Home Discussion Forum Taoism and Zen do they differ much?If so how?

Taoism and Zen do they differ much?If so how?

Please try to be sharp and precise. Pl don’t direct me to any web sites.


  1. ummm why the eff would you come on YAHOO ANSWERS to ask this like nobody is going to go to another site and look that shit up? duh?

  2. I am sure that a dictionary or encyclopedia would give you the precise answers you seek. Anyone here who actually does know, (not me in case you hadn’t figured that out) will more than likely direct your attention to a site that will teach you and make you decide the differences instead of handing you the information.

  3. Although though Taoism influenced the development of Zen, Zen and Taoist practices differ both in intent and technique (see below).
    When Buddhism was first introduced to China in the 1st century CE, the Chinese referred to it as “Indian Taoism” because of the apparent strong affinity between the two traditions.
    Taoists took the Buddhist concept of emptiness to mean the same thing as the Taoist notion emptiness.
    This turned out to be an error, since the Taoist notion of emptiness refers to qualities such as restraint, patience, frugality, simplicity, and lack of worldly desire; in Buddhism, emptiness refers to the never ceasing flux of each thing in the universe.
    Probably the two most important Taoist concepts to influence the development of Zen Buddhism are:
    – “Wu wei,” or ‘not doing.’ In Taoism, this doesn’t literally mean passivity. It means acting in accord with a situation. Zen internalized this concept as “correct function” — perceiving how to function correctly, from moment to moment. However, in Zen correct function means acting for the benefit of all beings (bodhisattva action) — a concept that exists in Taoism but is not central.
    – “Pu,” or ‘natural state.’ Taoist training cultivated “pu,” a mental state not confused by thinking, ideas of right/wrong, good/bad, beautiful/or ugly — just pure awareness. This concept first appears in the Zen tradition through the writings of the 3rd Zen patriarch, Seng-Ts’an, who wrote, “The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything.”
    The intent of Zen meditation is to put an end to self-centered thinking so that one can focus on genuinely helping others. Another name for this is “enlightenment.”
    The intent of Taoist meditations can vary, but generally they focus on personal qualities of longevity, harmony, health, or stillness.
    In general, Taoist teaching does not incorporate the bodhisattva ideal of Buddhism – the commitment to ease the great suffering in the world.
    Buddhism doesn’t place much emphasis on cosmological or ontological explanation. Rather, it focuses on how the mind functions to create suffering and how to transform the mind’s function so that suffering does not arise.
    Taoism, on the other hand, provides a fairly comprehensive view of the natural world and humanity’s place in that world. And Taoism has developed many techniques to bring a person into greater harmony with the world.
    There are 5 types of mind training used in Zen meditation. This link gives you a description of each type of training: http://kwanumzen.org/practice/sitting.html#techniques
    There are many types of mind and body training used in Taoist meditation, including both sitting and movement meditations.
    Taoist sitting meditation often includes a combination of special breathing techniques and visualizations that produce certain energetic results.
    Taoist moving meditation includes tai chi and qi gong practices to heal the bodies energy pathways and cultivate certain healthful energy states.
    This link describes many of the types of meditation techniques used in Taoist practice: http://taoism.about.com/od/meditation/Meditation.htm

  4. Hotei, a bodisattva, was consider a great sage of both. He’s the guy portrayed in all those Chinese statues of large bellied, large earlobed gentleman. He is not the Awakened One, the Buddha, who generally portrayed in statuary as rather svelte. He carried a knapsack fully of mochi pasted filled with sweet bean curd around with him. He would give these out to children when he came through town.
    This Hotei lived in the T’ang dynasty. He had no desire to call himself a master or to gather many disciples about him.
    Whenever he met a Zen devotee or Taoist preist he would extend his hand and say: “Give me one penny.” And if anyone asked him to return to a temple to teach others, again he would reply: “Give me one penny.”
    Once he was about his play-work a Zen master happened along and inquired: “What is the significance of Zen?”
    Hotei immediately plopped his sack down on the ground in silent answer.
    “Then,” asked the other, “what is the actualization of the way (Tao)?”
    At once the Hotei swung the sack over his shoulder and continued on his way.

  5. I’m currently reading “Tao Te Ching”, translated by Sam Hamill, who is both a poet and a scholar. Taoism and Zen are both philosophies, Zen being a branch of Buddhism. In his introduction, Hamill points out
    “When (Taoism was) encountered, interpreted, and incorporated by early Chinese Buddhists over a thousand years ago, it produced Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism and the practice of what we know most commonly by its Japanese name “shikantaza” “deep sitting meditation”. Taoist-like use of paradox is everywhere evident in Zen koan or “case.””
    When you read the Tao and have practiced Zen, you will definitely see the resemblance.


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