Question & Answer

Please ask questions about Tao, Shamanism, and Awakening Dragon Taoism.

Awakening Dragon Taoism is a modern lineage of Taoism. The goal is to allow Taoism to adapt to the modern world. Classical Taoism is very Chinese, Yet Taoism does not need to be fixed to a single culture. Look at Taoism over the last two thousand years, and you will find a very dynamic evolving system of ideas. Awakening Dragon Taoism takes the simple core of Taoism: kindness, modesty, and nonjudgment as the essential starting point. Then mixing in modern sensibilities, of being neither Western nor Eastern but to instead be Global. With this blending of old and new, it can help people move more gracefully during times of great change.


To ask questions is a noble process.

Just don’t get trapped by any single answer.

Questions Answered On Other Pages


Ask Additional Questions in the Comment Section

Common Taoist Questions

So here a few questions with quick answers colored in.

  • I have trouble explaining Taoism to other people, what should I tell them or how do I get some materials to explain Taoism?

If you have troubles explaining Taoism, first relax, then smile. This is good news: it just means you are still a student at your own life and you are on a good path since you are still being challenged and finding the words to match to your own life. So the first thing I tell students is just this:

Don’t explain it to others; you are still learning how to embrace your own life.

Taoism is a practice of living your life gracefully, leave it as simple as that for now.

If a person asks you what religion you are, or to explain it.

Then just say: I live as myself

Then ask them:

Why do I need to give it a name or explain what I am?

People try to define themselves from the outside to definitions of a religion or a practice. When it’s how we live, from the inside that matters. If you chase outside definitions, then it means you will just keep stumbling along in life.

Right now learn to enjoy and live to your heart, that is a challenge in itself. Words to explain come later after you have had time to chew it over and enjoy your life with some perspective and experiences.

  • Here in Sweden, I can’t find any Taoist temples.

A temple is a place of spirit. Live your life fully, with grace. In this, every place can be easily transformed into a temple.

We call some places temple: because “temple” is the word we use to describe where people naturally release without effort. But in reality, this can be true everywhere if you are open to being connected to a larger world.

  • What does an ordinary day look for you?

Day to night. The sun rises, the sun sets, I live in between.

Night to day. Dreaming in between:

Poking about in between. So I guess my life is: in between.

It seems like “In Between” should represent something mystical, something almost untouchable. But in reality, it just is my life from moment to moment. Fully present in each moment and then In Between moments: Just free and being me.

  • Are you meditating a lot?

Yes and No

Many times I practice a light form of meditation in between chores and during chores. I try to meditate in the morning most days. Julie and I would prefer to do so more often than we do lately. But the days and night have been extra full of late. So it means not as much as we would like right now.

Many schools of thought exist for meditation. For my practice, mediation is all about awareness. So every moment is an opportunity to expand your awareness: not necessarily to act upon, but just to be present within and explore.

At times we dive into it with deep awareness, at other times light awareness. Patiently you can assemble it all up into a more comprehensive awareness which can take you to some pretty wonderful states of being. No rush in any of this. It all connects up to the same places; it’s just a matter on path and style.


  • Do you try to keep life as simple and easy as possible? Avoiding stress as match as you can?

Simple is a relative term. We live simply in America, but it would be complicated compared to other parts of the world.

How I work would be considered complicated to most Americans since I teach Taoism, counsel others, run retreats, work for a nonprofit, and am a father. Likewise, Julie works as a herbalist, teaches dance, helps run retreats, works at the same nonprofit, and is a mother. Our day starts at 6 am and is not unusual to work till 10 pm.

But it’s all in kindness, and it does all come together. We never know how it will all assemble from month to month. Patiently we live it, trust to ourselves and kindness. It completes a circuit such that it all does come together.

Lately, it has been more “Full” as we are also busily fixing the house and temple up. Of course, we also live in a rain forest, so always something to take care of or to fix. It keeps us busy.

While we have harder days, we are human and always do our best to have our good days too. Life is to enjoy: not to work away. We work to live, and as such, our work always compliments the life we lead, so the two are in harmony. That says something in America, and it’s something I help teach others how to accomplish. Teaching to find a balance between personal practices and lifestyle. Here is that pesky “In Between” Again ;).


  • Are you surrounded by people all the time or do you seek silence for your family sometimes?

I have students and those who I help from 15 countries now. People call when they need help, and I have regular sessions to teach. So pretty much every day we are talking to someone or helping out somehow, somewhere.

Likewise, since we hold retreats, we have friends and students who arrange to spend concentrated time physically with us to learn in person. But it’s paced, and we make sure we have our own quiet time to minimize our stress from working long hours. People have to arrange to come over since we manage our time to keep everything flowing smoothly.


  • Why?

I got a very long question, actually a good half page long of about 15 questions, which I could then summarized to this question:

  • Why does nature choose a fundamental state of being?

I won’t list out the entire set of questions since “why” is a never-ending question.  At some point, why hits the unknown: the Tao.

We can “model” the unknown, but that is always a model. People think answers to why = model’s predicted solution. This is never the case; a model is a model, even the very best models fall apart against the unknown.

In the end, we all pick a story with which to place our faith within and let that fill in the final why we can’t answer. It’s all the same story. Perspective might shift it around to seem like a different story, but it’s all the same story: it starts as a story of separation, then a striving to find connection and finally you discover a resolution into wholeness.

So while answers tend to change the way a person acts and then that seemingly changes who you are. However, in the fundamental state of being: does any answer to “why” ever change the fact we each should:

  • Live fully within heart and kindness?

All answers lead a person towards a fundamental state of working towards connection. A Taoist just releases the needless loop of “why” and just connects out with heart and kindness without question.

Help Me Write About Taoism

Every month I get emails from students asking for help writing a Taoism paper and report. This page collates many of the commonly asked Taoism paper questions regarding the generic template school questions asked to pass a letter grade system.

However, more importantly, these Taoist answers will teach the student how to answer your questions, so instead of a school defining you to a school paper, you can turn the experience around and shake things up a bit. To learn Taoism, you must also be willing to break past any pre-assumed boundary the school system is trying to box you into to step beyond the Taoism paper exercise.

If you truly want an “A” in writing a Taoist paper, you have to show some spunk and personal zeal; otherwise, you are just parroting facts,  and Taoism isn’t only about the facts.

Now some of my answers at times could seem flippant or avoid the question. But in reality, the answers are usually not about the question! The answers are about: how to help start a person to think and to explore the world. After all, questions are doorways to exploration. Sometimes an answer must assist a person move ahead rather than stop them in their tracks.

For each person, I will answer differently depending on their perspective on life. It’s one of the reasons as a Taoist Guide as I can work with so many different people. Trying to answer questions in a one size fits all answer is just silly: as many of the answers here will be wrong for close-minded teachers wanting fixed results never to change while being right for more open-minded teachers moving along in their life. So also know you have to allow these answers to shift and meet your audience’s nature.

Just because you are a student doesn’t stop your teacher learning from you.

This process is more than writing a paper.

It’s about how you live your life.

People merely limit their life to only be about facts. Those who do this only live 1/2 of life and miss the part of life outside the facts.

Taoism is about freedom of expression, and school is in session, now.

Answers to 10,000 Student Questions About Taoism

When any religion sets up crusades, jihads, animosity or any such ludicrous behavior. It stems from personal vendettas creeping into the religion for purposes of control and power.

Sadly in too many religions, people subvert the religion to push personal agenda’s towards others, to justify how they should act.

In other words: people are people and people will act like people.

Taoism is a system teaching people how to live to full “potential” , Generally speaking, Taoist’s do our best to treat other religions with respect and acceptance since understanding other religions increases our understanding of potential. To limit oneself to “animosity” or other such silly behaviors reduces our potential.

Taoism doesn’t define what the “potential” should be. Instead, it leaves it to each person to decide for themselves how best to fulfill life with their potential. We teach many techniques and practices that make sure you are healthy, to teach clarity, to show how to be aware: everything you need to support living one’s life to full potential.

If we were to limit how we view other religions, we would likewise limit our world view.

Generally speaking, Taoism can be very open, but people being people, not every Taoist will be open and so be aware my answer is just that: my answer. You will find other answers to this and other questions.

Learn to take all the answers given to you and then compile it up into an explanation that best fits your life and do your best to live with grace, with kindness and full potential of life.

A Taoist is taught to release the need to measure and accepts life as it unfolds. But acceptance is not passive; it is a process moving with graceful actions, living to potential. So a true human in Taoism would not judge another, and in that, you find the key difference.

  • A Confucian will strive towards a potential that is predefined by their society
  • A Taoist will not be limited by forced outside measurements.

It is what I am… don’t explain oneself, live as oneself…

To define an open-ended practice, about life itself, to a single thing one likes best contradicts the whole practice and limits how one lives life.

I like pie. How can one go wrong with a good pie?

So at this moment, I will answer I like pie the best. Tomorrow you are likely to get another answer.

Details of worship and prayer are personal. There exist many Taoist sects and many variations to Taoist worship.

Follow your heart to how one should use that heart to worship: i.e. how one should give devotion usually directed to the spirit of life, the universe, and such trivia.

If you want to limit your worship to days of a week then yes you can find Taoist holidays to keep you happy.

Easier to just Google that question to get a sampling of holidays.

Are there any holidays that are unique to Taoism?

Sure… but as above consult the mighty google oracle.

See the above answer for worship and then refer to this blog entry about looking closer at belief.

War is part of humanity. Understanding humanity means to learn about war. Read Sun Tzu and Art of War if you want to understand how a Taoist would fight.

War is generally a waste of humanity’s energy, but humankind is as humanity does.

Not really. To try would only muck up something else. Typically, misconceptions are based on how a person holds their viewpoint in life. If I were to try to change a person’s viewpoint, I would also be trying to tell them how to live their life or how I am living my life. No need to shout to the wind who you are, nor to try to explain to others how to be something else. Enough holy wars exist over trying to tell the world how something should be. Ah, the pie on so many faces for fighting wars over such answers to such questions.

More importantly

To be human is to have misconceptions. Learn to transcend such need to remove such parts of your fundamental nature. As Taoist’s, we even embrace our misconceptions as a tool to learn more about life. Allow your truths, falsehoods, facts and misconceptions all to change over time. We cannot remove all erroneous materials, but we can use it to make our lives more colorful and fun.

In awareness extend your nature to be clear, kind and compassionate

I wrote the Personal Tao book to answer this, so honor me by reading it and see how you can apply the lessons there for your own experiences. Use the Personal Tao book as a guide to piece together an answer that makes you smile. Good as any other answer.

Answers are a waste of time

When they merely lead you on a merry chase for more answers. But in time we live so enjoy the answers that help you live gracefully and with clear consciousness. When answers waste your time, release them, when they enrich you, hold to them gently, but allow them to run free when no longer adding value to your life.

There is no right nor wrong, merely what you hold as your center. The further you hold something from your center the more likely it will rip out your heart to agony. Torque is a bitch. Pretty simple really.

Where people are people, those who follow their heart: can be considered as Taoist in nature. Map those points for each person you find that fits this description, and then that is good enough for paperwork…

By living.

Taoism teaches many practices of release. In release, you can find relief from stress. But to live is also to experience suffering or stress. We use every edge in life to climb upon, to become fuller beings in Taoism.


OK, yes, there are common topics due to our human nature. So look to your life and every theme there is in life. We work in our Taoist practice to explore and become full.

The problem is what you ask for me to list here creates limitation, forces a person to divide topics, which then creates sects and differences of approach and then in time, spiral into disagreement and such. Taoism is a unique “ism” since our core value; the Tao.. is universally agreed upon as being undefinable in human terms. As a result, Taoists have a common base to work from no matter what perspective we each might be coming from (in other words: how we each decide to approach practices to embrace the Tao)

Taoism works to potential not limitation. Asking to list themes by default creates limitation at the start for what a person will expect in Taoist practice.

At times yes, I do create lists for purposes of illustration, but we are careful about how we teach it, to keep it open to human nature.

So it spins back to me ~laughing~ as laughter itself being the best answer.


It doesn’t matter.

None, find the one that speaks to your heart and be happy with that.

Yes, very much so! But in the end, the Tao is undefined! So who can practice Taoism “the Undefined Way” and claim to have it right? Seriously think about that for a moment.

It doesn’t matter, the work is there, enjoy it , as it is…

It doesn’t matter; any answer would merely be a story on how we think it influenced history. And history itself is merely a story itself with extremely strained connections to what people call truth.

The work is there, enjoy it, as it is.

Yes now more so than ever it is an important practice to follow:
So people can release into their heart.

I never will publish a translation of the Tao Te Ching. It would be meaningless to do so. Any translation I do is for myself, don’t use my words to define your own heart!

A Personal Tao isn’t a translation, it’s an examination of how to explore the Tao from a modern western perspective.

Doesn’t make a difference, pick the style which helps you make more sense of the work. Then to go further, examine the materials using the style which is harder for you to use. This will let you push further in your understanding. Personally, for me, I am a poet, so I primarily view the materials as poetry. Since I have students, who need more literal viewpoints, that gives me the time to exercise on the other side of the fence.

Just live. All groups and activities teach of the Tao. To live to the heart is to discover Taoism.

If you are looking for a starting place:

Qi-Gong practice groups or Zen Meditation Circles are both often good places to start in the United States with more limited Taoist resources. If you can’t find either of those, Yoga is a rich practice to explore, while not Taoist, it walks a similar enough path to help people discover more about their life.

In parts of Asia, you can find Taoist temples easily enough.

In other parts of the world where Taoist temples are few, then learn from the local religions that teach acceptance, and you will discover more about the Tao. On the Internet, many Taoist discussion groups exist also. One Taoist Temple has even placed its temple to be online.

Honestly, life is your temple as a Taoist: open up to your life, and you will discover what is needed to continue the practice. Taoist materials are more deeply woven in western society than most people would guess or suspect.

Nope, why should I?

The number of people in a religion doesn’t define it as being right… pretty silly to convert to something just because everyone else is doing it.

Because it’s how I see the world.

How can someone follow my faith my heart? Each person follows their own faith, their heart. As soon as you define faith outside of yourself you lose yourself.

Having said that, I don’t see any reason why anyone can’t be a Taoist, if that is what they desire to be and they act from their nature.

No. Why should I? Conversion is a process of consumption, people actively trying to consume other people’s conversion to validate their faith. It’s empty and serves no greater purpose other than to support a person’s ego and vanity.

So nope, no conversion in Taoism, we are quite happy just being ourselves. No need to validate who we are outside ourselves.


What? Egads, politics and religion. It’s like doing drugs and alcohol at the same time. Not recommended for many, and when done usually screws up everyone doing so. People love to fight over whose opinion is more correct than another person’s opinion.

This question is meaningless since it is a matter of judgment and judgment is never about what is right, it is about how people fight with each other to force their viewpoints.

Trying to answer this question only will invoke conflict since it invokes judgment. Not a valid question as a result.

They are all spelled differently.

Sometimes it’s worth it being literal if only to save time.

Daoism and Taoism is the same thing, consult Wikipedia to find the story why this is the case.

Confucianism is a different beast than Taoism. Consult the mighty Google for an answer about the differences.

Well, most likely my body will be feasted upon by various critters unless for some reason someone decides to cremate my remains.

However, I suspect you are asking about what happens to “You” That essence of “I” and “Self” that the body acts as a lens to project outward. That’s the problem with questions; people never truly ask clear questions. In most questions you find embedded applied ideas or content, the questioner assumes others connect automatically to their applied context. This isn’t the case. This messes up seekers beyond belief since most times the answers they receive are missing context or they apply the wrong hidden contexts back to the answers.

Here are two chapters on the subject, death, and immortality

“Man” can accept the universe.

However, understanding is based on knowledge is infinite in nature. As a result, only the universe itself, when being whole with itself, understands itself completely. When the universe decides to hold itself conscious through man: it then understands itself with the perspective of “man” that is defined by the limits of “man”.

The problem with this question is the definition of “man” itself… Human and homo sapiens are not the same thing and are very different expressions of life. Sadly “man” is often used interchangeably between those two expressions of life experience.

Neither. Religions are a social framework which “humans” use to share concepts about how the universe can be explained thru centrally held stories. Truth is a different topic all together despite many religions claim to hold absolute truth as their own “secret” in how they hold together a social system. Religions use the concept of “truth” as a way to validate their stories. Humans often confuse the concept of truth to be what their stories are all about.

Religions hold what they label as “truth” as a method to foster social patterns to a higher degree of cohesion for the benefit of a few using judgment as the path to validate their truth.

History has enough examples of how this often plays out. Usually, it isn’t very pleasant experience unless your truth matches to that religion’s truth.

What people often label as “truth”, is a story on how one perceives what is around them. Ask yourself what is “truth” first: that many people consider truth as something that must be absolute. Then look at what in your experience is absolute, and you will begin to discover the difference between story and truth and how this spawns conflict as people try to prove their story as absolute.

When considering Benjamin Franklin’s Quote
“But in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

You can quickly see why religions often tax and fleece their flock and use death as a way to support and prove their absolute truth.

Neither. We live in the world. We experience the world. Taoism is a way in how we live to our essence. We accept the world as part of that experience. Understanding the world is an optional part that experience. Some people like the Buddha even have released the world as part of that path, and that is an acceptable path also.

A good question.

It is similar to what it takes to be a Christian. To be a lay Christian, all you need to do is believe in Christ. But to be a member of a Christian church, then you have to follow thru that churches rite of passage. So becoming a Catholic or Mormon requires you to be recognized by that church system and follow its tenets.

To just be a Taoist (a lay Taoist) all you need to do is explore life (Tao / Way) with a Taoist style. Taoist style is very open-ended and poetic. For what Taoist style looks like on an official level most people will point to the Tao Te Ching for examples of Taoist baselines.

To be part of a Taoist lineage, then you have to be accepted in that lineage and follow its style and approach to Taoist ideals.

So for example being part of the Complete Reality Taoism lineage would be quite different than being a member of Awakening Dragon Taoism that I manage as a lineage. Many lineages of Taoism are quite heavily Chinese and wouldn’t translate very well to many westerners. Some lineages of Taoism such as Awakening Dragon are modern/global in style and more assessable as a result, but many people who hold fixed views wouldn’t accept it as such. People are funny, even in very open practices like Taoism. Which goes to show, religion is very much what people make it be, a reflection of them.

Always be aware of how you use and hold teachings: let any Taoist teaching guide towards awareness/potential rather than limit you to tiny windows of perspective that people love to force others to watch the world thru.

So my answer to you is this now. What makes a person a Taoist: is living kindly, modestly, without judgment to explore and live: to live. Taoism doesn’t have to be complicated, but all too many people make their Taoism complicated since that is what they need to drive themselves ahead.

Most religions will answer this by saying:

*** Believe without question the story we tell you. ***

Taoism will say:

Question your life everyday to discover faith in your own stories. —

Additional Common Student Questions:


Comments and Ask New Questions

Below in the comments, ask questions from your own heart-based upon curiosity. I would be happy to answer such questions.

However, Google standard questions based on the average comparative religious exploration.

Taoism isn’t about standard answers; it’s about how to go beyond limits to be fully yourself. Standard questions will only generate a standard pre-canned response. This is how many people live life: canned and predefined, so it goes.

One gets what they shape life to be.

Also, know

If anything is missing, then fill in gaps with a story, PROVIDED you make the story a reflection of your heart’s journey since then you get graded on how creative and elegant it is, the truth is never the truth, but rather what we make it mean. All Religions are based on damn good stories. Make of this truth what you will.

Best of luck in your report and all the stories you tell your teacher.

Don’t forget the apple, a bit of honest bribery never hurts either.

If you are one of my students writing a paper for me. Make it a peach rather than an apple.

Meditation Class

Meditation IntroductionThis 90-minute video class will introduce you to meditation. We will go over the practical aspects of setting up your practice.

Casey will teach you how to use the Dragon Fire Meditation technique. He will also start you off by learning the morning meditation practice. Dragon Fire will serve you for a lifetime as you continue to expand and explore other meditation practices. Morning Meditation will give you a framework to incorporate additional meditation techniques into your life.

The class also includes six guided meditations and a further article about working with awareness.

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I’ve become very interested in Taosim but a concern of mine is if one is to follow the Path, what is the Taoists thought on something like Nazis? Is one to just continue on the path?

Last edited 3 months ago by Michael John-Elliott Negus

I have a question. I am learning about Taoism, and lots of things I read make so much sense to me now at my age. I am a 35-year-old man. I am looking for romantic love, and for various personal and financial reasons and circumstances, I lost a big chunk of my youth in futile struggles. But now I am actively looking for love, but constantly being rejected. While I am not bitter about it, I wonder if I am going against the tao principle of “non-action”. But if I don’t act, and actively go and seek, I could just… Read more »

Hi. I’m curious about what modern Taoists think about making short horror movies?
I usually try to spread positive creativity, but some days ago I went to an abbandoned house and had many ideas for horror videos and was very excited. But this doesn’t fit in my usual taoistlike lifestyle.
What can you tell me about?

And if its only empty entertaining? Images that doesn’t show any cruelty but just give you the thrill? Just shadows or images that evoke that goose bumps. Its more about the interpretation that the viewer gives, suggested by our view on such movies. Is giving this kind of feelings something a taoist wouldn’t do? Because he/she tries to evoke positive feelings?

Do Taoists believe in miracles ?

May I ask a question about Taoism, please? I prefer Taoism over Christianity, except for one issue: How can my encounters with divine intervention, answered prayers and miracles be explained by Taoism? Thank you, sincerely.

What are some daily rituals that a tao usually does? Mediating? excising?

Tao gives birth to one.
One gives birth to two.
Two gives birth to three.
Three gives birth to all things and all beings.

I know those two are Yin and Yang but what are The three things ?!

I have a co-worker who is Taoist, who recently invited me to attend the blessing of a new shrine. I was told anyone would be welcome and I was curious, so I went. When I arrived, I was introduced to a ‘venerable’ who spent 15 minutes lecturing me on Taoism, then asked me if was ready to become a Taoist. I said I wasn’t at that moment and was told I wouldn’t be able to attend the ceremony and would have to wait outside until they were finished but was welcome to come back in for the meal afterwards. I… Read more »

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