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Is "Taoism" a Religion?


Is “Taoism” a religion?

Read PART 1 first

Students ask Grandmaster:

“Why does Tao allow evil thinking to take over and lead the whole world to its destruction?”

But he explains that the question they ask comes from a classic misunderstanding in western religion.

They are still looking at God like a father figure, who judges morals and gets involved with every small detail of their lives. It’s not quite like that.

It’s not that Tao reaches down to deliberately hurt people, or that it withholds any goodness back.
God is constantly broadcasting a signal of balance, healing, mercy, nourishing and help.

The trouble is that we cannot hear it. We can’t or won’t tune into that frequency. Only people can hurt themselves. Our “sin”, our disconnection, makes it so that we cannot see, cannot hear, cannot taste, and cannot feel truth.

If you calm down and get rid of your sin – the artificial pollution, karma and bad energy that separates you from God’s signal — suddenly you can hear, taste, see and know the right way to proceed to restore harmony and balance to your life.

The original energy of God is nothing like what we imagine, and it doesn’t always necessarily match up with our rules of fairness, or our expectations of what mercy is.

We think God watches, gets involved in our personal affairs and controls this or that based on what we like or don’t like. Then we get angry at God, or disbelieve in God, because God doesn’t act according to our expectations and our little rules. If we erase our misconceptions about how God does or doesn’t act in our world, we can begin to see the truth.

The energy of Tao is perfectly balanced and constantly at work trying to balance everything in the universe.

BUT NOTE: When God works for balance and harmony, it takes into account all life, all beings, all dimensions, all of time, and all of creation.

If the Tao can be talked about, it is not the ultimate Tao.

If the Name can be referred to, it is no longer the real name.

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.

The named is the mother of ten thousand things.

-Tao Te Ching

(Translated by Grandmaster Waysun Liao,
from his book Nine nights with the Taoist Master.)

When “Taoism” became a religion.

Everyone connects Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching with Taoism.

But Lao Tzu did not invent Tao wisdom, nor did he start “Taoism”. As Buddha did not start Buddhism, or Jesus Christianity, for example.

“Lao Tzu was just one of the first to write about Tao wisdom in a powerful and concise way.

The words of the Tao Te Ching seem mysterious and hard to understand for many readers. But once you learn more about the way of God, Lao Tzu’s words will become clearer to you.

I often tell my students to read and re-read the Tao Te Ching 10,000 times if necessary. Even if you do not understand it, there is something deep inside of you that will understand.” Grandmaster Liao tells us.

It’s important to note that what Lao Tzu writes about in the Tao Te Ching is not necessarily the same thing as today’s “Taoism.”

The cultural religion called “Taoism” combined Lao Tzu’s teaching with other spiritual teachings that were popular in the centuries after Lao Tzu’s death.

These were mixed with local superstitions and even forms of sorcery in some instances, to create many different and complicated branches of today’s “Taoism.”

Some Taoist sects even turned Lao Tzu himself into a “god,” although nowhere does Lao Tzu make such claims about himself. 

To truly understand Tao as the way of God, put aside what you know and what you’ve heard about “Taoism”.

In fact, putting aside everything you think you know is the very best way to approach Tao.

The Tao is invisible, but its power is infinite.
Though it appears unfathomable, it appears as if it is the source of ten thousand things.

-Tao Te Ching
(From Grandmaster`s translation in Nine nights with the Taoist Master. )

Who were the “Taoists” ?

If I force you, either by education or military power, to pledge your loyalty to king and country first, then you may be able to participate in a state-sanctioned religion, but you cannot worship the real God. In order to worship the real God, you must be totally free.

If you are under the constant influence and mental pollution of outside control, then you will inevitably fail to reach the pure frequency necessary to reach the true original God.

– Grandmaster Waysun Liao.

If you are under the constant influence and mental pollution of outside control, then you will inevitably fail to reach the pure frequency necessary to reach the true original God.

– Grandmaster Waysun Liao.

For thousands of years, the system of political rule in China was based on brutality and corruption. Those who cared nothing about authority and were dedicated to truth, carried on the spirit of Tàijí philosophy. They applied the idea of a natural harmony to the development of the body and mind to their lives.

Those people, who were dedicated to the truth, called themselves Taoists or mountain men/women, living a life similar to that of a monk.

They often lived in the mountains, away from the busy villages and towns.

The government didn’t bother to go find them or tax them or force them to go to war. What the mountain men did or didn’t do was irrelevant to most people in the town. The mountain men lived so far outside of regular society, and rarely came into contact with town folks.

The seclusion of the mountain men and women’s small groups allowed their minds to remain unoccupied by the world’s artificial values or interpretations.

They could better focus on their own internal energy and what was necessary for reconnecting to God from a young age.

The old Taoists called themselves “Shan Ren” meaning: “real men/women” or “people concerned with what is real”.

The fact that they considered themselves “real” implied that the other people living day-to-day in human society were not “real”.

The Taoists found that living in society meant being occupied by the artificial ideas and activities that served to cut people off from their own original nature and the Tao.

In the old days, the ancient Tao wisdom could flourish because people could establish these small temple-like communities far away from the world’s activity.

Since Tàijí formed it’s own independent system and had nothing to do with political structures, it was able to enjoy growth and freedom of development, even if only in small, isolated communities of dedicated men and women. This discipline applied the original Tàijí principles in a progressive, organized manner.

One of the reasons that the old temple system collapsed, is that as civilization grew, government control spread deeper and wider.

It became increasingly difficult to operate outside of that government’s influence and control.

Whether they liked it or not, government affairs and politics started rubbing up closer and closer against the temples and spiritual communities.

Eventually government influence and control seeped in.

In the end, conflict erupted and many temples were torn down or burned to the ground by government armies, and many of the mountain men and women/monks were killed.

“Today, it is even worse.

Where can you go to escape the tax collector, the police department, the census bureau, the post office, the news, the Internet, or any of our human society’s long tentacles? It is virtually impossible. 


Instead, we are forced to find ways to work toward a lifestyle where we can live within human society, but not be pulled into the fakeness of it to the point that it controls or occupies our minds.”

Further explains Grandmaster.

We must try to do as Jesus said:
“Be in the world, but not of it.”

That’s why Jesus said such things as:
“Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

Find a way to live inside the system, but stay detached.
(The monk’s type of detachment is not “escapism” like we may find in the pop-psychology and self-help version of detachment.)


Do what’s minimally necessary to get along in the world’s artificial system and keep it off your back, and reserve the rest of your life for God.
Use those systems when you have to, but don’t be occupied or used by them.

That’s one of the aims of the new-generation Temple of our tradition, Qixing Tàijí Tào Temple (monastery, community, and nonprofit charity), at Lake Atitlán, Guatemala.

We need to work constantly toward cleaning and purifying our energy so that we are not fooled by all the noise out there.

That’s why many of those great religions originally tried to tell us to worship only the real God. They tried to point the right way so that you wouldn’t get confused.




Learn more about Grandmaster Liao

Grandmaster Liao, with the help of some of his students and students’ students, is now sharing this ancient technique, that he himself learned as a child in the traditional way, from his Master in his native Taiwan.

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