Taoism Vs Buddhism Essay Research Paper Taoism

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Taoism Vs. Buddhism Essay, Research Paper Taoism and Buddhism are the two great philosophical and religious traditionsthat originated in China. Taoism began the sixth century BCE. Buddhism came toChina from India around the second century of the Common Era. These tworeligions have shaped Chinese life and thought for nearly twenty-five hundredyears. One dominant concept in Taoism and Buddhism is the belief in some formof reincarnation. The idea that life does not end when one dies, is an integralpart of these religions and the culture of the Chinese people. Reincarnations,life after death, and beliefs are not standardized. Each religion has adifferent way of applying this concept to its beliefs. This paper will discussthe reincarnation concepts as they apply to Taoism and

Buddhism, and thenprovide a comparison of both. The goal in Taoism is to achieve Tao, to find “the Way”. Tao is theultimate reality, a presence that existed before the universe was formed andwhich continues to guide the world and everything in it. Tao is sometimesidentified as “the Mother”, or the source of all things. The sourceis not a god or a supreme being, as Taoism is not monotheistic. The focus isnot to worship one god, but instead to come into harmony with Tao. Tao is theessence of everything that is right, and complications exist only becausepeople choose to complicate their own lives. Desire, ambition, fame, andselfishness are seen as hindrances to a harmonious life. One can only achieveTao if he rids himself of all desires. By shunning every earthly

distraction,the Taoist is able to concentrate on the self. The longer the person\’s life,the more saintly the person is presumed to become. Eventually the hope is tobecome immortal, to achieve Tao, to reach the deeper life. This is the afterlife for a Taoist, to be in harmony with the universe, and to have achievedTao. The origin of the word Tao can explain the relationship between life, andthe Taoism concept of life and death. The Chinese character for Tao is acombination of two characters that represent the words as head and foot. Thecharacter for foot represents the idea of a person\’s direction or path. Thecharacter for head represents the idea of conscious choice. The character forhead also suggests a beginning, and foot, an ending. Thus the character for Taoalso conveys

the continuing course of the universe, the circle of heaven andearth. Finally, the character for Tao represents the Taoist idea that theeternal Tao is both moving and unmoving. The head in the character means thebeginning, the source of all things, or Tao itself, which never moves orchanges; the foot is the movement on the path. Taoism upholds the belief in thesurvival of the spirit after death. Taoist believes birth is not a beginning,and death is not an end. There is an existence without limit. There iscontinuity without a starting point. Applying reincarnation theory to Taoism isthe belief that the soul never dies, a person\’s soul is eternal. In thewritings of the Lao-Tzu Te-Tao Ching, Tao is described as having existed beforeheaven and earth. Tao is formless, it stands

alone without change and reacheseverywhere without harm. The Taoist is told to use the light that is inside torevert to the natural clearness of sight. By divesting oneself of all externaldistractions and desires, only then can one achieve Tao. In ancient days aTaoist that had transcended birth and death, achieved Tao, was said to have cutthe Thread of Life. In Taoism, the soul or spirit does not die at death. Thesoul is not reborn, it simply migrates to another life. This process, theTaoist version of reincarnation, is repeated until Tao is achieved. Thefollowing translation from the Lao-Tzu Te-Tao Ching summarizes the theorybehind Tao and how a Taoist can achieve Tao. The Great Tao flows everywhere. Itmay go left or right. All things depend on it for life, and it does not