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Practicing Taoism - The Western Approach

If you ask someone how Taoism is practiced, you get a response like: going to the temple, praying, offering sacrifices, keep a diet, etc. These aspects are not lacking in other religions in general. We also find them in Christianity.

But we also know of a "way" called tao-chia (the school of Tao or uniting with Tao) that has nothing in common with a religious system. Its teachings, inspired by the Taoist masters like Lao-tzu, are based on seemingly odd practices such as nondoing and emptiness.

Unite d in Tao pictureUnity with Tao is not something one can reach by simply thinking of it or meditate upon its philosophical aspect. One must practice the Way as taught by the ancient Masters in order to accomplish this goal.

We know what nondoing and emptiness mean but not their daily practice. You might even wonder if there is any chance of practicing them in our everyday life.

The question is justified if you know the meaning of the word "practice" ascribed by our modern schools, i.e. the development of intellectual aptitudes and, in general, the accumulation of knowledge continued all our life long.

When I am asked if we can practice Taoism, I answer yes and no. Yes, we can practice nondoing and emptiness, and no, because these practices do not grant us new intellectual abilities, although these practices are related to the mind too (but do not mistake the mind for the intellect!).

I have been asked for an online course to deal with these practices, and generally I was asked how we can apply Taoist teaching in our everyday life. I wrote such a course that I entitled Tao Practice in the Day to Day Life!

I have provided more information about it on our Taoist forum at http://forum.laotzu.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=35. Please read and comment if you wish to.

Note that such a course is unique on the Net because it is very difficult to systematize a Western modern practice based on the ancient teachings of Taoism.

You may find more about the course at http://www.taopage.org/taoism_practice.html.

Paper by Jhian


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