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What are some key differences between Buddhism and Taoism?

Just to help someone who is strongly drawn to both philosophies and looking for clarity.

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Asked by Collinsky at 10:10 PM on May. 30, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 10 (376 Credits)
Answers (3)
  • Okay, it has been a while, but I was totally into both when I practiced martial arts. As far as I can remember Buddhism has the outlook that life is full of suffering and the only way to get past that is to get rid of your desires (follow the 8 fold path). Kind of like a stoic way of thinking.

    And Taoism is more laid back. More like a hippy or an epicurian. You can and should enjoy life, as long as you do it in moderation. You should be in harmony with nature. We used to sit next to this stream and listen to the water trickling past on the rocks and contemplate the path of the stream and how when we are long dead the grass will still grow and the water will still flow.

    I was told though that you don't have to pick one. You can practice both. I personally preferred taosim because I am pretty free spirited, LOL. I don't sit around thinking that life sucks. That is just what I remembered. You guys can clarify . . .

    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 10:35 PM on May. 30, 2009

  • (its been a while for me, too - don't usually get to talk about the more Eastern Religions)
    You can practice both, Cinnamon-mom - as a matter of fact, many Chinese/Japanese practice Buddhism, Taoism, AND Confucianism, letting each have precedent over certain aspects of their lives.
    Taoism IS "laid back", lol. It is concerned with wu-wei, or non-interference/"going with the flow" and the naturality of yin/yang (as in keeping balance and practicing wu-wei to stay in harmony with one another and the universe), as opposed to Buddhism being concerned about an active need to overcome our desire in order to release ourselves from suffering.
    But there are many similarities, which is why they work so well together.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 10:49 PM on May. 30, 2009

  • This is a good question. I never knew the differences.

    Answer by pnwmom at 12:50 AM on May. 31, 2009

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