Difference Between Buddhism and Taoism

Buddhism vs Taoism
 

Buddhism and Taoism are two religions that are followed primarily in Asia and show some differences between them. One of the primary differences between them is that Taoism originated from China, whereas Buddhism originated from India. It is believed that Taoism originated in the late 4th century BCE (Before Common Era) while Buddhism originated sometime between 6th and 4th century BCE. As you can see, both religions are even older than Christianity. Lord Buddha is the founder of Buddhism while the founder of Taoism is Lao Tzu. Though both are Asian religions, there are some interesting differences between Buddhism and Taoism, especially in their beliefs.

What is Buddhism?

The highest goal of Buddhism consists of the attainment of Nirvana or the state of the highest Bliss or the Supreme Bliss. It is otherwise called as the spiritual bliss attained. This is because once an individual attains Nirvana that individual becomes free from pain and all sorts of suffering as he or she gains freedom from the cycle of birth and death. It is important to know that the religion of Buddhism is derived from the word ‘buddhi’ which means ‘intellectual awakening.’ It is important to know that Buddhism can be explained in a nutshell. A Buddhist should lead a life of morality, should strive hard to develop understanding, and should be mindful of actions. Enlightenment is the highest aim of humanity, and it brings great happiness to the person. It is very important to realize that the state of enlightenment can be reached only at the cessation of pain and suffering. One of the important messages of Buddhism is that life goes on forever due to rebirth. It firmly believes in the theory of rebirth. In other words, Buddhism encourages the phenomenon of rebirth. The goal of a Buddhist is to get elevated in each and every birth until he attains Nirvana. In short, it can be said that Nirvana can put an end to the continuous cycle of rebirths that include birth and death. These rebirths are called by the Buddhist as sansara.

Difference Between Buddhism and Taoism

What is Taoism?

Taoism has been existent for more than 2000 years. It is otherwise called Daoism. It is interesting to note that the word Taoism is derived from the word ‘Tao,’ which means ‘way’ or the life force that guides living beings in the universe. Hence, the ultimate aim of the religion of Taoism consists in the attainment of the way that reaches the very first cause of the universe. In other words, the attainment of harmony with the first cause of the universe is the ultimate goal of Taoism. That is becoming one with the nature. According to Taoism, every Taoist should harmonize himself with the Tao. Soul is considered eternal in Taoism. It meets with no death. Instead, it goes into another life and continues to live until it attains the highest goal; namely, the attainment of Tao. At the end of the attainment of the highest goal, the soul realizes reincarnation. So, Taoism believes in the theory of reincarnation. The Taoists have only the way to harmonize with the first cause of the universe to look for in their life. This is the ultimate truth of the religion of Taoism.

 Buddhism vs Taoism

What is the difference between Buddhism and Taoism?

• Founder:

• The founder of Buddhism was Lord Buddha or Gautama Buddha.

• The founder of Taoism was Lao Tzu.

• Place of origin:

• Buddhism originated in India.

• Taoism originated in Nepal.

• Time of origin:

• Buddhism originated sometime between 6th and 4th century BCE.

• It is believed that Taoism originated in the late 4th century BCE. On the other hand, Buddhism was established at least a few centuries before Taoism was established.

• Goal:

• The goal of Buddhism is attaining Nirvana and gaining freedom from the cycle of birth and death.

• The goal of Taoism is attaining harmony with the first cause of universe.

• Concept of soul:

• Buddhism does not believe in a soul.

• Taoism believes in a soul that is everlasting.

• Reincarnation and Rebirth:

• Since Buddhism does not believe in a soul, it only believes in rebirth where a person is born again and again until that person attains Nirvana. No soul travels from one birth to the other in Buddhism.

• However, since Taoism believes in a soul, they believe in reincarnation where their everlasting soul begins a new life after death.

• Belief in Gods:

• Buddhism does not believe in gods.

• Taoism believes in gods.

These are the important differences between the two important religions, namely, Buddhism and Taoism.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Buddhist monks via Pixabay (Public Domain)
  2. Taoist temple by Shizhao (CC BY-SA 3.0)