• Taoism

  • An Essential Guide
  • By: Eva Wong
  • Narrated by: Emily Zeller
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (380 ratings)

Try our newest plan – access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Plus plan is $7.95 a month after 30 day trial. Upgrade or cancel anytime.
Buy for $19.95

Buy for $19.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

For the first time, the great depth and diversity of Taoist spirituality is introduced in a single, accessible manual. Taoism, known widely today through the teachings of the classic Tao Te Ching and the practices of t'ai chi and feng-shui, is less known for its unique traditions of meditation, physical training, magical practice, and internal alchemy. Covering all of the most important texts, figures, and events, this essential guide illuminates Taoism's extraordinarily rich history and remarkable variety of practice. A comprehensive bibliography for further study completes this valuable reference work.

©1997 Eva Wong (P)2014 Audible Inc.

More from the same

Author

What listeners say about Taoism

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    215
  • 4 Stars
    87
  • 3 Stars
    52
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    10
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    219
  • 4 Stars
    75
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    4
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    188
  • 4 Stars
    65
  • 3 Stars
    48
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    11

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 03-08-17

Fantastic

A great intro into Daoism, and its many areas. It's also really nice to have someone narrating that actually speaks Chinese, it makes a big difference.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An Excellent Introduction to the Landscape of Taoism

I have been interested in Taoism and Taoist practices for quite some time. I have always felt I was just scratching the surface of the topic and continued to look for a more exhaustive explanation of Taoism. I was delighted to discover this book, which quickly and clearly described the historic, current and practical landscape of Taoism.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

More if a history than a guide

Although the author appears to be very knowledgeable about the origins and history of Taoism, I would not say that this is a guide to Taoism practice of today. So, if you’re interested in its origins, this is the book for you. I found it went into tremendous detail about how Taoism came about and how all it’s different sects developed. However, if you’re interested in practicing Taoism, or in the author’s experience with Taoism, you won’t find it in this book.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A most informative book; very well narrated too.

This book is very informative and well written. I am very interested in Taoism and it’s arts & practices and I learned a lot from this book.
Eva Wong provides a vast & complete source of information in
a very well written manner.
Emily Zeller does a very good job of narrating this book, her voice is clear, well paced and pleasant as well.

I highly recommend this audiobook to anyone interested in Taoism;

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Informative

There is a lot of historical information, but it is presented in a very dry biographical manner, not exactly an exciting read but full of accurate information.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too much religion, not enough philosophy

A very good overview of all aspects of Taoism, but I had thought it would spend more time on the philosophy and philosophical practice. Seemed to focus mostly on the religious practice.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

150-300 million in Asia practice magical Taoism🤯

My interest in Taoism came about not because I was proactively desirous to learn about it, but rather its existence was foisted upon me and knowledge of this religion became a necessity. That being said, this book was beyond absolutely ideal for my particular needs and I am infinitely grateful to Eva Wong for writing it, but suspect it will be difficult for most to comprehend. Long story short, religious Taoism is emphatically not for me but I am appreciative of the information. Initially thought this book was about philosophy, but it is definitely not that. Honestly this is the craziest book review you may ever read, because this book is bananas.

Recently it came to my attention that my half-siblings & my 2 stepmothers are Korean witches, otherwise known as mudang or of an ancient Korean religion known as Mugyo. If your eyebrow is raised, I don’t blame you because mine normally would be too. Hell I lived through it & my eyeballs are rolling out of my head in disbelief;seriously. Western culture refers to this as “shamanism” under the friendly guise of indigenous cultural history. It isn’t culture. It is completely barbaric & narcissistic. On surface appearance these people are all a bit off if you know them well, but otherwise seemingly fully functioning members of society. Interestingly they are all practicing Catholics or Christian. I used to summarize my childhood as a mash-up of Cinderella meets Snow White and joked my first stepmother was a witch because she & her identical twin grew up in a dirt poor mountain South Korean country village where I imagined such things happened, but it was a flippant remark and I never remotely for a singular second thought it could be or actually was true. Pshaw witches pfff, as if. My father’s last wife, now widow, is somehow actually an even bigger piece of work.

Unless I had personally survived what can only be described as the scariest experience humanly possible coupled with the craziest visual hallucinations imaginable, this book would make far less sense to me. (No I was not and am not on drugs, prescribed or otherwise in case anyone was wondering. I also have zero history of mental illness or depression and am boringly normal.) I accidentally got sent to a liberal arts boarding school in Massachusetts & we did LSD on the weekends but I kept it to under 6x as rumor had it you would go insane otherwise. What I saw put my LSD trips to shame. Again, I fully understand I sound crazy & don’t expect anyone to believe me but I’m telling you…

Supernatural things were not anything I remotely ever even entertained as being possible, but experiencing is believing. The entire incident has shifted my world perspective. Ignorance is bliss, but is it really? More information and knowledge, regardless of how insane, frightening & depressing, is ultimately always for the better.

Science-first-based people (which I am usually firmly in the camp of) who read Taoism An Essential Guide and want to actually understand it, will have to temporarily suspend their belief in what they know as reality and then and only then will the implications become truly truly frightening. I am still trying to wrap my head around this book and magical Taoist religion even with my first-hand-forced-upon-me experience. Quite frankly my conclusions on how they did it is just a hypothesis gleaned from many religions, folklore and modern psychological techniques & yet still can’t fully explain it because I did not communicate directly with any of these people or anyone they know either in person, phone, email, video conference etc for 3 years prior to this insanity. If “sorcery” could be proven to be scientifically absolutely definitively real, I would have to say I am very much against using it; even in regards to protecting oneself from it. Just knowledge of this existing is enough for me.

I did months of internet research on Korean shamanism after my hellish experience and there were multiple mentions of a link to Taoism. References to China and sorcery was hard to establish on the internet aside from random ancient historical references, so I foolishly believed it was only practiced by Koreans and not Chinese. HA. All Asian cultures link to China I’m pretty sure, including and especially religion. It’s honestly no wonder Magical Taoism is such a closely guarded secret because I’m sorry, it’s bananas crazy to put it kindly.

The only organized religion I had any firsthand knowledge of was Christianity as I was forced to practice it in my childhood for about 5 years when living with a relative. My opinions on Conservative Christians is essentially the same way I feel about religious magical Taoism in that most organized religions, generally speaking, are a scourge. (Currently I am ignorant on the totality of all religions so I am open to being proven wrong. Judaism, Kabbalist, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam & Sufism will be my next forays.) Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity have aspects, and I suspect most religions do, that are good but I think any belief that prays, wishes or ritualizes prosperity for oneself & the fall of others not of that group… it’s a slippery slope. Korean shamanism based on my research revolves around the practice of necromancy and share many if not all of their rituals from this handbook I noticed. For example, yellow paper talismans drawn with red ink overlap therefore magical Taoist must also practice necromancy. Personally I am not religious in the least but do believe there is a higher unexplainable power. Although I am hardly what you would consider conservative, my moral compass draws a firm red line at attempting to conjure dead people or other spirits… but hey that’s just me.

The sections I found most useful is the BaZi or geomancy/Chinese astrology perspective. I have had a decades long fascination with it from a purely psychological personality perspective, so I am somewhat a tiny bit knowledgeable in the subject which was a helpful foundation to understand several chapters in this book. The idea of balance has always been the most interesting aspect of Asian philosophy for me. If you don’t already have a strong sense of Asian culture, philosophy and beliefs, this book will be for the most part difficult to grasp.

However from a scholarly, historical & anthropological perspective, this book can be beneficial to everyone as the first several chapters reminded me of a university lecture. Since most of the earlier texts of original Taoism have been destroyed or lost to history, I am confused as to what religion the different sects of Taoism are actually practicing and it all sounds awfully ad hoc. This obsession with immortality is a common mythological thread between European and Asian cultures but Asians apparently take it many steps further, devoting their entire lives to it vs. just a fable of a mythical quest for a magical goblet. Philosophically there are elements of Taoism that are noteworthy and mysticism is less troubling to me than sorcery in theory, but studying the original person Confucius I suspect might have more there there.

Again, I am grateful for Eva Wong making public the details of an extremely secretive subject because regardless of whether you believe any of these Taoist practice effects to be true or not, I think the fact this is being practiced at all should be common knowledge as by my estimate, at the very least (but realistically probably more than) 150-300 million people practice magical Taoism throughout all of Asia and who knows how many more throughout the rest of the world. How I managed to never hear about this religion is beyond me. Probably because I was reared in the age of science, reason and evidence based logic in America with minimal exposure to superstitions? I am very open minded, but I have major ethical issues with Magical Taoism or Taoist shamans. I have read elsewhere that this type of religious Taoism historically was practiced mostly amongst the illiterate poor and that Taoism as a philosophy diverges completely from the religion. So there’s that.

As for any wannabe “witches” or “shamans” or “sorcerers”, I recommend reading Oscar Wilde’s Portrait of Dorian Gray or Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe and ponder the concept of choices and the inevitable terrible outcome of said choices.


1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Historical Background of Religious Taoism

Is Taoism a religion or a philosophy? When I started doing business in China I was introduced to Taoism by my leader as a Chinese philosophy represented by Lao Tze's Tao Te Ching. As I explored China I found Taoist temples and religious rituals that have nothing to do with the Tao Te Ching. This book helped to answer my question by showing the historical development of religious Taoism that combined Lao Tze's philosophical writings with the shamanistic practices of the ancient Chinese Xia Dynasty. Over time the organized religion folded in more topics unrelated to the Tao Te Ching by mixing in sorcery and Buddhism. While it was beneficial to have some historical background of how Lao Tze's writing relates to Chinese religious practices this book gives too much information going down the rabbit hole into the corrupted superstitious practices that I want no part of. I wouldn't recommend this book, but hope everyone will go direct to the source and enjoy the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching itself. Benjamin Hoff's the Tao of Pooh is an excellent way to introduce foreigners to philosophical Taoism without describing any of the cult like topics that have unfortunately been associated with religious Taoism. This book doesn't lend itself to the audiobook format since there are many diagrams referenced, it would be difficult to take notes from an audiobook, and a written copy would make it easier to skim sections that the reader is not interested in exploring.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good list for further reading

If you're looking for a good listing of Taoist practices and beliefs you should listen to this book but I'd prefer to read it since it feels more like a listing than a book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Overview of Taoism

Excellent overview of Taoism, it’s history, internal & external alchemy, etc. in sone chapters, the author references other books for further reading. She also states her description is not a replacement for finding a teacher, excellent advise, don’t know why anyone would attempt these practices without a teacher. Plus descriptions are not detailed enough. I had to to reduce the speed to 0.9x in order to comprehend everything, lots of information, great for an overview and just enough details to understand relevant concepts.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Emmanuel Zakebam
  • Emmanuel Zakebam
  • 03-07-18

Great book, terrible recitation

I would have enjoyed this book - which I thought was highly informative and mind-expanding, if a tad rushed and slightly inaccurate in places - hugely if the narration had not been robotic, monotone, and tedium-inducing almost to the point of tears. Frankly, I cannot understand why the narrator has a job as a voice actress. It may as well have been read by a computer. What a terrible shame and waste of time - I would have much preferred to have read it instead.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sharon
  • Sharon
  • 12-18-21

Very informative

Provides a good history of how Taoism developed, and contains information about a lot of the sects and their views.

The narrator's voice is monotone, which can make it difficult to engage with the text over long periods of time. However, I find it difficult to read nonfiction and much prefer a monotone listen to physically reading it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dela Boy
  • Dela Boy
  • 05-20-19

Pleasurable listen

As a novice of internal alchemical practises. I found the book to be an enjoyable and interesting insight into the practice. It both raises and answers some questions.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for shaun a doyle
  • shaun a doyle
  • 08-03-21

Excellent journey along the Daoist path

Excellent information from Eva Wong as usual, if you haven't read her books now is the time.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael Oladoja
  • Michael Oladoja
  • 01-25-20

Great adventure

Very informative in depth look at Tao including history and practice with good accompanying guide

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for DaveDude1975
  • DaveDude1975
  • 02-06-18

taoism

deep stuff, opens your eyes a little to the history and vastness if what is taoism.