Taoist monks

Are there any Taoist monks here? I’m thinking of robe- wearing ??. I haven’t seen a one in the two years I’ve been here. Is Taoism here completely laicized?

[Moderator’s note: This question is not by me but from a post by Grizzly that I have moved into its own thread.]

There are quite a few Daoist monks here but for the most part they are laicized. This has to do with the sect of Daoism that is practised in Taiwan - Zhengyi Tianshi (Orthodox Celestial Masters). They are mostly home based, and called in to do rituals of various sorts at temples etc,. However, they still take their practice quite seriously, and often do not have full-time day jobs.

Now, there is also the Quanzhen (complete reality) sect, which is probably more what you are thinking (robes and topknot ala Wudangshan). There are a few Quanzhen monastaries in Taiwan, and I think even a Quanzhen school of a sorts at Zhinan Gong in Mucha. However, Quanzhen is more of a Mainland China thing, although presently it is in a sad state of affairs.



Thanks for the info Tssuila. Since this is your forte might I trouble you for some recomended reading on Taoism? My knowledge in this regard is basically limited to the Daodejing, Zhuangzi, and what I picked up over the course of studying Buddhism and Chinese history.

I agree about the state of Taoism on the Mainland. Even in traditional strongholds I only saw a few monks and things looked pretty run down. Any idea why Buddhism has made a somewhat better comeback?


Hey Grizzly,

There are quite a few books in Taiwan on Daoism, though most of the ones in English are of the Daodejing and Zhuangzi variety. If you are daring, there are a couple of good histories out by Taiwanese scholars … look for any book with the title, “Zhongguo Daojiao shi”. I must apologize for the lack of Chinese characters in my post, but my OS is mainland Chinese (simplified) Win98, and I am not sure of the effect if I post here in BG. Anyways, soon enough I should be getting ADSL on my desktop, which will alleviate this problem.

As to good English books on Daoism, anything by Stephen Bokenkamp, specifically, “Early Daoist Scriptures”. This is a great book with an excellent introduction section explaining sects and their beliefs, followed by individual sections on specific texts. Very good stuff. Good luck finding it here though. If you really want it, I do have it here, we could make a trip down to a copy shop together …

As well, anything by Isabelle Robinet. Her “Taoism: Growth of a Religion” is a very good, although somewhat brief (only about 300 pages)history of Daoism. However, finding it here would be close to impossible, put I can only offer the same solution as above, or order both on-line I guess.

As to the “why” of Buddhism being somewhat more successful … I think it is a sad reality that Buddhism sells better than Daoism. Religion in the Mainland has for the most part, been permitted to exist because it seems to be good for tourism. Buddhism has a better track record (look at the popularity of the Shaolin si), and therefore gets more money, support, etc. Just my thoughts after living there for six months, but I think they are relatively accurate.



Nice books have been recommended here, especially if you are going into some scholarly enquiries on Taoism or if you need to read yourself to sleep.

Perhaps you should buy or browse the cartoons drawn by Tsai Chih Chung on Taoism. You may enjoy his works a lot more and you will not learn any less (if you are still into learning)

If you can find ‘7 Taoist Masters’ translated by Eva Wong, beg, borrow or steal it for your guidance on the Path.

Try the books on Taoism by John Blofeld. He was a guy living and travelling in China 50-60 years back and his books live and breath Taoism.