How to Become a Taoist Priest

The yin-yang is the central symbol of Taoism.

The steps for becoming a priest or other member of the clergy in different sects of Christianity are well defined and easily understood. The steps to becoming a Taoist priest, however, are less clear cut. In actuality, there are no clearly defined guidelines to becoming a Taoist priest; an aspirant can only become one when ordained by a Taoist Grand Master who views the candidate as ready for priesthood. There are some common practices, however, that can put you on the path to that ordainment.

Read Taoist texts, both historical and modern. Popular texts include the "Tao Te Ching," the "Book of Divine Deliverance," the "Book of Secret Revelations," the "Can Tong Qi," the "Book of the Lower Elixir Field" and the "Book of Purity and Quietness."

Recite Taoist texts. The recitation of texts externalizes them, allowing you to not only consume the texts, but express them with your own breath. At least one Grand Master requires 1,000 consecutive days of recitations.

Engage in meditation. Several Eastern religions -- including Taoism -- incorporate meditation as a part of spiritual practice. Regular daily mediation is a necessity if you wish to attain priesthood.

Study martial arts. The martial art most commonly associated with Taoism is Tai Chi. This variant of the martial arts is characterized by very slow and controlled movements that focus on precise coordination rather than power.

Study Taoist rituals. There are a variety of rituals that Taoist priests perform. On your way to becoming a Taoist priest, you will experience some, if not all, of these rituals. Understanding the procedures and meanings associated with each ritual is of utmost importance.

Study the healing arts. One of the most well-regarded tenets of Taoism is virtue, particularly with regard to helping others. Taoism and medicine have a bond that goes back thousands of years, and Taoists have traditionally sought ways to heal physical ailments.

Geoff Hineman has been a professional writer since 2001. His work has appeared in Dodge Magazine, The Ann Arbor Paper and online. Hineman holds a Master of Arts in writing from Northern Michigan University.