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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Taoism and Buddhism

The Buddha is represented in several different ways. Sometimes Caucasian, sometimes Asian depending upon where in the world he is found. Often a laughing fat man is considered the Buddha.
The Yin Yang symbol is often used to represent Taoism. Many natural dualities—e.g. dark and light, female and male, low and high, cold and hot— are thought of as manifestations of yin and yang (respectively).

For seven months we have been living, training and learning in the Wudang Taoist Tai Ji and Kungfu Academy. We train in a Taoist temple. Often the temple is visited by Buddhist monks and nuns. Many Taoist monks and nuns live and work here.

Much of the philosophy of our martial arts training is incorporated in the Tao. And much of the Tao is very similar to Buddhism in it's precepts.

We had a Taoist monk here to teach us about Taoism a couple weeks ago. He laid out some things about both schools I thought might be interesting.

I won't get into the whole Taoist "catechism" nor the history of Gautama, who became Buddha. I just want to throw up a simple comparison given by the monk in which each purports to teach us how to live.

To boil it down, each philosophy (I refuse to call them religions as neither are confessional) has three basic "Pearls."

Buddhism's are:
1. Wisdom
2. Patience
3. Compassion

Taoism's are:
1. Compassion
2. Moderation
3. Humility

You can right away see the similarities. Buddha preached "The Middle Path," which could also be considered Moderation.

Both start within ourselves, but in a sense face different directions. Buddhism teaches us how to deal with the world outside of ourselves, while the Tao looks more inward. Another way of looking at them is that Buddhism is more concerned with one's mind while Taoism is more focused towards the body, hence the martial arts component.

Now these are VERY simplistic explanations and I wouldn't want to assert any authority on these words. But it is clear to anyone exposed to these bodies of belief that the keys to being a good person lie within.


Kathy said...

Mike....you are so very interesting and explain everything in words that I can understand..Thank you my friend..Love to you and Cabrini!!!

Hani said...

I recently picked up "Taoism: The Enduring Tradition" but found it a bit too verbose. Sort of wanted a "big idea" intro to the Dao De Jing. Any good book recommendations?

mike247worldwide said...

Hani, I haven't found (haven't really looked for) any good books explaining the Tao te Ching. In fact even the Tao te Ching itself is dicey because there are so many versions. One I have on my nook was terrible. I picked up another at a little shop in our temple that wasn't too bad. I guess you just have to get lucky. Sorry.