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Question: How is Buddhism different from Taoism?

Answer: The differences are many. From the Buddhist perspective, let us see some in terms of refuge in the Triple Gem (of Buddhas, Dharma and Sangha).

[1] Buddhas: Taoism’s supreme ones gone to for refuge are high gods believed to exist, while the Buddhas are the ones Buddhists take full refuge in, as they are fully enlightened and liberated ‘Teachers Of Humans And Gods’, with perfect compassion, wisdom and all other virtues.

[2] Dharma: The path and goal is different. Diligent Taoists aim to become immortal gods, while the Buddhas realised that even gods are still trapped within rebirth. Even if they happen to have long lives due to much positive karma, they will still fall eventually as long as not enlightened. The path to Buddhahood which is True Happiness attained (that is permanent, blissful and pure) is supreme and unique, as found in the Buddha’s teachings.

Many more differences in teachings can be found through detailed study. For example, the moral standards in Buddhism encompass all sentient beings and the wisdom teachings are so profound that even more ‘enlightened’ scientists are looking into them.

[3] Sangha: Due to the above differences in focus, Taoists take refuge in many gods, whom Buddhists generally see as unenlightened (and sometimes imaginary). Buddhists take refuge in the noble Sangha or community of well accomplished practitioners with various levels of enlightenment leading towards Buddhahood.

Related Articles:
Buddhas As Teachers Of Humans & Gods
How Even The Gods May Fall
Can Buddhists Pray to Gods?
Are All Buddhas, Bodhisattvas & Gods The Same?

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