The compatibility of Taoism and Confucianism with Buddhism

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The compatibility of Taoism and Confucianism with Buddhism

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:07 pm

Most of the time,when people syncretize religions,they usually run into contradictions.But from what I read,Confucianism,Buddhism and Taoism go together very nicely.Concepts like wu wei(effortless doing)of Taoism and filial pity of Confucianism are very compatible with Buddhist beliefs.What do you think?
A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"
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Re: The compatibility of Taoism and Confucianism with Buddhism

Postby deepbluehum » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:08 pm

Those who know speak volumes. Those who don't speak run the country.
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Re: The compatibility of Taoism and Confucianism with Buddhism

Postby oldbob » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:24 pm

Great threads. Thank you Jikan.

My favorite trans-Buddhist sources:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... ition=used

A great read and an eye opener about modern Taoist training. Includes a very interesting description of a dark retreat experience.

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... ition=used

Incredible imagery.

"and we pounded time on our plates and cups - till they broke."

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... ition=used

"Once Chuang Chou dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Chuang Chou.

Suddenly he woke up, and there he was, solid and unmistakable Chuang Chou.

But he didn't know if he was Chuang Chou who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou. Between Chuang Chou and a butterfly, there must be some distinction!

This is called the transformation of Things"

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... =1-1-fkmr1

A great read and many intriguing possibilities.

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... 556&sr=1-1

Not Taoist but fits here.

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Lots of good reads - good for a lazy rainy day off, when we are not running our country. :smile:

Yes, Red Faced Buddha, it all fits together. The human condition is the human condition: we are all One, two, three, etc. :smile:

Many words of :heart:
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Re: The compatibility of Taoism and Confucianism with Buddhism

Postby Huifeng » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:43 am

Red Faced Buddha wrote:Most of the time,when people syncretize religions,they usually run into contradictions.But from what I read,Confucianism,Buddhism and Taoism go together very nicely.Concepts like wu wei(effortless doing)of Taoism and filial pity of Confucianism are very compatible with Buddhist beliefs.What do you think?


Despite the first few centuries which involved a fair amount of tension, the Chinese seem to have no problems with the integration of the three traditions, Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism (Ru, Shi and Dao).

~~ Huifeng
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Re: The compatibility of Taoism and Confucianism with Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:45 am

Red Faced Buddha wrote:Most of the time,when people syncretize religions,they usually run into contradictions.But from what I read,Confucianism,Buddhism and Taoism go together very nicely.Concepts like wu wei(effortless doing)of Taoism and filial pity of Confucianism are very compatible with Buddhist beliefs.What do you think?


I think what you are referring to are the later developments, particularly after the Song Dynasty, that saw all three heavily influence each other. Institutional Daoism was already quite influenced by Buddhism in terms of their monasticism and scriptures (some being clear plagiarism) by the Tang Dynasty.

On the surface a lot of Confucian ideas like the five constant virtues 五常 (benevolence 仁, justice 義, propriety 禮, wisdom 智, and trust 信) are quite compatible with Buddhist ethics, though going beyond that there are a lot of incompatibilities. For example, until the Song Dynasty the Confucian tradition focused on the Five Classics 五經, one of which is the Liji 禮記, which forms the basis for Rujiao 儒教 or Confuciuan thought. In it we find encouragement for violent revenge:

曲禮上:
父之讎,弗與共戴天。兄弟之讎不反兵。交游之讎不同國。

Qu Li I:
With the enemy who has slain his father, he should not live under the same sky. With the enemy who has slain his brothers, he does not even return home to retrieve his weapons. With the enemy who has slain his good friend, he does not live in the same country.


The Liji also prescribes animal sacrifices and meat eating. This is of course incompatible with the Buddhadharma where the Buddha condemned animal sacrifice as a wicked and awful act. In particular in Chinese Buddhism meat eating was especially taboo after the 6th century when meat eating was expressly forbidden under Emperor Liangwu's 梁武帝 reign (502–549).

The other texts of the Five Classics likewise generally reflect the same ideas and values expressed in the Liji. They reflect the values of ancient Chinese aristocrats, many of whom were warriors or involved in warcraft given their profession in statecraft. They are not the work of sages.

The Lunyu 論語 or Analects was not included in the five, but was later adopted as canonical by Zhu Xi 朱熹 in the Song Dynasty, where he included it in the Four Books 四書. If you ignore the Five Classics and focus just on what Confucius is quoted as saying in said work, then there is less objectionable material than in the Five Classics, but it must be understood that the aforementioned texts are the canon of Confucianism and form the core basis for their values, morals and outlook on life.
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