Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism. What's their relationship?

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I am partial to Taoism myself, but I distance myself from the religious aspects of it yet I believe that they are all additions to the big book of human experiences and how we should live our lives.

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Fire it Up

an ism is as an ism does


Relationship in terms of what? They’re all of oriental origins, if that’s what you’re asking, and all are more philosophy than religion (though their philosophy is at times in contradiction to some religions).

Hymen Crusher

Buddhism has no relationship to Taoism or Confucianism.


Buddhism doesn’t have anything in relation to the other two. It originated in India.
Confuscionism originated in China
I think Taoism originated in Korea
I believe that probably Confuscionism and Taoism have more in common than the two have with Buddhism.
Since they all came from South Asia or Asia, and since migration across borders brought all three to most of Asia, the lines between thinking can become blurred. I think of Confuscionism as family worship, ancestor worship – Taoism as the philosophy of change which observes that the universe is in constant change. Buddhism is a whole separate way of thinking from these other two.


Taoism originates in China.
Confucius learned from Lao Zhi, the master who wrote Tao Te Ching. (Tao = Path, Te=Virture, Ching = Book)
Confucianism is a philosophy and way of life in practice
Buddhism spread to China and the “ism” over the thousands of years evolve into inter-related religions with common ultimate truth.
There are 84,000 Dharma Door/gate/method/path, and all these door/gate/method/path will bring one to the same truth if one fully understand.


The concept of a “middle way” that can guide our actions in life. Buddha’s middle way, Lao Tzu’s Tao, etc.


Taoism was the official way of Life (religion?) of China 5,000+years ago, up until about 1800 years ago after Buddhism becomes popular, and then it was’t the official religion any more. Lao Zhi (lived in 4th or 6th century BC) was simply a court librarian, who had access to the Royal Library, and learned a lot of Taoism from the Royal collections, and when he retired he wrote a lot of books on Taoism, many are lost or still are keep in secret by different High Tao practitioners, only Tao Te Ching was made popular by the Confucians scholars.
According to the Taoism it is the primordial knowledge before the existence of Earth, therefore there is no Creator God like the Christianity, and it is the knowledge to make ordinary human to become immortals and Taoism has series of meditation and Chi Kung exercises. It is not as popular as Buddhism because it has very strict entry requirements, so not many inner students, but they still exist today, and this is High Taoism.
Low Taoism also exist today and more abundant among Chinese society in different part of Asia; less stringent requirements than High Tao, but still very strict to enter, it deals with controlling and exterminating human endangering ghosts, spirits, by soliciting the helps from heavenly beings (so there are gods- but not Creator, merely high level beings). The Public and open practices are Chi Kung, Tai Chi Chuan, Acupuncture and the Chinese medicine are from the Tao practices.
Confucianism (Confucius lived between 551 – 479 BC) is simply the scholarly ways to conduct one’s life as righteous human being. The main theme is “Respect Heaven, Respect the Earth, Respect the Emperor (Government)- Political system, Family Relationship Honor your Parent, Be friend your Brothers/ sisters, Harmony with your Neighbors; set the manners, relationship and rituals within society, such relationship Father- family/ sons/ daughters; Brothers/Sisters; Husband /Wife; Friends, etc…
******* Buddhism started in India, it was introduced into China back in West Han Dynasty (206 BC — 9 AD) over 2,000 years ago, approximately 500 years after Pari-nirvana of Buddha Shakyamuni. But it was not popular until the Confucians Scholars in Tang Dynasty (619 – 907 AD) using Taoism terminologies to explain the Buddhism concepts and made it popular with the masses. *******
Both Japan and Korea have only about 2500 and 3,000 years’ history respectively; So Koreans didn’t have the Taoism, until cultural exchanges took place, which was much later – only after they became a civilization.


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