The Daodejing (DDJ) also known as the Laozi must be ranked as one of the most important spiritual classics of world literature; and as a sacred text, a document of religious practice and reflected belief. This claim is not without objection. Not all users of the Daodejing, whether in China or elsewhere, share the opinion that the DDJ is a religious text. Some think of it exclusively as philosophical in intent; or as principally a work of literary interest. This is an important issue, but its resolution emerges by considering not only how the text is used in the modern or contemporary period, but also its compilation, use, and authority throughout Chinese history.