The Complete Idiot's Guide to Taoism

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You’re no idiot, of course. You know Taoism is one of the world’s oldest religions, based on simplicity and balance. However, you may not know it has important parallels with modern Western life: health, ecology, even in such pop culture icons as Luke Skywalker and The Beatles.

But you don’t have to sit at the feet of a Taoist master to learn how the Taoist tradition has enlightened seekers throughout the centuries! The Complete Idiot’s to Taoism will show you exactly why Taoist...

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Taoism

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You’re no idiot, of course. You know Taoism is one of the world’s oldest religions, based on simplicity and balance. However, you may not know it has important parallels with modern Western life: health, ecology, even in such pop culture icons as Luke Skywalker and The Beatles.

But you don’t have to sit at the feet of a Taoist master to learn how the Taoist tradition has enlightened seekers throughout the centuries! The Complete Idiot’s to Taoism will show you exactly why Taoist principles appeal to people from every walk of life! In this Complete Idiot’s , you get:

—The history of the Daode Jing, the world’s shortest core religious text, and Laozi, its mysterious author.

—The teachings of Zhuangzi, the often-overlooked master sage of Taoism.

—An explanation of ying-yang and what it represents.

—Taoism’s relationship to Zen Buddhism.


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028642628
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 969,269
  • Product dimensions: 7.38 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Brandon Toropov is a Boston-based writer who has written a variety of non-fiction titles including The I Ching for Beginners and The Art and Skill of Dealing with People. He has appeared on more than 100 local and national broadcast programs. He is the author of several Complete Idiot’s Guides on religious topics.

CHAD HANSEN is a professor of philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. He is the author of Language and Logic in Ancient China and A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought. He is in the process of completing a translation of the Daode Jing.

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Table of Contents


1. Don't Try to Define It.
Warning: A Little Mysticism Can Be a Dangerous Thing. What Is the Tao? Why Define the Simple? What Is Taoism? Do Taoists Believe in God? Is There a Single, Big Idea to Taoism? How Many Taoists Are There? What's Next?

2. Laozi and Zhuangzi.
The Traditional View. Dates, Dates, Dates. Let's Meet Zhuangzi. A New View of Laozi and Zhuangzi.

3. All About Laozi.
Six Questions About Laozi and the Daode Jing. Can This All Be Boiled Down to a Single Sentence?

4. The Other Book: The Zhuangzi.
Meet Zhuangzi. A Sage Who Delights in Messing with Your Mind. Zhuangzi and Laozi. Seven Big Points from the Zhuangzi. Zhuangzi and Confucius. Zhuangzi Turns Down a Job Offer. Four More Lessons from Zhuangzi.

5. In the Flow: Key Concepts.
De (or Te). Wei and Wu-Wei. Shi-Fei. Ming. Qi (or Chi).

6. All Down in Black and White: Yin and Yang.
The Thesaurus and the Chasm. Beyond Self-Contained Ideas. Seven Cool Things About the Yin-Yang Principle. Some Final Thoughts.

7. Society and Nature.
The Natural Ideal. Listen to the Earth. Struggling Against Nature Is a Recipe for Calamity. See Human Relationships as Cyclical. Return to the State of Uncarved Wood. Transcend Socially Acquired Assumptions. LiveSimply. Don't Try to Control. Conform to the Natural Way.

8. Branches of the Tao.
Religious Taoism. Six Points to Ponder About Religious Taoism. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Taoist Sects. Legacies of Traditional Chinese Taoist Practice.


9. Fifteen Epochs.
The Shang Dynasty. Zhou Dynasty. Qin Dynasty. Han Dynasty. The Three Kingdoms Period. Jin Dynasty. The Northern and Southern Dynasties. The Sui Dynasty. Tang Dynasty. The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms. The Song Dynasty. The Yuan Dynasty. The Ming Dynasty. The Qing Dynasty (a.k.a. the Manchu Dynasty). And Then Things Got Really Interesting.

10. The Tao and Zen.
Mingling with the Tao. Some Core Elements of Buddhist Practice. And Then There Was Zen. Some Fascinating Overlaps. Full Presence in the Moment. And One Big Difference. Learning More About Zen.

11. The Long Run: Religious Taoism Endures.
Taoism Under Assault. Taoism in China Today. Religious Taoism Elsewhere in the East. Restoring an Ancient Heritage in China. Up from the Ashes. Veneration of Nature and Simplicity


12. What Taoism Teaches About Nature.
Defining Things? Remember…. Nature and the Tao. Melody and Harmony: Nature and the Tao. A Final Word from Zhuangzi.

13. What Taoism Teaches About Skill.
Skill and the Tao. Melody and Harmony: Skill and the Tao.

14. What Taoism Teaches About Life and Death.
Running on Empty. Thirty Spokes. And Zhuangzi Has the Last Word.


15. The Tao and the Judeo-Christian Tradition.
The Label Problem. And Yet…. Challenging Teachings.

16. The Tao and the Search for Meaning.
The Tao of (Fill in the Blank). Zen and Motorcycles. The Tao of Pooh. From the Sublime to…. From the Ridiculous to…. What's Next? And One More Resource…. Notice Any Connections?

17. The Tao and Health.
Body Tao. Three Disciplines. Asian Medicine: An Overview. Tai Chi. Herbal Medicine. And Don't Forget to Breathe. The Tao and the Doctor's Office.

18. Einstein, Meet Laozi.
Who Knew? What This Has to Do with Taoism. And Now, a Word from Our Sponsor. Not Exist. Flowing Wholeness. And Finally….

19. The Tao and Politics.
After Mao. The Taoist Political Heritage. The Daode Jing and the Ideal Ruler. Who Knew? The Importance of Asking Questions. What Is Anarchism?

20. The Tao and Ecology.
The Lost Sword. The Center for Ecoliteracy. Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC). Earthgreen.

21. The Tao and Pop Culture.
Now Playing: The Tao. Lights, Camera, Wu-Wei: The Tao Goes to Hollywood. The Tao and The Beatles. The Tao on TV.


22. West Is West.
The Center of Traditional Taoist Studies. A Breath of Fresh Air. The British Taoist Association. Other Groups You May Wish to Contact.

23. Wired and Wireless.
The Tao of the World Wide Web. And Finally…. What to Do Next.

24. Fifty-Two Tao Meditations.
A Year of Weekly Tao Meditations.


Appendix A. Recommended Reading.
Appendix B. Tai Chi Resources.
Appendix C. Feng Shui Resources.
Appendix D. Taoist Temples.
Appendix E. Taoist-Related Health Resources.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 3 of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    nothing special even for an idot

    pretty mundane and dry

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 10, 2011

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    Posted December 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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