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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsTaoism may be less "visible" than Buddhism in Europe, mainly because of the countless Buddha images. One can purchase a clay Buddha from any garden store for ten Euros' worth a piece in Europe; or a ceramic one for your in-house gallery. IKEA, the world's largest furniture provider, once advertised a Buddha toilet seat. The imagery of a bold monk with large earlobes, sitting in meditation on a giant lotus, let alone other prominent variations such as the lying Buddha, fat Happy Buddha, are very popular with kitsch collectors, and thus heavily commercialized. Some religious leaders of course take notice. They never change their Buddhist attire. It's a brand. It's a signature.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 secondsTaoist monks and practitioners, on the other hand, do not shave their heads, which, in the world of trademark and instant recognizability, is a considerable disadvantage. Besides, how does Laozi look like? What distinguishes him from Confucius, Mencius, Zhuangzi, Mozi, or any other Mandarin for that matter? It cannot be the long beard, can it? Bertolt Brecht, the famed German post-war dramaturge and playwright, undoubtedly recognized Laozi's ‘image problem', and aided his audiences by putting the poet on the back of an oxriding into exile. It's a symbol for virility, strength, and wisdom. Everyone remembers an ox, right? Moreover, there are very few Taoist role models.

Skip to 1 minute and 59 secondsMost Europeans have heard about the "Shaolin"monks and their mountain monastery in Henan province of China, but that largely because they remember their looks and their kung-fu style. They've seen it on TV or in action movies. Once seen, those images are of course unforgettable. In comparison, the number of Taoist temples and schools in Hubei province of China are largely the unbeknownst to even the most educated Europeans outside the field. Layman Taoists and those material arts enthusiasts, of course, will strongly disagree. That's because to them, the Taoist concepts of Qi and Taijiquan are well established. They may be looking for better definitions yet, but not for"lazy" translations. This display of respect for China's socio-cultural originality goes a long way.

Skip to 3 minutes and 1 secondOther Taoist key terminologies, which sometimes overlap with Confucian and Buddhist ones, areDaojia, De, Fuguang, Fu-qi, Hun as in Hun and Po,

Skip to 3 minutes and 15 secondsand the highly significant archetypes of wisdom: the Daojun, that is the Taoist gentleman, the Xianren deities and superhuman beings, and Shengren, sages of the highest perfection. It's those categories and names that brandthe Taoist tradition. And if all those terms were omitted or actively suppressed, no matter their former pomp and glory, the culture they transported would derail, crash, and sink into the waters of collective amnesia. You must protect and cherish your cultural trademarks, your idols, and your brands.

Tao trademarks: Tao brands Tao idols

Taoism is of great importance and yet it is less “visible” than Buddhism in Europe, mainly because there are countless Buddha images while Taoist images are relatively fewer. Thus we know it is very important to protect and cherish cultural trademarks, idols, and brands.

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Taoism and Western Culture

DeTao Masters Academy