Taoism and Native American Religions

An analysis of the parallels between Taoism and Native American religious beliefs.

This paper examines how, out of the three Chinese religions of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, the one religion that most closely relates to the Native American religions is unquestionably Taoism. It looks at how Taoism, sometimes referred to as ?Naturism?, involves observations of and attitudes toward the world of nature similar to the mannerisms and philosophical beliefs of most Native American religious ideology. It discusses how Taoism is also very involved with the Cosmos and Heaven and the manner in which it can be related to the world of nature. It also shows how Native American religious beliefs and Taoism are quite analogous when dealing with the ways in which they are polytheistic and several other religious aspects.
“Native Americans also believe they should be directed by nature, but for a different reason. A “Vision Quest” is often completed by Native Americans who want to attain a special ability. Usually, a young person on a vision quest lives without food, sometimes without water, and with little possessions. This is done to make the person appear materially poor and spiritually humble before the spirits. This is very similar to the Taoist idea that when an infant comes into the world, it knows no craft and has no ambitions to live yet is cared for, fed, and clothed (Hopfe & Woodward 178). In much the same way, the Native Americans believe that the spirits of nature will assist them, guide them, feed them, and protect them in their journey through earthly existence.”