Taoism Versus Buddhism Essay, Research Paper
Thursday 7, 2000
Taoism versus Buddhism
There are hundreds of religions in the world that are practiced. But only a few really stand out in the world and are widely known. I will focus on two particular religions and compare and contrast them. Taoism and Buddhism have said to be similar religions, but I have found that they really are pretty different. First I will discuss each of the religions main beliefs and how they are practiced. Then I will discuss how the two religions are similar to each other, and lastly I will show how they differ from each other.
First I will begin with Taoism. Taoism, as the word indicates, is the Religion of the Tao, a term meaning Path or Way, but denoting in this peculiar case the way, course or movement of the Universe, her processes and methods. In other words, Taoism is the Religion of Heaven and Earth, of the Cosmos, of the World or Nature in the broadest sense of these words. Hence we may call it Naturism (Davis 32). The meaning of Tao is The Road or The Way. It can also be described as the path that you should take to become what you should be. To practice Taoism is to have correct behavior, follow the proper rules of life, religion, and have good principles. To sum up the way of Taoism is that if you follow the path and not get distracted then you will achieve happiness.
Buddhism is the oldest of the three world religions. Buddhism has helped to shape the social culture of India and other Asian countries. Buddhism was started by a man by the name of Siddhartha Gautama, later to be known as Buddha. Siddhartha lead a very sheltered life because his father did not want him to know what suffering was like. He soon realized that suffering was inevitable (Davis 2). He wanted to know what suffering was all about and how you can overcome it. Once he became enlightened he decided to try and help others find salvation. The entire basis of Buddhism is to avoid these two extremes: attachment to the pleasures of the senses, which is low and vulgar, and attachment to self- mortification, which is painful: both are unprofitable. The Buddha encouraged those who wished to escape from suffering to follow his example and renounce the world. Buddhism is in a sense a world religion because it has been able to adapt itself to a variety of social systems. Buddhism is a universalistic religion residing in men?s hearts. (Davis 12).
Taoism and Buddhism were born in the same century. One of the similarities between the two religions is that they both do not follow any type of God. They teach a way of life. Another similarity is that they both are mainly focused and derived from India and other Asian countries. Both Taoism and Buddhism believe that you can have a better life if you follow their way of life. Also the two religions both have very deep and complicated meanings. They both are uncomprehendable untill one has attained it. Buddhism and Taoism are both connected with the earth and nature. Another vital concept of Taoism is that of the wu-wei which is to achieve action through minimal action or inaction. Action is friction and inaction is pure effectiveness in Taoism. This concept compares with Buddhist meditation in which one remains perfectly still and uses only one?s mind. In this state, one may reach enlightenment.
At one time the two religions were thought to be part of three religions that were all connected.
There are just a few differences between Taoism and Buddhism. One of the differences is that Buddhism was founded by just one person, and Taoism was founded by a group of people. Another difference is the actual core beliefs which separates most religions.
In conclusion the basic belief between the two religions is that you can have a good life if you follow a certain way.