Welcome to The Path of Water

This site is dedicated to exploring the Tao and Philosophical Taoism; and how it relates to everyday modern life in the 21st Century. It also includes posts relating to how I feel Taoism can provide insights for dealing with the problems of everyday living.

The process of writing out my thoughts helps me to explore what I believe and why, so these posts will probably develop over time. I hope that you'll find this site interesting and, for those of you new to the Tao and Taoism, I hope that it can provide you with a first step on the path to a rich spiritual life. If you want to post comments relating to a post or the site as a whole I'd be grateful as all feedback is helpful.

Enjoy your visit - In Tao - Woody

Who would follow the Way must go beyond words.
Who would know the world must go beyond names. *

No man ever steps in the same river twice,
for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. **

Thursday, 5 February 2009

How to become a Taoist

I want to write a couple of short posts about becoming a Taoist and what I see as the benefits. Firstly I'll concentrate on becoming a Taoist.

For philosophical Taoists there's no ceremony, initiation or exam required before you can consider yourself a Taoist, but I do believe that there's a process. Taoism is about a journey of self-discovery, or more correctly self-rediscovery, a rediscovery and acceptance of your true nature while stripping away the baggage, preconceptions and misconceptions that you've collected growing up or in adult life. Through this journey you begin to experience reality in a different way and find that the highs and lows of life have less impact upon you.

So at what stage do you become a Taoist? Well, you'll find that lots of Taoists say something like "...and then I realised that I'd been a Taoist for ages, but just didn't know it!" In my experience, for most people, by the time they come across Taoism or the Tao Te Ching they're already on the journey and just recognise in Taoism something that they've understood on some level for ages. However I believe that there's an extra step beyond this recognition before you should consider yourself a Taoist, and that's taking the step of deciding to actively engage with Taoism and to decide to live your life exploring what this means.


The Rambling Taoist said...

I think you covered that very well! I'd add some more words, but what else can I say?

Woody said...

I thought the post was going to be longer but what's there says pretty much all of it :-)

The Crow said...

There are so many other things you could have said.
But didn't need to :)

Just A Ride said...

Hi Woody, I just want to clarify whether a ceremony is required in order to receive or practice tao? I know you have mentioned there is no ceremony involved, but a friend of mine who is tao mentioned that one needs to undergo a ceremony where food and tea is consumed, pledge/oath to say you a dedicated to practice or receive tao and finally your birth name is burnt to create a bond with tao ( sorry can't rmb the exact words).
Would this be correct or one can be tao by applying the principles of tao?

Thank you.

Woody said...

Hi Just A Ride. Interesting question.

Do you need a ceremony to feel the wind on your face?
Does a bird need a ceremony to catch a worm?
Does a tree need a ceremony to grow fruit?

All of these are part of the Tao. why should a human need a ceremony?

The answer of course is because we feel we need something special because we feel that we are disconnected and so need a ritual to reconnect. This is an illusion. It is just another part of the 10,000 things.

My understanding is that many forms of religious Taoism have rules or ceremonies, but these are just human constructs. Do them by all means if you feel they are important to you - as long as you understand that they make no difference except, perhaps, in your mind.

Just A Ride said...

Hi Woody,
Thank you for your response. I am new to tao, I have been briefly browsing through your blog entries and have come across your other site/forum. What/where else would you suggest would be a good place to learn more about tao?

Thank you

Woody said...

Hi Just A ride

the Tao is everywhere - so it's lessons are everywhere

Personally - as a beginning I would read 4 books - each of which have something different to offer. I'd read them in the order presented as each leads nicely on to the next depth-wise..

1 - The Tao of Pooh & The Te of Piglet - Benjamin Hoff
2 - A Path and a Practice: Using Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching as a Guide to an Awakened Spiritual Life - William Martin
3 - 365 Tao - Ming-Dao Deng
4 - Tao: The Watercourse Way - Alan Watts

...but if you were to read only one I'd go for Path and a Practice - amazing book

I'd also recommend you go to the key sources - The Tao Te Ching and the Chuang Tzu. There are various translations - you should read through several until you find one o two that connect with you. have a look at these websites....