I have studied both Buddhism and Taoism, and while many individuals assert that Taoism has had no influence on Buddhism I find this difficult to believe. Philosophical Taoism (Daojia) at least has had some semblence of influence on Ch'an Buddhism in China. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy asserts that Taoism has had major influences on Buddhism, especially during the T'ang Dynasty period in China when Ch'an/Zen was flourishing. It is no surprise to me that Dogen spoke of "the Way" (Tao) and "the ten-thousand things" (both terms that are featured numerous times in both the Tao Te Ching
The author Ray Grigg devoted a whole book to explaining how Taoism influenced Zen Buddhism.
A documentary on Zen Buddhism by Empty Mind Films, The Zen Mind
, postulates that the "Tao... is to be found in Zen."
I once spoke to the abbot of the Sangha I attend for zazen. He leads a tradition based on Thich Nhat Hanh's, that is... the Lam Te (Rinzai) Thien (Vietnamese Zen) tradition. he has studied with the Dalai Lama, in the Vajrayana, Theravada and Mahayana. He is a former monk and now is a leading priest. When I asked him about the connection between Taoism and Buddhism, he described how "Taoism explains why, whereas Buddhism explains how and what". He also said that Vietnamese Buddhism had been influenced by both Taoism and Confucianism.
The I-Kuan Tao sect attempts to combine Zen Buddhism with Taoism.
There's an old myth postulating that Lao Tzu taught the Buddha many things when venturing to India. Although this is pretty much like I said, a myth.
Lastly, I just can't read the Tao Te Ching without feeling that it was written by a very enlightened individual. Its wisdom is equal, if not greater than that, of some sutras.
So basically my question is, what are your thoughts? Do you feel that Zen is influenced by Taoism or Daojia? Do you consider Lao Tzu to have been enlightened, perhaps a Pratekyabuddha or Arhat? And aren't there 84,000 different teachings What are your thoughts?