More young Taoist priests need to be recruited, and the religion must make greater use of modern technology if it is to appeal to new audiences, a former Chinese legislator said at a Taoism conference that concluded Tuesday.
The spread of Taoism around China and the world is hindered by people's lack of knowledge of its history and doctrines, said Xu Jialu, former vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, at the three-day forum.
"A Chinese way of thinking should be employed to study Taoist scriptures and build a Taoist philosophy in the 21st century based on discussion, selection and elimination of philosophical concepts embedded in these scriptures," Xu said.
"Taoism, a religion created by the people, cannot afford losing the support of them."
Xu, pointing out the younger generation's increasing scientific awareness, added that some of Taoism's mythical elements, such as achieving immortality, may deter the public if not interpreted in an appealing way.
Taoism is an ancient religion originating from the writings and philosophy of Lao Tze (BC 571-471). According to his "Tao De Ching", everything in the universe was born from a vacuum, and a balance must be achieved between human beings and nature.
The forum was held at the foot of Mount Hengshan in Nanyue district of Hunan's Hengyang City. The mountain is one of China's "Five Sacred Religious Mountains" and a scenic site renowned for its hundreds of Taoist and Buddhist temples. The event was co-sponsored by the Chinese Taoist Association and the China Religious Culture Communication Association.