Conflict between Buddhism and Taoism

At the top of the handout for Lesson 9 it recommends reading a text, Laughing at the Tao: debates among Buddhists and Taoists in medieval China. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1995.

A link is also provided:

Unfortunately this link is to a Chinese language site

Having unsuccessfully searched online for a free PDF, I've found that Barnes & Noble has the best price (for those of you in the US).

The text is listed for between $276 and $406 on Amazon, but was $22.50 from B&N, with shipping and tax, to Texas.

If anyone is aware of a (free) PDF in English and can provide the link, I'm sure others would appreciate it and perhaps it could be incorporated into the handout.

Looking forward to reading this text.

Gregory Hamilton Schmidt's picture


The Hua-yen school integrated Taoist terminology (sometimes with different meaning) into its cosmology.

Several references can be found in Kang-nam Oh’s “The Taoist Influence on Hua-yen Buddhism”

Here's an example:
The first Taoist element that can easily be pointed to in the Hua-yen system is the idea of hsüan. For Hua-yen the hsüan or mystery, profundity, deep truth, darkness, subtleness and the like, is the key word used to represent the whole truth of the dharmadhātu.
Above all, the cardinal doctrine in connection with the dharmadhātu has been throughout these patriarchs of the Hua-yen school, the “ten mysteries” or ten hsüans.
As is well-known, the idea of hsüan is found in the first chapter of Lao Tzu’s Tao-te-ching in connection with Tao and its two aspects of being and non-being. At the end of the chapter it is said:
They both may be called the mystery [hsüan] ;
It is the mystery of mysteries,
The door of all the wonderful subtleties.
The phrase “mystery of mysteries,” sometimes rephrased as the “manifold mystery,” was especially cherished as the central term characterizing the inexpressible Tao.