Taoism Beliefs on Education and Teaching

One of the main ideas of Taoism is the belief in balancing forces, or yin (being) and yang (not being). It is an elusive and complex facet of traditional Chinese culture, whose contours have almost always been unbounded and fluid.

Taoism Beliefs on education might seem irrelevant as none of the writers advocated any form of public education. But with a deeper understanding of the philosophies, the Taoist attitude towards education becomes clear, which is devising a system or program that could create a peaceful and healthy balance in society.

Thus, the Taoist life was understood not just as an alternative to human pursuits, but a pathway towards the complete transformation of one’s personal reality with all that is truly real and valuable, encompassing both society and the natural world.

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What are the Taoism beliefs on education?

The Yin-Yan philosophy is based on the basic concept of the “balance” between nature. To attain this balance one must gain spiritual and physical education, from being a novice to being a complete expert in the field.

Taoism beliefs on education
Taoism beliefs on education

It teaches us to develop our skills over time, which can be gained by understanding general education first and then leading our ways towards the ultimate mastery. Once you have gained the basic skills then and only then you would be able to move forward in life.

Although the classical school of thought had no organized schooling policy, their writings are indicative of different Taoism beliefs on education in the form of different models.

The Tao te ching and Chuang-tru, indicate that the classical Taoists believed in verbal communication and gained important insights from it. However, the old Taoists would disparage “learning”, saying it to be an artificial transformation yet they could be seen following the same.

The classic Taoism beliefs on education establish a clear need for some form of instructions, as most people are misguided by the ideas of life. Various classical Taoist texts indicate stories of wise teachers who spread the true ideas of life, death and the afterlife.

These teachers spread the message of “follow the Toa” by guiding the people towards the balance of nature with a healthy direction towards life.

Thus, Taoism believes in the basic idea of assisting others in a profound transformation, generally described as the attainment of true wisdom. With this ideology, the Taoism beliefs on education and teaching suggest a positive role for the teacher, in the sense of one who attained wisdom and assists others in the process of attaining harmony with the Tao.

Taoism Views on Education as Spiritual Communication

In pre-modern China, Taoism stresses education via personal spiritual cultivation. These philosophies contributed both towards the acceptance of Buddhism in China and to the rebirth of Confucianism in the 11th – 12th centuries.

Taoism Views on Education as Spiritual Communication
Taoism Views on Education as Spiritual Communication

Taoists across centuries always aspired to spiritual education, which they often described as transcending the apparent boundaries of life and death. This is often misunderstood by people as some magical transformation.

However, Taoists across centuries have clearly described that it is no magical transformation but a spiritual perfection towards the careful realignment of personal conciseness.

Contrary to the charges of both old-style Confucians and modern Western (or Westernized) intellects, Taoists sought not to evade or escape reality, but rather to contribute to a spiritual change of reality, beginning with oneself.


Taoism beliefs on education present that the true goal of life must be the subtle refinement of the spirit a.k.a. the moral refinement, but it does not require any form of formal training.

Taoist view on education is highly personalized and spiritualized. Historically, however, prominent Taoists were often highly educated in more traditional senses as well, not only as scholars, writers, poets, bibliographers, and historians but also as botanists, pharmacists, chemists and astronomers.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

1. What are the main lessons of Taoism?

Taoist thought focuses on realness, endurance, health, immortality, vitality, wu wei (non-action, a natural action, a perfect equilibrium with Tao), objectivity, alteration (emptiness), freedom, transformation and Omni-potentiality.

2. What is the importance of meditation among the Taoists?

Meditation is important to many Taoists. Complex meditation rituals are practised in various temples. The vital use of meditation is to create mental stillness and enhance mindfulness. This can give a person the mental space to know the Tao directly.

3. What is the moral viewpoint of Taoism?

The Taoist ideal is for a person to take action by changing themselves, and thus becoming an example of the good life to others. They should develop themselves so that they live their life in complete harmony with the universe. So the philosophy is not just doing good things, instead become a good person.