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Buddhism and Taoism

What is the difference between Buddhism and Taoism?

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Asked by CRoseJS4 at 4:12 AM on Mar. 6, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 6 (105 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • "Taoism’s ultimate goal is Tao (the way), which is harmony with the infinite and first-cause of the universe. Buddhism’s absolute aim is Nirvana, the highest state of spiritual bliss, free from pain and suffering. The Taoist way of life is focused on aligning oneself to the natural way of cosmos. While the Buddhist’s is on understanding and surpassing pain and suffering through leading a moral life."


    Answer by bandgeek521 at 8:42 AM on Mar. 6, 2011

  • One difference is how they use the world emptiness. Another difference is that most Buddhists do not believe in a permanent soul. Bandgeek has a good link above, but I wanted to point out that many Buddhists actually consider focusing on Nirvana or even on God as yet another attachment and distraction from what is important. The Buddha focused more on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path than on attaining Nirvana. Of course, there are many sects of Buddhism, so it's hard to generalize. Cessation of suffering and living compassionately are usually the primary focus for most Buddhists though. Teachings in Buddhism have been more systematized, while teachings in Taoism are less formalized--it's trying to put into words that which cannot be expressed with words. Some paths blend Buddhism and Taoism, like Zen Buddhism.

    Answer by pam19 at 9:32 AM on Mar. 6, 2011

  • I primarily practice Buddhism, but I'm very interested in and practice some aspects of Taoism. My husband is more of a Taoist.

    A couple more links for you:

    Buddhism vs Taoism

    Buddhism and Taoism Beliefs

    Answer by pam19 at 9:35 AM on Mar. 6, 2011

  • Here's a link about their different uses of the word 'emptiness'.

    Emptiness in Buddhism and Taoism

    Answer by pam19 at 9:38 AM on Mar. 6, 2011

  • Thanks!

    Comment by CRoseJS4 (original poster) at 10:33 AM on Mar. 6, 2011

  • Actually, it is said that Buddhism stemmed from the teachings of Taoism; The Buddha often spoke with and sought the advice of Taoists like Lao Tzu. Taoism's purpose is harmony through balance -- that we cannot be accept happiness if we refuse to accept pain, that we cannot be wise if we do not practice being humble. It's basically all about balance, even existence is balanced against nonexistence. With Buddhism, it's purpose is fairly linear; avoid suffering and gain enlightenment in hopes of breaking the cycle of rebirth/reincarnation. You don't learn from your pain or your experiences, you simply attempt to avoid whatever can cause you these, and you try to "outdo" your past life in hopes of not having to repeat/relearn it.

    Answer by domesticrecluse at 12:19 AM on Apr. 19, 2011

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