Taoism is not generally known as a proselytizing religion these days, but was there ever a time when Taoist missionaries were found?

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    Not just these days, Taosim was never really known as a proselytising religion. For the most part Taoism expanded passively. But yes, you can find some examples of "missionaries" sent out by certain sects. Though typically they were perhaps more akin to the Christians apostles than later run of the mill missionaries. – Semaphore Jun 18 '16 at 12:34

Taoism gained much popularity by the end of the Southern Song period.

When the Mongol Empire started invading, they had the habit of massacring the whole population after a city was sacked. Taoist missionary Qiu Chuji visited Genghis Khan and managed to convince him not to commit any more massacres after battle.


Generally speaking, there were very few Taoist missionaries in Chinese History.

The most famous Taoist missionary would be:

Three Kingdom Dynasty, Zhang Jue:

From history and Chinese wiki: In 184 AD plague spread out in China. Thousands of people were cured after drinking ash water from him. He sent 8 major missionaries and around 2/3 of China became his believers at that time. Then they became the major army of the Yellow Turban Rebellion.

Tis rebellion leaded to the end of The Han Dynasty.

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    Source for 2/3 people of China being his believers? – congusbongus Oct 19 '16 at 2:54
  • It's from the Chinese Wiki Page: zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%BC%B5%E8%A7%92, 追隨的信徒愈來愈多,甚至高達數十萬人,遍及青州、徐州、幽州、冀州、荊州、揚州、兗州、豫州等八州人,皆祀奉張角的名字,幾乎佔了當時全國的三分之二,信徒尊稱「大賢良師」。 And the source of wiki marked as "Book of the later Han". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_the_Later_Han – Val Oct 19 '16 at 3:06
  • I think you misread that passage. It means his followers were spread across 2/3 of China's provinces, not that his followers, a mere 數十萬人, represented 2/3 of China's population, which was about 50+ million. – congusbongus Oct 19 '16 at 3:23
  • @congusbongus Modified my answer, removed "people" to match the original statement more closely. Thank you. – Val Oct 19 '16 at 3:48
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    Actually it's very hard to estimate how many believers they got. At that time government failed, plague spread, with severe famine, they seem to be the major helpful organization at that time. They feed people, and they cure the plague. After the rebellion broke out, more than 300k people joined. And all the other believers were considered rebellions also. They may just hide or reject to admit their faith. The real question might be: what was the percentage of believers would sacrifice, even die for their faith? – Val Oct 19 '16 at 4:14

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