The distinction or differences between Taoism vs Buddhism Religion Essay; Taoism originated in China and many believe that it started in the sixth century B.C; whereas Buddhism said originated in the 500’s B.C. in India. Both Taoism and Buddhism are great philosophical traditions and religions that have long histories; and had strongly influenced and shaped the Chinese culture and values.
Here is the article to explain, What is the Religion Essay of distinction or differences between Taoism Vs Buddhism?
These two religions have some similarities, they exist even considered as one kind in Malaysia’s culture. Both Taoism and Buddhism believe in reincarnation which means life after death and both have similar ultimate goals. However, they are very different in their beliefs, practices, and perspectives; about individual life, society, values, culture, the environment, and even the universe.
Different objective principles;
Taoism vs Buddhism have different objective principles; different views and beliefs about life after death which exists widely known as reincarnation; also different ways and solutions to cooperate and solve the problems in life, and different perspectives and practices about marriage.
The word Tao of Taoism in Chinese means the way or the path. In Taoism, its objective is to achieve Tao; which means to attain the right path in life, and by doing so; we will be able to become immortal. Besides that, Tao is sometimes also considered as the origin of everything; which already existed and guided the whole world; and everything to work on their roles before the universe existed existing formed.
In Taoism, it is more focusing on personal or individual philosophy; because it is more focusing on how to achieve Tao, harmony, and balancing of one-self; and it does not motivate people to find ways and solutions to help; and, improve the community or society as in every individual should do it by herself or himself. It also said that everything in the world is simple, correct, and good; life becomes complex is because human beings choose to live a complex life.
On the other hand, in Buddhism’s beliefs life is suffering; which other compares with Taoism believes that life is all about goodness; Buddhists believe that having illness or suffering is the nature of life that we cannot escape from. Birth, getting old, getting sick or ill, and death is the natural cycle of life.
According to Buddhism, the only way to put suffering in life to an end is to understand the four noble truths of life and practice the noble eightfold path; which are the right knowledge or understanding, right intention, right speech, right behavior or action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration (Buddhist Temples).
8 Best Noble or Path;
- The first noble eightfold path is right knowledge that refers to the correct understanding of what is life about or the understanding of the four noble truths of life.
- The second path is right intention means the right wills aspect; which is to abstain from lusts, to gain immunity from negative emotions; such as hate and anger, and to be innocuous which is not to be violent or aggressive.
- The third path is right speech which brings the meaning of not talking bad or harmful words and to being aware of what we are saying by choosing the right words and right tone.
- The fourth path is right behavior or right actions; which are to act correctly and the reasons of action or behavior; and this consists of the five main rules of Buddhism; which are not to kill, pilfer, consume alcoholic drinks, commit sex crimes, and also to be honest.
- The fifth path is right livelihood which is to gain or earn money and wealth legally and morally.
- The sixth path is right effort involves practicing the right will and controlling self-serving devotion and thirst.
- The seventh path is right mindfulness which is to be aware; and have the ability to see things without being affected by other people or the environment.
- The eighth path is right concentration refers to the mental force of focusing on the ultimate goal of Buddhism; and this involves practicing meditation which is to clear your mind and develop the right concentration.
Taoism vs Buddhism believes in life after death which knows as reincarnation. They believe that the life cycle does not have a beginning or an ending; which simply means that life, death, and rebirth perceive as a continuous cycle; they think that death is not the end of life (Valea E., n.d.). But both of them have different explanations and perspectives on reincarnation.
According to Taoism, the soul or spirit never die, it will shift to the other body; which is to reborn to be another person and this will repeat until it attains the Tao. It said that everyone has an inner light of oneself that can guide us back to a clean; and clear mind and pull away from distractions and lusts; Tao can only obtain by following this inner light of oneself. Taoism also believes that the soul has the ability to travel through space; and time and becomes immortal when Tao achieves it.
Whereas in Buddhism beliefs, samsara, the wheel of rebirth, and the sufferings of life will only come to an end when one achieves Nirvana which is the highest or final state of the life cycle, and become immortal. The other belief of reincarnation in Buddhism that is different from the belief in Taoism is that Taoism believes that reborn is a transformation of the soul from one human body to another, but according to the Buddhism belief, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth consists of good and evil behavior which divides the transmigration into three different stages and this lead to the transformation of souls into different forms respectively.
Rules and practices;
The ones who act totally different way from the rules and practices of Buddhism will send to hell and this is the first stage of transmigration. In the second stage, those who did something; which consider quite evil will be transmigrating into animal forms; yet spirits will become more alike to humans or rebirth as a human again after turns of transmigration.
The following stage which is the third stage involves the spirit becomes chaste by putting down self egos; and lusts which is the change from aesthesis to non-aesthesis; and it also consists of going through many phases of spiritual transformation and rebirth; finally, reach Nirvana which is the ultimate goal of Buddhism. The stages of reincarnation determine by one action, it says that the past action decides the current life; and present action decides the future life; because Buddhists believe that one’s behavior is according to the mind and thoughts but not fate; therefore one shall deserve what it takes from the result of what he or she did.
Perspectives and beliefs;
Besides the perspectives and beliefs, the difference between Buddhism and Taoism is the ways of handling and solving problems in life such as health problems. According to Taoism, everything in this world has its own natural order, and the way to handle problems first is to understand nature; the Yin-yang concept is the core concept of this particular principle. Yin-yang concept state that reality is binary which consists of the combination of two opposite elements to form the entirety by balancing these two opposite elements.
In addition, conquering the defectiveness of the soul by attaining the balance of oneself; then leads to conducting the mental or cosmic energy that knows as Chi in one self’s body believe; that can help to heal illness or sickness of the body. The creation of the Tai Chi exercise is based on the Yin-yang concept which can help to circulate and balance; the Chi in the body and maintain body health; because Taoists believe that illnesses cause by the imbalance or jamming of Chi in the circulation of the body.
Meanwhile, in Buddhism’s beliefs, problems in life like illness and sickness are a part of life; hence they should accept as the nature of life. Buddhism requires the finding of problems source; meditation is the practice of Buddhist that guides people to find focus, peace, and calm in oneself, and the presence of focus, peace, and calm will help to identify the origin of problems and guidance to take good actions to overcome the problems. At the same time, unlike Taoists healing illness by balancing the opposite elements and conducting the Chi, Buddhists seek medications. However, because Buddhists believe in life, herbal medications which extract and purified from the plants are the only medication used by Buddhists.
Relationships and marriage;
Buddhism and Taoism are also different in how they look at relationships and marriage. According to Buddhism beliefs, marriage is not a necessary event in one’s life; so there is no special type of ceremony or practice for getting married. Besides that, sexual activity is only accepted socially and ethically when it takes place in marriage; and it does not accept when there is not within a marriage relationship.
Buddhism believes that in a marriage, both husband and wife will need to possess four important qualities to become well-matched and maintain a good marriage, the four qualities are faith, virtue, generosity, and wisdom. Faith requires the understanding between the husband and wife, it is through understanding each other that helps to build up trust, honor, and faith, and faith is the main key that will lead to the development of virtue, generosity, and wisdom.
According to Buddhism beliefs, satisfactions of the five senses and reproduction are the two main purposes of marriage because it said that not a single figure, sound, smell, savor and touch can attract a man more than a woman and this same goes for a woman. Besides that, reproduction is important to society because of the obligations of the family which means children will be the ones who are responsible to take care of and support the parents and protect and continuing the unique customs of the family.
On the other hand;
Taoism believes that woman represents Yin and man represents Yang, and the Tao means the path to harmony will achieve when a woman and a man get into a relationship and commit together as one, the Yin chi will accept by the man and Yang chi will receive by the woman, then both Yin and Yang will combine into one and balanced. Some people relate the word Tao with marriage by saying that marriage is the Tao to future means the way or path towards the future because the life after marriage is like a new life and through marriage, babies are born: babies are the hope and creation for the future.
At the same time, since Taoism emphasizes on balancing and harmony of nature, it also laid stress on the harmony of the relationships between people, especially for husband and wife. Thus, husband and wife should avoid confrontations and serious conflicts. Prevention of confrontations or even conflicts can make by calm, love, caring, respect, acceptance, humility, communication, emotional control, self-awareness, self-reflection, sacrifice, and support and understanding of each other.
On the whole, Taoism vs Buddhism are religions that guide people on how to live a good life and teach the important values of life. These two religions have some similarities and sometimes these similarities may even cause people to mistake that both of them are the same religion or some may mistake the beliefs and practices of Buddhism and the beliefs and practices of Taoism.
Death and life cycle;
There are similar beliefs between these two religions such as both of their belief in the life after death and life cycle never end and also Taoism vs Buddhism have a similar ultimate goal, but their objective principles, their understanding, beliefs, and interpretation about the life after death, their perspectives and methods to deal with the problems especially health problems in life, and their point of view and practices in relationships and marriage are very different. Taoism and Buddhism have their unique and different way of thinking and interpretation of life.