Essay by fayannac December 2002

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Being a Chinese, I am surprised to see that Taoism is defined as a kind of religions and introduced in this humanities class that is comparing different world religions. Though I know that I do not learn about Taoism very well, I always thought I am correct that Taoism is a philosophy, rather than a religion, as far as I am a Chinese where the Taoism is found. To me, the Gods and Goddesses, like Emperor Jade, in religious Taoism are merely characters in fairy tales. I have never thought that these characters in myths would mean God of certain religion. And hence, I always thought Taoism is not a religion at all, but a philosophy that about life style. However, I was wrong. Taoism is in fact classified as religious Taoism and philosophical Taoism.

Contrary to religious Taoism and other world religions, I think philosophical Taoism has greater impact on his believers.

It does not changes one habits in living as there are no religious habits or religious ceremonies at all. What that Taoism really changes his followers are their inner self, their idea about life and the universe. Taoism tells people how they can live and how their life can go on like. It is just a way of thinking and living harmony with nature. Taoism is never a religion. There is no Gods, deities, rituals, altars, or ceremonies for people to follow; there are no disciplines or regularities that people need to practice; there are no promises on the result of following this belief or punishment on not following certain disciplines.

Our learning of Taoism is basically coming from the book written by Lao Tze, Tao De Jing. Very different from the 'holly book' in other world religions, like Bible and Qu'ran in Christianity and...