Taoism and Zen are easily confused, making a coherent comparison that respects both hard to come by, for many years I assumed they were both different shades of Buddhism. Later in life important distinctions become apparent. It is the, ‘open closedness’ that draws us Westerners to Zen, mirrored by the, ‘closed openness’ of Taoism which only later the experienced mind finds concurrent with western mysticism . Perhaps in reality they form opposite sides of the same pyramid.
Here’s the explanation:
Although Taoism influenced the development of Zen Buddhism, Zen and Taoist practices differ both in intent and technique (see below).
The intent of Zen practice is to put an end to self-centered thinking so that one can focus on genuinely helping others. Another name for this is “enlightenment.”
The intent of Taoist practices can vary, but generally they focus on personal qualities of longevity, harmony, health, or stillness.
In general, Taoist teaching does not…
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