Taoism is a category of religion that fits the concept of Tao. What is the meaning of Tao? That is what you need to understand to get the true meaning of Taoism and how Taoism stands out from other religious paths.
The word Tao / Dao 道 (Doe – in Cantonese) is very simple. Basically it’s a character for a boat that carries a “head” 首. The characters would literally translate as, “something that carries the head to sail forward”, like the leader of a leader.
Taoists believe in the theory of Tao, and that there is always something bigger than yourself which can lead you and help you move toward a certain destiny. The Tao is NOT “the way”; rather, the Tao creates the way for you, and guides you to sail along.
We are the boss of ourselves, since we get to control our life with our wisdom, thinking and action. However, what are the bigger forces that carry us forward? As you might have realized already, nature contains us, and we are being driven by nature. The four seasons cycle and we must adopt to nature’s changes in order to survive. Therefore, Taoism is mainly surrounding the teachings of nature, and discovering what’s beyond ourselves that is carrying us forward.
Different Types of Taoism
There are many different types of Taoism, which results in different sects and lineages. Every one of them might be similar in some way, but they are not the same, and that is why they have different names.
The main concept is “Tao”, which is the leader that can lead a leader. You can simply say, that we are finding something that is greater than ourselves, which can lead us and carry us to a certain destiny. It can be anything, be it nature, or some sort of “Gods or Deities”, and it all depends on what the sect or lineage have discovered according to their fate and experiences.
In general, Taoists will have some common practice such as burning incense, maintaining an altar at home, and doing rituals, rites, and some sort of daily practice as their form of cultivation. However, because they have chosen different “Tao” to lead them, their destiny and paths will vary, and none of them shares the same path, which allows people to choose what fits them the best. Variety in nature opens up choices for everyone, and that’s the beauty of nature.
There are many different approaches and forms among all the Taoist sects and lineages today. Some emphasize on this more, and some emphasize on that more. However, it all comes to what makes the most sense “for you" specifically, and what fits you best.
Being with One
Taoism emphasizes on “One”, and the word one here means – to connect. How can anything “start” in nature? It starts when things connect, then there will be interaction. When you have connected to the internet, you will start using it. When you connect to this blog post, you will start to read it.
When you have gotten to the stage of “one" with your Tao, meaning that you have found and connected to the “Tao” of your choice, then everything will start to flow. However, if you have not made up your mind yet, and are still trying to decide which “one” to go for, you will never really connect to anything. While you are still trying to decide what to do next, there is nothing really happening. Therefore, the first step for a Taoist to become a Taoist, is to find their “Tao”.
Asking for the “Kau Doe” 求道, is to see which Tao accepts you, and which Tao you like to follow. There are so many paths that are all categorized as Taoism, not all will fit your taste, and not all will be willing to accept you.
After you have found your Tao, then it’s time to make the decision, which is to get into the Tao, “Yup-Doe” 入道, which is to get ordained and be part of the Tao’s system. At this stage, it’s all about submitting and committing to the path you have chosen. Being honest, and giving your best to commit to this path, which allows you to then start to receive the teachings from this path.
The Concept of Tao and Te
The concept of Tao and Te is actually very simple. The Tao provides and give resources to you, and Te is the other way around, which is to give back to where you take from, giving back to the Tao. We have a full lecture on that on YouTube too.
As a Taoist, we must have a strong foundation on our Tao and Te mindset, because we know that nature is always trying its best to balance things out. When things are out of balance, hiccups and chaos will follow. If you just eat and do not poop, you will have problems! We suggest you read our “concluding article” about how our disciples start with their basic Tao Te cycle while learning in the lineage!
Taoism - Our Lineage
Our lineage is categorized as Taoism, not because we are associated with China or their government’s campaign, but because we do follow the same principle and pattern of what Taoism is about.
In our lineage, we believe in the ternary forces of nature, which we call Saam Law, that this pre-heaven force in deep-nature powers everything, and drives the whole system to operate in a never-ending cycle. It creates life, fuels life, and also recycles life back to nature for future creation.
We are categorized as Taoism, because our belief is that there is this great force in the deep-nature, which is our Tao. This Tao is not your ordinary Tao, it is greater than your own Tao, and it carries us to bring us to our destiny.
Knowledge and wisdom is the king, there is nothing that is better than understanding why you are a Taoist and why the path you follow is categorized as Taoism.
Once you have ordained into our lineage, you are a Taoist! It’s not just because you “dressed up” like one, or you paid for some e-books and a certificate, but because you are one for real.
You can get ordained to become a Taoist today, and inherit the wisdom and power of Saam Law.