How connected is Tao with Buddhism and Confucianism?

Discussion in 'Tao' started by iBrian, May 9, 2004.

  1. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Vapour,

    thank you for the post.

    i think that it would be better to start a new thread with your previous post as it should generate alot of interesting discussion and it will deserve it's own space to grow.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  2. jiii

    jiii ...

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    This is a very interesting thread, especially since a good deal of reading I've done recently has involved exactly this question. The piece which I will quote from is a book by D.T. Suzuki called "Zen and Japanese Culture". I know it may be boring to read quotes from a book, but Suzuki addressed much of what is being discussed here. The difference? He has extensive footnotes for every bit of it...which should settle much of the idle speculation on this topic.

    To begin with, the original question asked, "How connected is Tao with Buddhism and Confucianism?" On this, D.T. Suzuki writes the following:

    Bearing in mind that his book was actually written specifically on the subject of Zen, Suzuki goes on later to remark:

    going on...

    Suzuki briefly explains that the Chinese were intrigued by these new ideas, though he adds that "while they could not clearly grasp the idea of sunyata, 'emptiness', they found it somewhat akin to the Lao-Tzuan idea of wu, 'nothingness'."

    Frankly, I don't feel like scanning the whole chapter to provide a zillion pages of quotations. I would highly recommend reading the book, instead.

    Suzuki, in summary, shows that beginning in general vicinity of the turn to the "A.D." years, Buddhism's introduction to the culture of China from India had a profound effect upon the native systems of thought, which were Taoism and Confucianism. During the many hundreds of years that passed while China was absorbing these new ideas, the line between them sometimes became much more blurry than one might be compelled to think. The introduction of Buddhism into China had an ultimate effect of revitalizing the Chinese systems of thought, which drew from Buddhism many kindred lines of speculation. Many Masters during those days were Taoists that studied Zen, as well. There were many Buddhists that were steeped in Confucian ideology.

    What we know today as these three seperate traditions have actually all had a profound impact upon each other, as in their continuing development, they all tended to draw this or that from each other, strengthening and enriching each tradition.
     
  3. theocritus

    theocritus New Member

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    Yes, they are connected. I believe all religions and philosophies of living (like Taoism) are striving for the same thing, even if they don't know it. Some will always see parallels between them and others will not.

    For me Taoism is my path because it is the most correct one for me. Is Taoism the most correct? Yes, just as much as Catholicism is the most correct one. The end goal we are all looking for is ultimately found within. To categorize and define the goal causes it to lose meaning. Categories and definitions are a product of man.

    My internal search has brought me to Taoism. Reading the Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tzu was my starting point. After that, the search is within my "self". If I go any further, I must start a new thread.

    /theo
    as you think, so shall you be
     
  4. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    When talking of Taoism, I think it’s important to discriminate between philosophical Taoism (Daoism, quietism) and religious Taoism. The philosophy is that of Lao Tzu etc, whereas the religious Taoism (with all the trappings of a religion) is concerned with attempting to elongate life to the point of immortality (amongst other things).

    I would suspect that Taoism had little effect on Confucianism; I think from my reading of Taoist books, they are usually critical / dismissive of Confucius.

    I don’t think it’s agreed that Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu even existed, or not as the individual authors of the works ascribed to them. However, their philosophy can be seen as similar to Buddhism, particularly zen. But here is another problem: is zen the same as Zen Buddhism?

    There is a book called The Tao of Zen (by Ray Grigg) that sets out to say that zen is really Taoism in the disguise of Buddhism; remove 2000 years of Buddhist accretion from Zen Buddhism and what lies underneath is Taoism.
     
  5. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    welcome to CR, snoopy, thank you for the post.

    you are correct, the Taoist schools were generally dismissive of the Confucian model, especially when Confucianism was made the official religion of the empire and some texts directly comment upon K'ung Fu Tze himself. i have a book which describes a meeting between a Taoist wizard and K'ung Fu Tze and, from the Tao point of view, it was a thorough smashing of the Confucian ideal.

    Zen is actually a Japanese transliteration of the Chinese term Ch'an from the school of Ch'an Buddhism. in point of fact, this term is meant to describe the primary mode of practice of this school, namely sitting meditation with an emphasis on Samatha practice.

    the Ch'an school of Buddhism arose in China as an amaglam of Taoist and Buddhist thought and, as such, we can find many "catch" phrases which are particular to certain schools of thought. one that is often seen is: "Special transmission outside of Doctrine." which is a common phrase to be found in the Complete Reality schools of Taoism.

    it is certainly true that Buddha Dharma influenced the Taoist schools a great deal. it was only after the arrival of the Buddha Dharma that the Taoist schools started to build monestaries and so forth and to make a systematic method of praxis.

    to quote a rather famous Chinese Buddhist.. "of course the Chinese mix it together, look at what we have to work with.. Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.. it is like your salad bar; we take what we want and leave the rest." ;)

    metta,

    ~v
     
  6. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    With oil and vinegar dressing? :D
    "The Three Vinegar Tasters." ;)
     

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  7. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Hi Vajradhara,

    Thanks for this. This quote (obviously) resonates with the zen "standard definition" of:

    "Not relying on words or letters,
    An independent transmission outside the teaching of the scriptures,
    Directly pointing to man's Mind,
    Awakening of one's own Buddhahood."

    Snoopy
     
  8. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Hi SG,

    Did this anecdote involve oil???!!! If we're allowed to improvise I think we obviously want some ciabatta as well please!

    Snoopy.

    (and thanks for the finger pointing to this website's moon):D
     
  9. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Oil floating upon water might give off a superficial shine, but is easily skimmed off. {which relates to your statement of:}
    As regards your request for cheese, it has been said that the moon is made of green cheese... ;)
     
  10. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    ciabatta is bread where I come from, SG!
     
  11. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Oops! My bad. I was thinking of halloumi! (Besides, bread doesn't fit in well with the moon analogy.:D)
     
  12. Blizzardry

    Blizzardry Atheist Messiah

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    Yeah, in a history way, Islam and Christianity and Judaism are really connected, but in a beliefs way, they're incompatible. Was it Ishmael or Isaac? Jesus or someone not yet arrived? Of course, they're all talking about having had direction from a monotheistic deity (is that bad grammar?) experience, but for some reason the Pentacostals won't admit that the Sufis are both filling their heads with the presence of God through singing and dancing...

    The enlightenment religions, like taoism or buddhism may have had separate origins, but it always seems to me they're talking about the same thing, and even though meditation practise and philosophy differ, you can see that they're all talking about the same thing. You find it on a mountaintop, I find it eating and drinking with my friends, but the awakeness and fitting your personal life-path with the flow going on "within and without you". They seem to me to be one and the same.

    Actually, deep down, an experience of the divine is the same whoever feels it, Moses, Buddha or John Lennon.

    For is it not written: "Sass that hoopy frood Blizzardry, there's a man who knows where his Tao is..."
     
  13. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Buddhism was introduced to Tibet around 800 AD. Zen appears to have evolved starting in the in the 5 or 6th century. It seems to me that if the idea is to make a connection betwen Buddhism, and Taoist, the frame of reference involving Tibetan Buddhism and Zen is too late.

    It is quite possible that Guatama Buddha used Taoism as a starting point for developing his philosophy. Trade routes may have given him access to Taoists who provided him with specifics.
     
  14. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    I wonder if the Taoist teaching of wu-wei might have had an influence/connection with Buddha's concept of nibbana, and cessation?
     
  15. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    My understanding is that Chinese Daoism had an offspring as a result of the arrival of Buddhism from India. The name of the offspring was Ch’an (Zen to the Japanese).

    s.

     
  16. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    This is all so excellent a discussion , where to begin?? I begin here.

    From what I have been told, Dhyanna = Ch'an = Zen = Meditation. Corrections/additions would be appreciated.
     
  17. Dharmaatmaa

    Dharmaatmaa New Member

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    I would like to ask on the top of seriosity. Please, read it twice: How could "taoism or buddhism" have had "separate origins" and still stayed "the same thing"!? as Blizzardry said. I think and believe it's rather obviously they have the one origin. What evidence do we need, if such an obvious is given up? If there can be any unsure feeling, it must be very faint.
    And it may be proved by DrumR's "Dhyanna = Ch'an = Zen = Meditation" conception. And English might change the pronounciation, 'cos of its strange writing tradition (with so-called 'deaf' letters and so on). The analysis of these terms might have proved even for a hereditary skeptic they're all connected.
    Sanskrit "dhyana" stands for "an occult meditation". It isn't just a meditation with its relaxation and so on. It's the hardest labour of mind, of soul if you wish. Very little people can practice real dhyana. And in this connection, maybe it's not out of place to remind Indian dhyani-buddhas (if I correctly wrote). They're quite high level of buddhas. If you remember, there exist the amida-buddha (or Mahavishnu), dhyani-buddhas, manushya-buddhas etc. Dhyani-buddhas are very respective. Gautama is traditionally understood as a first manushya-buddha on the Earth.
    "Chan"'s Chinese form of dhyana. They usually shorten words, to write them with only hyerogliphic I guess. Because real Chineseficated dhyana would be, if I'm not mistaken, Chan'na.
    English "Zen" is Japanese "Dzen". Wikipedia, as you know, links Dzen with "zazen — in the attainment of awakening". Buddha takes its origin from 'budh' - to awake, doesn't it?
    And as for the "meditation". "Meditation is a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, "thinking" mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness," says wiki. I don't know, maybe I've been misinformed when was being taught English, but I though "relaxation" is when one does nothing, just nothing. When we're tired, we need some relaxation. And meditation's an exercise of mind. It's coler to a "deeper state" of concentration, than relaxation. Anyway, dhyana is a level of meditation. Patanjali call it so: the fourth grade of occult meditation. I'd indeed agree with Blizzardry that "meditation practise and philosophy differ, you can see". And far not everyone fits to the practice, but to philosophy each seems to fit. Why? Because people have different abilities - anyone can play bascketball, but my height doesn't allow me to. And I stricktly disagree that "Actually, deep down, an experience of the divine is the same whoever feels it, Moses, Buddha or John Lennon." Yes, "whoever feels it", but to feel it one must go long and hard way. Moses and Buddha were fit, but the latter...
     
  18. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Hi DrumR and welcome to IO. :)

    Are you a drumr?

    Snoopy.
     
  19. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    From my limited knowledge I find them to be more or less the same thing too. Just the Buddha made a personality cult out of it. Or at least his followers did.

    tao
     
  20. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    Thank you for the invite Snoopy. as to your query I/we are in the sense of the saying "We all walk to the beat of a different drum," I am but one of many drummers. As to playing the instrument, whether sacred or profane, I had attempted that once in middle school all so many years ago and have stayed away from it since.
     

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