Buddhism and Taoism: a Comparison of Beliefs, Theories, and Practices

2885 Words Apr 23rd, 2006 12 Pages
The belief in some higher presence, other than our own, has existed since man can recollect. Religion was established from this belief, and it can survive and flourish because of this belief. In Chinese history, Taoism and Buddhism are two great philosophical and religious traditions along with Confucianism. Taoism, originated in China around the sixth century BCE and Buddhism, came to China from India around the second century of the Common Era, Together have shaped Chinese life and thought for nearly twenty-five hundred years. One dominant concept in Taoism and Buddhism is the belief in some form of reincarnation. The idea that life does not end when one dies is an integral part of these religions and the culture of the Chinese people. …show more content…
Buddhists believe both life and death is an illusion, and that believing in this illusion, or "Maya", causes suffering; if we can detach ourselves from Maya, then we won't cling to life, nor have any fear of death. In the writings of The Tao Te Ching, Tao is described as having existed before heaven and earth. Tao is formless, stands alone without change and reaches everywhere without harm. The Taoist is told to use the light that is inside to revert to the natural clearness of sight. By divesting oneself of all external distractions and desires, only then can one achieve Tao. In ancient days a Taoist that had transcended birth and death, achieved Tao, was said to have cut the "Thread of Life" (Schipper, 1978). The soul, or spirit, is Taoism does not die at death. The soul is not reborn it migrates to another life. This process, the Taoist version of reincarnation, is repeated until Tao is achieved. The following translation from The Tao Te Ching best summarizes the theory behind Tao and how a Taoist can achieve Tao. The Great Way is very smooth, but the people love the by-paths . . . The wearing of gay embroidered robes, the carrying of sharp swords, fastidiousness in food and drink, superabundance of property and wealth: - this I call flaunting robbery; most assuredly it is not Tao . . . He who acts in accordance with Tao, becomes one with Tao . . . Being akin to Heaven, he possesses Tao. Possessed of Tao, he endures forever . . . Being
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