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Buddha And Lao Tzu Essay

905 words - 4 pages

Buddha and Lao Tzu are two of the greatest and most influential philosophical thinkers of Ancient Asia. Buddha’s best known texts were the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold path. “But neither doctrine, widespread in Indian religion at large, was distinctive of the Buddha’s thought in the way that two underlying doctrines of a more metaphysical character were (Cooper 53)". This text was the ‘Conditioned Genesis’. Lao Tzu’s most influential text was the Tao Te Ching. Both the ‘Conditioned Genesis’ and Tao Te Ching were written around the sixth century BCE.
The purpose of the Tao Te Ching was to advise the rulers and common folk of ancient China on how to live a harmonious ...view middle of the document...

Lao Tzu refers to this goal as the nature of things or the Way (Tao). Lao Tzu states, “To know the eternal is called enlightment. Not to know the eternal is to act blindly to result in disaster. He who knows the eternal is all embracing. Being kingly, he is one with nature. Being one with nature, he is in accord with Tao. Being in accord with Tao, he is everlasting, and is free from danger throughout his lifetime (Cooper 19).” The goals to Nirvana and the Way are similar, yet different. Both philosophies agree that sacrifices or freedoms of personal cravings and desires must be made in order to achieve this goal.
Although each of these concepts is similar, the paths to these goals were different. The path that leads to Nirvana was defined by Buddha as the Eightfold Path. The path to the Tao was to let the nature of things take its own course and go with the flow. The Taoist called this Wu Wei or action less action. This path leads to harmony with the Tao. Lao Tzu mentions Wu Wei in chapter 2 of the Tao Te Ching, “therefore the sage manages affairs without action, and spreads doctrines without words. All things arise, and he does not turn away from them. He produces them, but does not take possession of them. He acts, but does not rely on his own ability. He accomplishes his tasks, but does not claim credit for it….. (Cooper 15-16).”
One major difference between the metaphysical claims of Buddha and Lao Tzu is the concept of causality or (karma). In the...

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