Johnny Dangerous wrote:I think the only real distinction to worry about is whether you are trying to narrow down your practice for purpose of actually getting somewhere.
I have no idea if Daoism and Dzogchen are the same, and frankly, I don't really think anyone here knows either, at least i'm pretty sure none of us are at this point.
The thing is though, you have to pick what you are doing. That doesn't mean you cannot appreciate or integrate other teachings, I love the Tao Te Ching personally. It just means that in general you have to pick something that if nothing acts as your "filter" (hopefully a semi-permeable filter;)...it's not being exclusionary, it's just practicality, there has to be some range or bandwidth of what you study, if you are constantly trying to make everything seem the same...that becomes a project of and within itself.
There's a reason that the New Age movement is always pigeonholed as being shallow and silly, with a few exceptions you have to be at least somewhat narrow to hope to go deep, being too broad (again speaking practically/conventionally, not ultimately) makes it impossible to progress in studying much of anything, dharma or otherwise.
By that rationale, if we are practicing Dzogchen we should leave behind Vajrayana and Mahayana to say nothing of teachings like the Vinaya-- no point understanding more than just the one point of view, the one yidam or meditation one has been given. This kind of approach indeed resembles the related project of Pabongka and his followers: encouraging the schools to only practice their lineage and not mix them. Personally, I find it to be a pernicious form of reductionism.
I don't think anyone has completely equated Taoism and Buddhism, merely stated that there are not two non-dual realizations to be had beyond the realm of conceptual thought. There are lots of differences within the realm of doctrine. There are some commonalities and many differences within the realm of praxis. I don't think it follows that one has to become conditioned to only a single religious viewpoint, nor is the alternative some some of syncretic porridge. If you have limited bandwidth, be picky by all means. However, I find most practitioners that only scratch the surface do so because they spend more time at the bistro or in front of the TV than on a cushion. I can't say as I have met too many superficial practitioners that practice multiple traditions according to the teachings of the respective lineages. YMMV.
The New Age "movement" such as it is has been characterized as shallow and silly because of it's focus on self-improvement and indulgence, not because of syncretism. If one is focused on pleasure, relaxation and further ornamenting one's egoic identity, quite obviously one won't get very far or go very deep. The fault isn't breadth of study, but partial and faulty motivation.