Comparison chart

Shinto versus Taoism comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartShintoTaoism
Place of origin Japan China
Place of worship Shrines. Temple, shrine.
Practices Visit to shrines to pay homage to Shinto deities; Shamanism, etc. Visit to shrines, to pay homage to Taoist deities; Tai Chi, etc.
Use of statues and pictures Permitted. Common
Goal of religion To serve the Shinto deities, or Kami, as they are known. To be one with nature.
Belief of God Numerous deities. Most follow numerous deities.
Belief Shinto is both a religion and way of life of Japan. Numerous kami (gods/goddesses/spirits). Taoism is both a religion and a philosophy of China, and of Asia as a whole. It stresses humanity's relationship with nature.
Founder No founder. Lao Tzu
Scriptures Kojiki, Nihon Shoki Daozang, a collection of 1400 texts organized in 3 sections. Includes the Tao Te Ching, Zhuang Zi, I Ching, and other.
Literal Meaning The Way of the gods. Those who follow the Way (Tao = Way)
Life after death Yomi Taoists believe that the soul survives after death and has the ability to travel through space.
View of the Buddha Buddha is followed by many Shintoists. Buddha is followed by many Taoists.
Original Language(s) Japanese Old Chinese
Concept of Deity Numerous deities. The sun is one of the most important ones(they believe that the sun is a goddess). Most believe in numerous deities.
Geographical distribution and predominance Shinto has influenced Japan for several millenia, with the height appearing before World War 2 China, Korea, to lesser extent Vietnam and Japan.
Clergy Priests, miko, etc. Priests
Concept of God Numerous deities. Numerous deities.
Followers Shintoists. Taoists (modern spelling also Daoists)
Status of women Women may become priestesses. But are still seen as less than men generally equal, spoken of highly in the tao te ching (oldest taoist text) but varies among schools.
Definition Way of the gods. Teaching of the Way
Principle The essence of Shinto is the Japanese devotion to invisible spiritual beings and powers called kami, to shrines, and to various rituals. Taoists believe that life is good. Taoism lays emphasis on the body.
Original Languages Japanese. Mandarin or Cantonese.
Holy days/Official Holidays The Japanese national holidays, as well as local shrine festivals (matsuri). Chinese New Year, 3 Day Festival of the Dead, Ancestor Day.
Offshoot religions Tenrikyo, other Japanese sects. Confucianism was based on early teachings of Taoism, and many folk religions derive from Taoism.
Time of origin Approx. 700 B.C. Approx. 550 B.C.E (before common Era)
Can atheists partake in this religion's practices? No. Yes
Virtue(s) in which religion is based upon Cleanliness/ Purity, Respect. Contemplation

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