A Self-Discovery Journey with "Tao Te Ching"

Learn about Taoist philosophy and learn how to apply Taoist wisdom! Lao Tzu’s 6th-century BCE Tao Te Ching has inspired millions. Tao can be translated as “way”, “path” and “principle” and does not need to be attached to one agenda, definition or culture. We’ll read and discuss the original text and significant concepts in Tao Te Ching. We’ll also explore examples of Taoism. We will take a multidisciplinary perspective to rediscover our own lives with ancient Eastern wisdom, exploring our inner selves through an ancient intellectual heritage.

A $60 discount will be applied automatically for adults 55+.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Christine Wong $200.00 2 Register

Schedule clarification: This is a six-week online course. It runs from Wednesday, February 10 to Tuesday, March 23. In the week following each date listed, you can study that week’s material, leave and respond to messages, and engage in course activities. You can do this at any time that suits you during the week. You will participate in live videoconferencing sessions on Tuesday, February 16 and Tuesday, March 16 from 3–4:30 p.m. PT.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Compare different English translations of Tao Te Ching
  • Outline the central philosophical concepts of Tao Te Ching
  • Identify the core values of Taoism in modern life
  • Discuss the challenges and possibilities of integrating and applying Taoist wisdom to real-life situations

Learning methods

  • Short readings, video lectures and PowerPoint presentations
  • Reflective exercises
  • Online discussion
For Liberal Arts for 55+ Certificate students: you will write a reflective essay.


Week 1: Introduction to Tao Te Ching and Lao Tzu

How did the Tao Te Ching come to be written? Who is Lao Tzu? What is Tao in Chinese philosophy? How is Tao described?

Week 2: The Way; one is all

What are the basic principles in Tao Te Ching? What is “the Way of the Tao”?

Week 3: Wu Wei... no action

How do you understand “doing” and “non-doing”? How do we keep the balance between “action” and “non-action”?

Week 4: Simplicity is beauty

Are we making things too complex? What is the art of simplicity? Why is staying simple necessary? However, are things simple?

Week 5: Emptiness is full

What is the significance of being “empty”? How does the Tao Te Ching define success? What is leading by not leading? What is leading by following?

Week 6: An on-going self-transformative project

What insights have you taken from the Tao Te Ching? How do you follow the Tao? What’s next for you and Taoist wisdom?

Books, materials and resources

You will access reading material using SFU's online course management system, Canvas.

Technical requirements

This course is delivered using SFU's online learning system, Canvas. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.  

To get the most out of this online course, you should be comfortable doing the following:

  • Using everyday software such as browsers, email and social media
  • Navigating a website by clicking on links and finding pages in a menu
  • Downloading and opening PDF documents
  • Posting, replying and uploading images to a discussion board
  • Participating in videoconferencing sessions

You will be participating in videoconferencing using Zoom Meetings. For this, your computer needs to have a camera, microphone and speakers or headphones. Your computer software should be up to date with the latest available operating system and browser versions.

Accessing your course

  • A few days before the course starts, we will email you more information about the course and how you'll access it. You will also receive an email inviting you to access the Canvas learning platform (click on the link in the invitation to join the course). Once you’ve accessed Canvas, you can begin exploring the platform on your own. The full course will be accessible on its start date.
  • We’ll also host a virtual drop-in time on Zoom Meetings a few days before the course starts. This will give you a chance to check that you can access Zoom Meetings, and that your computer’s camera and microphone and speakers are working properly.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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