Difference Between Daoism and Taoism

Daoism vs Taoism

Taoism is an ancient Chinese religion, rather a tradition or of way of life in the religious or philosophical spheres of life. The literal meaning of the word Tao is path or way, and it is found in many other Chinese texts and is not restricted to Taoism. There are millions of people practicing Taoism in many countries that include Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, and even Vietnam. In the western world, there is another concept of Daoism that is very popular. Many people think that Daoism and Taoism are two different religions. This article attempts to find out if there is any difference between these two words or do they refer to the same ancient Chinese religion or practice.

Whether Tao or Dao, the two words mean the same in Chinese characters. Of the words Taoism and Daoism, it is Taoism that is older, having been coined by early western traders who reached China to refer to an ancient Chinese way of living. They tried to sound as close to the Chinese to speak the old Chinese religion, and Taoism is the closest they came to the word. Taoism is Romanization of a Chinese word for the ancient religion and philosophy. This Romanization is based upon the Wade-Giles system.

However, in 1958, Chinese government started to give preference to another Romanization system called Pinyin. In this system, Romanization of the word that is used by Chinese people to refer to the ancient Chinese religion or philosophy is Daoism. The government of China believes that this system of Romanization converts Chinese words in English in a much better and more consistent manner than the older Wade-Giles system.

What is the difference between Daoism and Taoism?

• There is basically no difference between the words Taoism and Daoism and both represent the same age old Chinese religious philosophy.

• While Taoism is a Romanization that uses the older Wade-Giles system, Daoism is a result of the Romanization that is based upon Pinyin, the modern Romanization system that has been adopted by the Chinese government.

• While the western world is still comfortable with Taoism, Daoism is the pronunciation preferred by official Chinese texts as authorities believe that Pinyin represents Chinese words in a phonetically much better system than Wade-Giles Romanization system.