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Taoists/Buddhists?



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Siren

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I've been reading into these different belief-sets, and I'm wondering if any members here follow either one (or both) or are knowledgeable enough to have an informer conversation. I'm still reading through a good deal of text from various websites, but knowledge is best gained through conversation (at times) so I'd like to pick someone's brain.

Or, alternately, use this as an open discussion. Whichever.
 

valorform24

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I am quite interested on researching Buddhism, not for worship but more for a sense of peace and meditation.
 

Onasi

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Taoism/Buddhism? Good choice, good choice. Both are very interesting ideologies.

Well Buddhism is all about the quest for enlightenment. It has the benefit that its practices can practically be adopted by any culture and even other faiths. It is distancing yourself from worldly possessions that bog you down on your spiritual path. The path to enlightenment however is a long and hard one that, if you believe in the Buddhist belief of reincarnation, may stretch many lifetimes. It's peaceful nature lends it self well to people who are already in a pacifist type of mindset. If you decide to convert to this religion I would suggest that you try to talk with a monk at some point. I also suggest you look into the Zen Buddhist philosophy.

I'm sure that in the grand scheme of things that this probably wont help you much but I wish you luck on your spiritual path.
 

Reflection

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i used to think i was super cool so i started calling myself a taoist

it probably makes the most sense to me, as a religion/belief to subscribe to, but it made me feel like a stupid coffeeshop hipster or something saying i was a taoist...

but seriously get yourself a copy of the tao te ching, if you like it. it's a great piece of work.

also i made a buddhism thread a bit of a while ago but i think sam spammed it up so uh
ohp i found it here: http://forums.khinsider.com/religion/135800-buddhism.html
 

Onasi

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can any one outline the differences between a Taoist and a Buddhist
Buddhists believe that all life is suffering. There is a belief in reincarnation. You distance yourself from the earthly world to reach spiritual enlightenment IE Nirvana. It is a Monotheistic faith.

Taoists believe that "the way" inclines followers to become more in tune with nature and the earthly world. It is more of a philosophy for how to live your life that incorporates many Buddhist principals and aspects of ancient Chinese mythology. It is a Polytheistic faith.

In their early histories the two religions influenced each other. Think of it as a similar relationship to Roman and Greek mythology or Muslims and Christians. They share many similar practices and beliefs but, just as the name suggests, Taoism is simply a different "Way"

The two faiths also share much in common with Jainism, Confucianism, and Hinduism.
 

Siren

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I've actually been reading about Buddhism with 'Confession of a Buddhist Atheist' and I really like the author's interpretations. Essentially, a lot of the metaphysical concepts within Buddhism (spiritual karma, rebirth, etc.) are actually Hinduism wrapped within a Buddhist label. Zen (Or Ch'an) Buddhism, on the other hand, borrows a lot of concepts from Taoism. One of the things I really enjoy about Buddhism is that it can really fit in with other religions/belief sets, so I have been considering myself a 'Buddhist with Taoist tendencies' for a while.

Meditation has been pretty great (when I'm disciplined enough to do it, ugh) and I think that some of the main messages are fairly accurate (nothing is permanent; clinging to something that is impermanent will cause 'suffering', etc.) so I really don't feel any shame associated with the label. Then again, I don't believe in rebirth, so take that with a grain of salt.
 

valorform24

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Buddhists believe that all life is suffering. There is a belief in reincarnation. You distance yourself from the earthly world to reach spiritual enlightenment IE Nirvana. It is a Monotheistic faith.
The true form of Buddhism does not believe in Buddha as a God but as a man who received enlightenment. When it spread to China, however, it was changed and they worshiped Buddha. (Also they made him fat)

I like the Indian Buddhism and their beliefs much more than the other form.
 

Midnight Warrior

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In Buddhism, there is a concept of "emptiness" but it isn't "emptiness" in the conventional understanding of the word. To be empty is to contain everything and understand that all in the universe is one, but at the same time, all in the universe bears an individualistic property. The best way to illustrate this is through a song by Donovan: YouTube - ‪Donovan- There is a mountain‬‏

The lyrics go: "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is."

First there is a mountain, i.e., there is a mountain in the conventional understanding of a mountain. Then there is no mountain because the mountain is empty; the mountain is not just a mountain, but is everything in the universe that has come together in order for that mountain to exist. Then there is a mountain again, which signifies the middle way--a concept that is prevalent all throughout Buddhism. This middle way signifies that it's not as simple as saying that there is a mountain or there isn't one--but it's both at the same time.

Buddhism is about finding the middle way. There's an old legend about the Buddha. He came across a man who was tightening the strings on his sitar, and the man told the Buddha something along the lines of: "The strings can't be too loose or too tight; I have to find the middle way for the instrument to sound its best." The Buddha used this concept when framing his philosophy.
 

Onasi

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The true form of Buddhism does not believe in Buddha as a God but as a man who received enlightenment. When it spread to China, however, it was changed and they worshiped Buddha. (Also they made him fat).
Actually, the fat Buddha isn't Buddha at all. He's called Budai and was a monk. He is part of Chinese folk lore. He is actually sometimes believed to be one of the 7 lucky Gods in Taoism. The closest thing to him would be a santa like character. Him being fat is very funny since people think he is Buddha, because as well all know, Buddha survived off of very small portions of food. I don't think I implied that they worshiped Buddha. Though Buddhism does mark a belief in a creator, though believing in him isn't a necessary to be a Buddhist because it is believed that believing in a creator is a hindrance to enlightenment. Indian Buddhism is also much different than other forms of Buddhism.
 

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I've been wanting to try this experiment for awhile, but an interesting byway into Buddhism, Taoism and other Oriental religious philosophies would be through 20th century science-fiction writers. Many of those writers, especially around the 1950s, were very interested and not at all uneducated in these ideologies. You could start most explicitly with Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light (1967) and William Gibson's "All Tomorrow's Parties" (1999), as the former includes most of the Hindu pantheon (reimagined) and the latter a very Taoist assassin; but I'm convinced you can find the same influences in Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land, 1961), Arthur C. Clarke (Childhood's End, 1953), et cetera. They are certainly worth a look.

Another good fiction book, though not science-fiction, is Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha".

I am very interested, though only a little educated, in both these philosophies as well, so a number of things brought up in this thread caught my attention.

Reflection said:
but seriously get yourself a copy of the tao te ching, if you like it. it's a great piece of work.
The only edition of this I've read in full was edited by Ursula K. LeGuin, another science-fiction writer. She didn't actually translate it herself, not reading Chinese, but she composed her edition through the translations of others (along with commentary), and I think she did an admirable job.

A book I really like is "The Way of Chuang Tzu", edited by Thomas Merton. Merton, like LeGuin, didn't read Chinese and so did not translate the work, but was inspired by translations in multiple other languages. He was a Christian monk, and I really like his take on the Taoist thinker Chuang Tzu.

Reflection said:
also i made a buddhism thread a bit of a while ago but i think sam spammed it up so uh
ohp i found it here: http://forums.khinsider.com/religion/religion/religion/religion/religion/religion...-buddhism.html
I remember that thread. I wouldn't say Sam spammed it though--he had a very serious critique of Buddhism, and he and a few others expressed it well. I think it's definitely worth reading.

Onasi said:
Buddhists believe that all life is suffering. There is a belief in reincarnation. You distance yourself from the earthly world to reach spiritual enlightenment IE Nirvana. It is a Monotheistic faith.

Taoists believe that "the way" inclines followers to become more in tune with nature and the earthly world. It is more of a philosophy for how to live your life that incorporates many Buddhist principals and aspects of ancient Chinese mythology. It is a Polytheistic faith.
These are good descriptions of Buddhism and Taoism--however, identifying either as a monotheistic or polytheistic religion is very problematic. For the sake of example, see this Talk Page for the Wikipedia article on God in Buddhism.

Siren said:
Essentially, a lot of the metaphysical concepts within Buddhism (spiritual karma, rebirth, etc.) are actually Hinduism wrapped within a Buddhist label. Zen (Or Ch'an) Buddhism, on the other hand, borrows a lot of concepts from Taoism.
If Buddhism and Taoism have become intertwined, Buddhism and Hinduism are even moreso, and have been since their mutual birth.

valorform24 said:
The true form of Buddhism does not believe in Buddha as a God but as a man who received enlightenment. When it spread to China, however, it was changed and they worshiped Buddha. (Also they made him fat)

I like the Indian Buddhism and their beliefs much more than the other form.
Historically there are many forms of Buddhism. This wikipedia article does a good job of at least explaining the complexity. Buddhism - Schools and Traditions
 
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