What is Tao NOT?

Tao isn’t a force in itself. It is the recognition of the universe.

Tao isn’t a thing, it isn’t an object, or even a concept. It merely is our ability to work with the universe.

What is Tao?

Tao-yinyang“Tao is seen in the meriade of things.”

Tao is a concept. It is not an entity, it is not a force. It is a concept of explaining the universe from a dualistic behavior. This behavior is observed by the two underlying/deeper concepts: Yin and Yang.

Basically meaning, that Tao is in everything. Tao is the concept of a unification of matter and energy into a dual relationship (Yin and Yang).

What are Yin and Yang?

Most simple definition of Yin and Yang:

Yin is the direction of anything that is building up, inflowing. Yang is the direction of anything outgoing, explosive. (This is why some accidentally think that yin is female: building a child).

This is what I teach my students (to extend). I always keep it to understandable and reusable things. The deficient and excess yin and yang are from TCM. They are explainable in use of force when in a situation of conflict (verbal and non-verbal), but it takes some time before students get to a degree of being aware of it. The biggest problem with modern day MA and TCM and actually global ‘understanding’  of the concepts of yin and yang, is that they are connected to gender force: Yin=female and yang=male. This is totally WRONG. If you see something being stated like that, be very critical about its source. It is someone who doesn’t understand it. 

How do Tao and Yin/Yang relate?

Tao encompasses everything. All things you can see and all things you can’t see. This includes Energy and matter in the universe, but also the effects of things on eachother.

Yin and Yang are the concept of the effects everything in the universe has on itself and one another.

Tao can be perceived in the the working of Yin and Yang. Meaning, you can see that which is and which is not, through observing movement, existing objects and forces at work. Like Newton found gravity, though not visible, there are many more forces we find out are in action. That is the way the universe works, as such the concept Tao is meant, both in physical and cognitive.

‘Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence
Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations’

Tao Te Ching – Translation taoism.net – Derek Lin

Is Taoism a religion?

In my eyes, Taoism, as it is the heart of the chinese people, isn’t a religion.

There is however a distinction in Taoism. There is classical Taoism, which is like Greek Philosophy, only used to become insightful in nature and the way the universe, nature and humanity works.

Then there is neo-taoism/modern taoism, that is taking the side of Confucius and taoist ‘alchemy’ to find supernatural improvement of life. The actions required in this, could be seen as ‘rituals’ and therefore neo-taoism could be named a ‘religion’.


So, NO, Original/classical Taoism is not a religion.

And, yes, modern/neo-taoism can be called a religion.

But what is wrong about calling something a religion? 

Religion means binding. Binding a person in thought and action. When humans weren’t having a lot of options of understanding or scientifically researching, it was probably helping that someone said: Look, don’t worry, there must be a reason for it.

Those days are over, yet there are people depending on the following of others. Like banks are dependant of people saving money with them, taking loans etc. As such Religious cults need people to pay for their lifes. This is always and intrinsically wrong.

It doesn’t matter if the religion is based on superstitious or supernatural things, or based on reality supporting subjects, the fact that the individual is stripped from the freedom of self, is wrong.

Affairs of the State

I have created a methodology called ‘Affairs of the State’. Actually it is not so much a creation, but an adaptation.

‘Affairs of the State’ refer to the Book ‘Art of War’ by Tzun Tzu (Chuang Tzu). Though this book has been used by many warlords to ‘apply’ to war or conflict situations. I think it is usable in every situation of your personal life. Yes, there are books explaining how to ‘adjust’ leadership for manager, by applying it. But this is still limited and (because it is a ‘western’ use of ‘eastern’ knowledge) a failing adaption for improvement.



Taoism.net is created and maintained by Derek Lin. Derek is one of the foremost authorities (in my opinion) regarding explaining Tao and Taoism. He holds an online ‘gathering’ and discussion board, as well as an offline one.