what exactly is taoism, and how does it differ from buddhism?

...or should i be asking this in the philosophy section?

10 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Differs a lot from Maharana Buddhism.... bit less from Theravada Buddhism. (Incidentally, a lot of people mix it up with Zen, which is actually a chinese form of Maharana Buddhism)...

    Explaining what it is happens not to be the simplest matter.... but essentially... it is a way of thinking advocating simplicity and natural order. It demonstrates in multiple forms that often the best way to do things is the simplest, and that complications in life lead only to strife and difficulty.

    To get a better idea I recommend you read the Tao Te Ching. It is very short, and you could probably read it all online.


    For further details and a slightly different read..... seek out the book Zhuangzi.... It is another well-known Taoist text (though rather more cynical and less serious in tone than the Tao Te Ching), and a personal inspiration to me (I quoted it in my profile).

    Source(s): I'm a Hui-Qu'ist... My personal way of saying Taoist / Nihilist hybrid.
  • 1 decade ago

    Well, the question of whether this goes in Religion & Spirituality or the Philosophy section is definitely a question for the Philosophy section. I'm not sure if there is a semantics subsection but that would be the way to go.

    Wikipedia has excellent information on definitions like this. There is some overlap between the two systems, as with any two reasonably sophisticated systems of thought. I would say the main difference is that the Tao is cool and has a Yin Yang, whereas the Buddha is awesome, and also cute and fat sometimes.

  • 1 decade ago

    Both of the words, "Taoism" and "Buddhism," really refer to a wide range of socio-spiritual movements. But the basics about them have largely already been touched on in the previous answers.

    Taoism is in ways a Chinese movement inviting us to return to our original Nature, to find a deeply Natural flow or "Way" in everything ... from how we walk a meadow path to how government should be conducted. ("Tao" means "Way.) It was long the Chinese alternative to Confucianism, where the latter was somewhat more focused on society and the Taoists tended to be more attentive to Nature.

    Later Taoism included involvement in folk traditions such as shamanism, herbalism, and alchemy. T'ai-ch'i can be viewed as a modern day expression of Taoist principles.

    Buddhism, on the other hand, originated in India. When it came to China, the Chinese used Taoist terms and ideas to understand and translate many of the Buddhist principles.

    And, as C. Coyote has shared, the two are well married in Zen, a Chinese Buddhist movement that came into its own in the T'ang Dynasty in the eighth century.

    But, in the end, it's a little hard to say what "exactly" Taoism is, because it's not a very precisely defined school nor a specifically limited set of practices. And, of course, as the first line of Lao Tzu's classic Taoist work, the "Tao Te Ching," says,

    "The Tao that can be talked about is not the forever Tao."


  • 1 decade ago

    Taoism is based more on the balance of the Universe, and how everything is in Balance. Like the Ying Yang where there is light and dark, and within light there is a little bit of dark and within dark there is a little bit of light. Buddhism is more based the afterlife, people always reincarnate and the souls are never lost. Something along the lines of that.

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  • 1 decade ago


    Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism

    Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism constitute the essence of the traditional Chinese culture. The relationship among the three has been marked by both contention and complementation in history, with Confucianism playing a more dominant role.

    Confucius (Kongzi, 551-479 B.C.), founder of Confucianism, stresses "Ren" (benevolence, love) and "Li" (rites), referring to respect for the system of social hierarchy. He attaches importance to education and was a pioneering advocate for private schools. He is particularly famous for teaching students according to their intellectual inclinations. His teachings were later recorded by his students in "The Analects."

    Mencius also contributed a great part to Confucianism, lived in the Warring States Period (389-305 B.C.), advocating a policy of benign government and a philosophy that human beings are good by nature. Confucianism became the orthodox ideology in feudal China and, in the long course of history, it drew on Taoism and Buddhism. By the 12th century, Confucianism had evolved into a rigid philosophy that calls for preserving heavenly laws and repressing human desires.

    Taoism was created by Lao Zi (around the sixth century B.C.), whose masterpiece is "The Classic of the Virtue of the Tao." He believes the dialectical philosophy of inaction. Chairman Mao Zedong once quoted Lao Zi: "Fortune lies in misfortune and vice versa." Zhuang Zhou, the main advocate of Taoism during the Warring States period, founded a relativism calling for the absolute freedom of the subjective mind. Taoism has greatly influenced Chinese thinkers, writers and artists.

    Buddhism was created by Sakyamuni in India around the 6th century B.C. Believing that human life is miserable and spiritual emancipation is the highest goal to seek. It was introduced into China through Central Asia around the time Christ was born. After a few centuries of assimilation, Buddhism evolved into many sects in the Sui and Tang Dynasties and became localized. That was also a process when the ingenuous culture of Confucianism and Taoism were blended with Buddhism. Chinese Buddhism has played a very important role on traditional ideology and art.


  • 1 decade ago

    well both were created from different guys and taoism teaches the balance of nature and flow of chi. while buddhism searches for wisdom and not to seek greed.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    i think of that "kaganate" notably plenty have been given it appropriate. and there is important overlap between the lessons. The Tao is widely seen to be the precursor of Zen Buddhism, case in point. advantages on your experience!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Read the Tao of Pooh. Very entertaining and explains much.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Zen is the joining of the two. It was also my entry through the gate-less gate. Very simple and direct.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think you have received enough fodder to chew on for a while...

    Peace be with you.

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