How many daoist lineages exist in the world? Can you list them?

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Well, I'll bite.


It depends on how you count lineages and traditions. Roughly speaking, Daoist lineages are divided into Quanzhen and Zhengyi. Quanzhen, or Complete Reality, is focused on internal alchemy. Zhengyi, or Orthodox Unity, is more diverse and is noted for rituals.


These two main branches are subdivided into many different lineages. What happened was that by the Yuan Dynasty, a new religious movement under the name of Quanzhen was sweeping North China. This forced the existing lineages to consolidate under the name of Zhengyi.


In history books, you will often come across lineages which no longer exist independently, but whose teachings are incorporated into existing lineages.


There are family lineages, too, which don't necessarily fit into either Quanzhen and Zhengyi. Shamanism has always had a close relation to Daoism. Often, shamanic lineages are classed as heterodox lineages - e.g. On a lower rank than orthodox lineages.


There are many ways to involve yourself in Daoism without ascribing to a Daoist lineage at first, e.g. through Chinese activities like martial arts, feng-shui, divination, etc. However, if you want to progress on the path, eventually you will have to find a teacher who knows Daoism.


I hope this helps.

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