Though there are significant Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean immigrant communities in Greater Boston, East Asian traditions such as Confucianism, Daoism, and Shintō are difficult to survey as there are very few religious centers. These traditions are deeply imbedded in the unique history, geography, and culture of their native countries and are often practiced in forms that are not limited to institutional or communal settings.
The ancient Chinese sage Lao-Tzu from the sixth century BCE taught a way of living in harmony with the Dao (“the Way”). Taoist traditions and practices, such as T’ai Chi, have influenced generations in China and continue to extend their influence in America. The characteristics and clientele of contemporary associations differ significantly from the earlier folk Taoist establishments, in that they frequently have a large non-Chinese following. In many, such as the Center for Traditional Taoist Studies in Weston, Massachusetts, the students and teachers are Euro-American. Although there are only two Dao centers in Greater Boston, there are many T’ai Chi centers, which draw on Daoist philosophy without focusing on the traditional religious aspects of the Dao.