Buddhism and Taoism

For those of you who are interested, there is a Facebook group dedicated to Chaung Tzu or Zhuangzi, the great Taoist philosopher.

Discussions frequently touch on Buddhism, specifically Mahayana interpretations of reality, mind, language, practice as they compare/contrast with the Taoist sage.

The page is well moderated, discussions are often scholarly and there is a minimum of the harsh speech I typically find online.

Nagarjuna is frequently invoked in the dialogues, along with various other related sources - both in their original languages and in translation.

I often find the opportunity to present my limited understanding to offer some suggestions on textual bases for relevant Buddhist perspectives.

A recent post was as follows:
I have an esoteric question: If the true Tao cannot be spoken why do we do so? I mean it appears to be The Way based on simplicity and "nature." Don't we complicate Ourselves and the Tao by trying to understand it with "unenlightened" brains? [For those of you unfamiliar, please see Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1]

My response, related to Nagarjuna:
Nagarjuna said, "Without relying upon the conventional truth, the ultimate truth is not taught."
I believe the intention here is that we use the conventional to guide our unenlightened, discriminating brains to a direct experience of the ultimate: suchness, non-duality, non-discrimination.
It seems that there is a qualitative difference here between his position and that of ZZ. Nagarjuna is certain that what he is saying is a provisional truth and ZZ adapts a perspective of uncertinty, wondering whether he has really said something or whether he hasn't?
Or is ZZ saying poetically what Nagajuna is saying logicaly?
Are they both using clarity? [a reference to the Chuang Tzu]

A working knowledge of the Chaung Tzu is helpful, but not required.

I mention this group, primarily because I've found it to be a fairly conflict-free zone where both Buddhism and Taoism are discussed and interpreted with a great deal of depth and enthusiasm.


Justin Williams's picture

On this topic of Daoism

On this topic of Daoism relating to Buddhism, I can recommend Red Pine's translation of the Dao De Jing (he spells it Taoteching). He includes many commentaries on the verses, by both Daoist and Buddhist masters. It is a great book, and gives a wonderful insight into Chinese Buddhist masters' views on Daoism.