Relationship between zen and taoism

The Tao of Zen - Wikipedia

relationship between zen and taoism

At first glance, Zen Buddhism and Taoism have a lot in common. This divergence is evident in the difference between meditation techniques. Zen Buddhism and Taoism share a lot of common ground. They both Besides this major difference, are there any others? #1 Straw Dog, Sep. Taoism is way older than Ch'an Buddhism which became Zen Buddhism in Japan, What's the difference between Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism?.

The mutual interdependence of everything ultimately means that there is no demarcation between what appears to be an individual and the Universe, and so causing harm is to directly create karma and eventually harm oneself. How do Zen and Bodhidharma fit into all this?

relationship between zen and taoism

The essence of Chan comes from the most likely apocryphal story that the Buddha gathered his disciples and silently held up a flower. Point directly at the minds of men. See your Buddha Nature and be enlightened.

In other words they believe that all people can be enlightened through the same processes that enlightened the Buddha. The extreme persuasiveness of this idea is clear, as it promises that enlightenment is in your own grasp.

Moreover, it is something immediate and not just reserved for a special few.

Difference between Taoism and Zen

An example to explain this comes from the Chan Buddhist Patriarch Huineng a few generations down the line: Two monks were arguing over a flag atop a pole. It is therefore not very well translated and basically means both the system of analysis called the Middle Path and the actions required to achieve it.

  • Differences between Zen and Taoism
  • Zen & Taoism
  • Chan Buddhism, Daoism and Zen – Journey through the East

In some circles however the explanations of the Buddha clearly not withstanding the quotes above are taken to be so in line with reality that they are the operation of natural reality itself. The differences between Daoism and Chan mostly center on Thusness being a void state and not the state aimed at by the Daoists One with the Dao leading to becoming a Sage.

Bodhidharma took this to mean that the truth was not to be found in the analysis of the canon, but in the void of emptiness brought about by Dhyana meditation. When in this void of Thusness, there are no conditioned entities or concepts.

relationship between zen and taoism

A classic error highlighted by another story of Huineng. The Chan Patriarch was coming to the end of his life and offered to appoint the successor who could write a poem showing their understanding. The top pupil of the temple wrote the following poem: The body is a Bodhi tree, The mind a standing mirror bright, At all times polish it diligently, And let no dust alight, Huineng, who was only a youth working in the kitchens, was read this and asked a monk to write up his response: Bodhi is fundamentally without any tree The bright mirror is also not a stand Fundamentally there is not a single thing — Where could any dust be attracted?

Clearly the first pupil had fallen into the trap and conceptualised the void. Huineng is probably the most important Chan master in all history as his sutra the Platform Sutra is the main historical record of Chan back to Bodhidharma That was until the — very few — writings of Bodhidharma pupils were discovered in a walled-up cave in Northern China in the early 20th century.

relationship between zen and taoism

His supposed mummy is still seated in zazen meditation pose in the Nanhua temple in Caoqi. A monk practices The school of thought crystallised by Huineng was to solidify Buddhism and ensured its survival in China along with Daoism and Confucianism for the next years. One practical difference between the Chan and Indian forms of Buddhism is found in the monastic life.

Chan Buddhism, Daoism and Zen – Journey through the East – Outside Context

Transmission to Japan Zen Garden, Japan Two main methods of Chan training were developed and different sects put emphasis on one of them or the other: Silent Illumination through Meditation in Zazen. Koans are a form of poem or riddle with no clear answer. Who is dragging this corpse about? They started as short stories of previous enlightened Buddhist masters, but soon developed into testing riddles that pointed to direct enlightenment.

The student is given the koan to study and examines it for meaning. He is then called back before the master to answer the riddle. Should his answer point to an enlightened insight then he progresses. He then trained in the Silent Illumination method at Mount Tiantong.

He received instruction he recounted as follows: To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe. To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self as well as those of others. Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever.

One of the Kyoto temples This form of Zen is the most well known in the West thanks to a number of high quality books written by modern Zen masters settled in the US. Its teaching is focussed on Zazen being the only true Zen practice: There is no gap between practice and enlightenment or zazen and daily life.

On the other hand, the first Chinese patriarch of the Ch'an branch of Buddhism, Bodhidharma, lived a thousand years later.

relationship between zen and taoism

Dogen founded the other major school, Soto, a hundred years later. Esoteric Roots of Zen Bodhidharma belonged to a tradition that began with Mahakasyapa, a disciple of Buddha. According to the tradition, Buddha was gazing upon a flower when he began to laugh.

Differences between Zen and Taoism | Religious Forums

Because Mahakasypa was the only disciple who understood this "discourse", the Buddha entrusted him with the teachings that could not be spoken. Meditation, or dhyana, was central to this tradition, and when it became Ch'an, silence and paradox were the tools Bodhidharma and other masters used to propagate it.

The message they conveyed was that truth eludes the mind's ability to grasp it, a theme very much in tune with Taoism. Together, these writings spawned a complex tradition based on mysticism, flowery imagery and, sometimes, magic. The central message of the Taoist teachings is similar to that of Ch'an, however. It is that the ultimate truth is essentially unknowable and inexpressible, at least as far as the human mind is concerned.

relationship between zen and taoism