Number Of Adherents In Taosim

Discussion in 'Tao' started by Silverbackman, May 8, 2006.

  1. Silverbackman

    Silverbackman Prince Of Truth

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    How many adherents are there in Taoism. I have seen estimates from 2 million to 30 million. How many Taoists are there?
     
  2. AletheiaRivers

    AletheiaRivers New Member

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    I'm certainly not an expert, but I imagine that the huge difference between those two numbers may be due to whether one combines or seperates religious Taoism from philosophical Taoism. I also wonder if the numbers would include "nominal" Taoists?
     
  3. AletheiaRivers

    AletheiaRivers New Member

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    Here's a blurb I found on Wiki:

    The number of "Taoists" is difficult to estimate, partly for definitional reasons (who counts as a Taoist?), and partly for practical ones (it is illegal for private parties to conduct surveys in China). The number of people practicing some aspect of the Chinese folk religion might number in the hundreds of millions. (Adherents.com estimates "Traditional Chinese religion" at nearly four hundred million). The number of people patronising Daoshi (Taoist "priests" or masters) would be smaller by several orders of magnitude, while the number of literary Daojia would be smaller yet. At the same time, most Chinese people and many others have been influenced in some way by Taoist tradition.
     
  4. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    If anyone out there is interested in a highly readable and understandable translation of the Tao Te Ching, I would recommend Stephen Mitchell's translation which was published in the 80's. It's one of my favorite volumes as it brings unique insights to the reader from both science and belief systems.

    flow....:)
     
  5. jiii

    jiii ...

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    The entry posted by AletheiaRivers hits the problem right on the head. It is a common misconception among Westerners that Taoism is a specific spiritual doctrine. Although this is true in that there is a Taoist orthodoxy, the term Taoist is often used to refer to many types of people also called Taoists. Take, for instance, the adherents of the philosophical principles of Lao-Tzu, Chuang-Tzu, Lieh-Tzu, and the like. These people were not Taoists in the way that the Pope is Catholic. They weren't really even called Taoists in their time, and didn't consider themselves to be Taoists. There was also the Hsien Taoists, which were much different from the philosophical Taoists and the orthodox Taoists. Their goal as Taoists was to achieve immortality through a series of hygenic, dietary, and ritualistic practices.

    Furthermore, even Confucius wrote about the Tao. Though, I believe few people will call him a Taoist, as Confucianism is more likely the appropriate categorization.

    To ask how many Taoists there are is like asking how many followers of Abrahamic Religions there are. Although one might be able to give an approximation, much more accuracy is gained by specifying the particular variety that is in question. An answer may be easier to achieve if you specify what type of Taoism your interested in...
     
  6. alphone

    alphone New Member

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    I'm also interested in this.
     

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