For every act of evil, there is an act of beauty. You Can't Change the World, Only Your Attitude Towards It.

Where Tao is nothing to do with Buddhism

Hinduism is so ingrained in Indian culture that it can not truly exist outside of India. It left India as Buddhism - As Allan Watts said: Buddhism is Hinduism stripped for export.

Buddhism hit Tibet and was integrated into the existing religion so that it survives to carry the interesting complexity it has in that land. It hit Thailand, Burma and so on and integrated with the folk religions where the ideas of spirits, spirit houses and the ancestor worship of Confucianism are intertwined. It hit China and exploded.

Where Buddhism enveloped the cultural preference of most nations it was different in China. The Buddhists and the Taoists had very strong respect for each other and with similarities and a great wisdom in each canon one could not make way for the other, the mixture lead to Chan.

There are ancient tales of the Buddhists, Taoists and often Confucian's playing for the favour of the then emperor plus signs in their classic texts of confrontation. It must be said that the Confucians lost here very quickly as the brunt of the jokes of the Taoists. A number of Taoist texts are simply pointing fun at the strict Confucians.

Zen is the name Chan took when it hit Japan so we have the commonly known name Zen Buddhism which would make more sense as Zen Taoism but anyway. In the Zen book "Transmission of the Light" the Zen masters try to say how Tao was great but the Tao masters failed to point to the absolute clarity reached by the Buddha. The Taoist response was how the Buddhists, like all others, were failing by both looking for perfection "elsewhere" and also by formalising their path.

Where Zen and Buddhism will say the truth, enlightenment, and so on can be reached through dedicated meditation and practice, a Tao master may sip some wine, fart, and go to sleep.

Lately it has become hard to find Tao as separate to Buddhism. As Zen and Chan carry the Tao Te Ching and quotes thereof in their canon many can miss there is even a separation between the two, when in fact there is very much so. People coming to find interest in Zen and Tao may intermingle and pick and choose - great! (but)

While I think it is great to pick up wisdom from any source be it book, tree or calamity and mix them up, find what is good and what is not: - I do also think it very important not to think "I like this cake, I will eat the whole shop", especially when you can not see where one shop joins another. The point being that people meeting Tao may then try to take on too much Buddhism without proper separation or enquiry and instead see it all as one big yummy cake.

You may well find wisdom in one teaching but to then try to adjust your whole being to integrate the whole thing, then, it is just not Wu Wei. Remember that all of these systems have come about of a time and a place, they do all have masses to teach you but in the end you must have your truth, a truth that is now not when or then.

There is nothing to look for, only to see the obvious.

So look and learn but don't force anything, don't try to adopt things that just don't fit together with you. Don't get so tied to one shore that you miss the next beach. Don't get too comfy under one tree. Don't carry a pile of books around where there is loving living and dancing to be done.

Tao Wow | Daily Cup of Tao


The Rambling Taoist said...

Ya know, I don't know if my Taoism is infused with aspects of Zen or Buddhism because, quite frankly, I don't know much about either!

C. Om said...

True indeed!

The packaged delivered is more important than the deliverer or the route taken.

::::wifemothermaniac:::: said...

Beautifully written. I was recently recommended a very simple book on meditation that I read, it was written by a Zen Buddhist. She kept insisting throughout the book that the only meditation worth doing is sitting mediation, and that anything else was the avoidance of moving through the suffering that can only be moved through adequately through sitting meditation. She clearly is not a Taoist, seems once difference I've picked up is how important it is to Buddhists to move through suffering, while Taoists prefer to move like water around, over and under obstacles, though I'm pretty new at all this so my gatherings aren't based on extensive understanding or anything.

I loved your old posts at the TaoBums btw, it's too bad you didn't stick around there. Your words were refreshing to find there.

Tao said...

I liked your analysis above :)

what was your name on taobums?