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BUDDHISM and TAOISM A COMPARISON OF BELIEFS THEORIES and PRACTICES The belief in some higher presence other than our own has existed since man can recollect Religion was established from this belief and it can survive and flourish because of this belief In Chinese history Taoism and Buddhism are two great philosophical and religious traditions along with Confucianism Taoism originated in China around the sixth century BCE and Buddhism came to China from India around the second century of the common era Together have shaped Chinese life and thought for nearly twenty-five hundred years One dominate concept in Taoism and Buddhism is the belief in some form of reincarnation The idea that life does not end when one dies is an integral part of these religions and the culture of the Chinese people Reincarnation life after death beliefs are not standardized Each religion has a different way of applying this concept to its belief The goal in Taoism is to achieve Tao to find the way Tao is the ultimate reality a presence that existed before the universe was formed and which continues to guide the world and everything in it Tao is sometimes identified as the Mother or the source of all things That source is not a god or a supreme being as Taoism is not monotheistic The focus is not to worship one god but instead on coming into harmony with Tao Watts 1957 According to those who believe in the Tao is the essence of everything that is right and complications exist only because people choose to complicate their own lives Desire ambition fame and selfishness are seen as hindrances to a harmonious life It is only when a person rids himself of all desires can Tao be achieved By shunning every earthly distraction the Taoist is able to concentrate on life itself The longer the persons life the more saintly the person is presumed to have become Eventually the hope
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