know if I'd feel right labeling myself as Taoist after only knowing about it for a few days! (But then again, some of the beliefs have been with me for a long time, so in a way I'd just be expanding upon I part of me I hadn't fully explored.) Does anyone have some useful resources or ideas for me to think about to 'make sure'?


Why label yourself, at this point, if you are not sure?  As someone starting to explore a path, what will labeling yourself, right now allow you to learn, that you can't without the label?  Beyond a inquiry level it may make a difference.  When you are sure or wish to commit, that is the time, to say who you are.

I have looked at belief systems which at first blush, seem to fit, upon looking a little more, there were things that did not resonate with me.  I was not looking when I found what did resonate with me.  It still took some learning about it before, I acknowledged I am a Unitarian Universalist.
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« Reply #3: December 21, 2010, 03:33:15 am »

Firstly, I don't know if I'd feel right labeling myself as Taoist after only knowing about it for a few days!

Labeling yourself isn't permanent.  It isn't a scar.  Adopt the label if you wish until something more appropriate appears.

Kudos to you for continuing exploring.

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Taliesin
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« Reply #4: December 21, 2010, 04:09:37 am »

There is religious taoism (or daoism) and there is philosophical taoism.  I don't see where there would be a problem combing the philosophical version with another religion, but the religious one carries with it its own belief in various deities and spirits.

I suggest reading "The Inner Chapters" by Zhuangzi.  This is a pretty important taoist text, and it covers many of the basic philosophical bases.

Thank you! I'll put it on my wish list. Smiley

Why label yourself, at this point, if you are not sure?  As someone starting to explore a path, what will labeling yourself, right now allow you to learn, that you can't without the label?  Beyond a inquiry level it may make a difference.  When you are sure or wish to commit, that is the time, to say who you are.

I have looked at belief systems which at first blush, seem to fit, upon looking a little more, there were things that did not resonate with me.  I was not looking when I found what did resonate with me.  It still took some learning about it before, I acknowledged I am a Unitarian Universalist.

You know, I suddenly thought the same thing in bed last night. Surely it would make more sense to read and research on a backseat level and then, after a time if I feel it's still right for me then why not? Thank you, I'd got myself into a bit of a panic, haha.

Labeling yourself isn't permanent.  It isn't a scar.  Adopt the label if you wish until something more appropriate appears.

Kudos to you for continuing exploring.

Good point! Heh, and ironically (or not so) the point of 'the name that can be named is not the eternal name' is relevant here. The labels don't meaning anything - they're tools to portray an impression, give a general glimpse of practice. What actually matters is the practice - I should just keep going until I reach the point where I can (or can't) think 'yeah, Taoist fits me.' Thank you guys for your help, sometimes you just need the thoughts of another person to trigger them in yourself. Smiley
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« Reply #5: December 21, 2010, 08:58:19 pm »

After finding out about Taoism in the past few days I'm left feeling pretty mind-blown and uncertain. In a way, it just puts a label onto beliefs I already have, and expands them a bit further,
This is exactly how I feel about Taoism. Smiley It's not something I have to actively "try" to practice. It just describes my perspective and gives me a point of reference for myself when I want to reorient a bit.

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And, would it even be possible or viable to combine Celtic polytheism and a semi-Celtic worldview with Taoism?
Why not? For mine and others' views on this, maybe check out this thread and this thread.

And like others have said, if you don't want to label yourself with it yet, why force it?
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Taliesin
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« Reply #6: December 22, 2010, 07:35:23 am »

Why not? For mine and others' views on this, maybe check out this thread and this thread.

And like others have said, if you don't want to label yourself with it yet, why force it?

Thank you for the links! Actually, what you said on the first thread really hit a mark.

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I consider myself a panentheist and polytheist. I guess the panentheist part of me is the Taoist part... I see divinity, or divine energy, in everything and beyond everything: the best name I have for this is Tao. It's not personified or self-aware.

Then I see the gods as the aware/personified part of that divine energy. This aware divinity may be connected to something physical or be beyond it (wait, or both?!... lol.). Although I hesitate to say I see the gods as the aware manifestation of Tao, that's kind of the best way I have to explain it. Hope that makes sense.

That is essentially the way I see things too. I just... haven't called the divine force Tao before. But reading that, seeing my beliefs put in with Taoism with what you've said here shows me how well it would actually work for me. The more I read or hear about it, the more I think 'wow.' From what I've seen, it's just such a beautiful philosophy.

I think that I am going to take a bit of a backseat, read and contemplate the Tao Te Ching and some other bits, and, when I think I've read enough hopefully I'll feel ready to acknowledge and perhaps accept Taoism.

Thanks again for your help! Smiley
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« Reply #7: December 22, 2010, 11:36:06 am »



For what it's worth, you're apparently having the same kind of experience with Taoism that I did with Buddhism, for several YEARS before I realized--after reading, studying, and more--that I wasn't changing anything about my beliefs. I was just accepting what they'd been, all along.

You're not alone here. :-)
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Taliesin
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« Reply #8: December 22, 2010, 05:46:40 pm »

For what it's worth, you're apparently having the same kind of experience with Taoism that I did with Buddhism, for several YEARS before I realized--after reading, studying, and more--that I wasn't changing anything about my beliefs. I was just accepting what they'd been, all along.

You're not alone here. :-)


Hehe, I'm glad to hear it. Smiley

See, the idea of Buddhism and other similar 'Eastern' philosophies has always appealed to me; they're quite beautiful and poignant in their own way. But at the core, the beliefs just don't fit with me. But Taoism... It's like I've found a missing puzzle piece. (Slightly reluctant to say aloud something like this, just in case it doesn't quite work out, but I think that I would like it to, if I'm honest. Cheesy) I'm trying to stay neutral and not get too far ahead of myself here, but you know when you're excited about something and you can't quite help yourself? Haha. I do hope I'm not getting worked up over nothing.
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'When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy. When action come from another section, the feeling disappears.' - Rumi

'The landscape is always the sand, the sky, the clouds, the sea. Only the waves change, always the same and always different.' - L.E
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« Reply #9: December 22, 2010, 10:08:15 pm »

Hehe, I'm glad to hear it. Smiley

See, the idea of Buddhism and other similar 'Eastern' philosophies has always appealed to me; they're quite beautiful and poignant in their own way. But at the core, the beliefs just don't fit with me. But Taoism... It's like I've found a missing puzzle piece. (Slightly reluctant to say aloud something like this, just in case it doesn't quite work out, but I think that I would like it to, if I'm honest. Cheesy) I'm trying to stay neutral and not get too far ahead of myself here, but you know when you're excited about something and you can't quite help yourself? Haha. I do hope I'm not getting worked up over nothing.

I suggest also reading up on Chinese culture, especially when the texts were written.  For example, "The Inner Chapters" were written during a time of war, and in that context, the philosophy tends to make more sense.  Also, it would be a good idea to get a background in Confucianism, because it helps put a lot of Taoist ideas into perspective, as well as give insight into the culture.
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Taliesin
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« Reply #10: December 23, 2010, 08:20:29 am »

I suggest also reading up on Chinese culture, especially when the texts were written.  For example, "The Inner Chapters" were written during a time of war, and in that context, the philosophy tends to make more sense.  Also, it would be a good idea to get a background in Confucianism, because it helps put a lot of Taoist ideas into perspective, as well as give insight into the culture.

Thank you, Nimue. These are good ideas!
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'When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy. When action come from another section, the feeling disappears.' - Rumi

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« Reply #11: December 27, 2010, 01:17:51 pm »

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this. Smiley

I've been waiting to reply to this until I had somewhat more time to put towards giving coherent input. First off, you sound to be in pretty much the same position I was in when I first discovered the Dao de Jing about 3 years back. At the time (and still) I didn't feel comfortable adopting the label "Daoist" because, while my beliefs tied in very well with the Dao de Jing and the writings of Chuang Tzu and others, I did not follow the same set of practices as make up the modern religion referred to as Daoism, nor did I have sufficient exposure to that practice to really know anything about it. Additionally, I simply didn't have enough information about Daoism in general and wasn't sure where I could get that information.

Others in this thread have already made the very good point that there are two quite distinct forms of Daoism, philosophical and religious Daoism. The first is the one to which Westerners are most frequently exposed and what you appear to be referring to. The second is a traditional religion which is common in parts of China. Both have roots in the Dao de Jing and other common texts, but in most other senses they're pretty different. Personally, I came to the conclusion that I was not alright with referring to myself as Daoist when your average born and raised Daoist would have barely any idea what I was talking about if I tried to explain my religious practice to them. That said, I'm not saying you shouldn't make the complete opposite decision (it's hardly a clear cut dilemma), just be aware that it is a decision.

For me, the question was largely solved when I stumbled into Buddhism. With Buddhism I didn't have the same conundrums as I had had with Daoism as I had access with a lineaged teacher and temple. I started attending somewhat by accident and found that Buddhism also blended very well with my beliefs. Buddhism and Daoism have a long history of being combined in parts of China and Buddhism and philisophical Daoism actually fit together rather well as Buddhism (or, at least, Tendai Buddhism) mostly addresses religious and life practices (it's extremely orthopraxic) to the extent of leaving the existence of gods, etc as a 'we don't know, we don't care' point, where philosophical Daoism mostly addresses belief (and, where it addresses practice, its practice fits well with that of Buddhism).

I'm not saying you should look into Buddhism, but do consider possible ways of getting lineaged teaching or, at least, reading up on religious Daoism. Religious Daoist practices are really quite interesting and a great basis for your own ritual and practice. Of course, if you'd rather take philisophical Daoism outside of its cultural/religious/traditional envelope, that's also a perfectly viable approach. Just, be aware that that cultural/religious context does exist and those who follow it may not really recognize what you do as Daoism.
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« Reply #12: January 04, 2011, 01:29:40 pm »


Kasmira, just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten about this thread/your post - I just need some time to come up with a semi-coherent reply! Thank you for your input though, you've given me some food for thought. Smiley
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