Buddhism and Taoism: a Comparison of Beliefs, Theories, and Practices

2870 Words Apr 2nd, 2006 12 Pages
The belief in some higher presence, other than our own, has existed since man can recollect. Religion was established from this belief, and it can survive and flourish because of this belief. In Chinese history, Taoism and Buddhism are two great philosophical and religious traditions along with Confucianism. Taoism, originated in China around the sixth century BCE and Buddhism, came to China from India around the second century of the Common Era, Together have shaped Chinese life and thought for nearly twenty-five hundred years. One dominant concept in Taoism and Buddhism is the belief in some form of reincarnation. The idea that life does not end when one dies is an integral part of these religions and the culture of the Chinese people. …show more content…
The eternal hope for all followers of Buddha is that through reincarnation one comes back into successively better lives - until one achieves the goal of being free from pain and suffering and not having to come back again. This wheel of rebirth, known as samsara, goes on forever or until one achieves Nirvana. The Buddhist definition of Nirvana is "the highest state of spiritual bliss, as absolute immortality through absorption of the soul into itself, but preserving individuality, in the sense of an ever-present awareness" (Humphreys, 1991, p15). Birth is not the beginning and death is not the end. This cycle of life has no beginning and can go on forever without an end. The ultimate goal for most Buddhist, Nirvana, represents total enlightenment and liberation. Only through achieving this goal is one liberated from the never ending round of birth, death, and rebirth (David-Noel, 1971). This is especially true in Theravada Buddhism, where personal liberation is of the utmost importance. In Mahayana Buddhism, one takes vows to be constantly reincarnated until all are enlightened. Yet in Pure Land Buddhism, those who devote themselves to "Amitbha Buddha", and devote themselves to serving others and committing good deeds, will be reborn into the heavenly realm, known as the Western Paradise. In the Pure

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