Zen Connection

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Zen Connection

Postby Daoist Duck » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:17 pm

I recently read a book, "The Tao of Zen" [The premise of The Tao of Zen is that Zen is really Taoism in the disguise of Buddhism--an assumption being made by more and more Zen scholars. This is the first book that links the long-noted philosophical similarities of Taoism and Zen. This is a reference that should be read by everyone interested in Taoism and Zen. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. (Editor: Amazon)]. Since Zen seems to be a development from Taoism, it makes sense to study Taoism itself.

My question is, what is the essential idea in Taoism that is also the essential idea in Zen? Does anybody know how to bridge the two?
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Re: Zen Connection

Postby laotan » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:57 pm

Daoist Duck wrote:I recently read a book, "The Tao of Zen" [The premise of The Tao of Zen is that Zen is really Taoism in the disguise of Buddhism--an assumption being made by more and more Zen scholars. This is the first book that links the long-noted philosophical similarities of Taoism and Zen. This is a reference that should be read by everyone interested in Taoism and Zen. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. (Editor: Amazon)]. Since Zen seems to be a development from Taoism, it makes sense to study Taoism itself.

My question is, what is the essential idea in Taoism that is also the essential idea in Zen? Does anybody know how to bridge the two?


Zen is not a single and complete philosophy as they are several types of Zen. Each of it related to the way people understood Taoism and tried to translated it into the Japan ideology and religious system. So is difficult to launch a bridge between Taoism and Zen(s), if you know what I mean.
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Re: Zen Connection

Postby Daoist Duck » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:50 pm

My take on a similarity between Taoism and Zen is the connection between "Essence" and "Manifest" (Chapter 1, Tao Te Ching, Lin translation); both "emerge" from the Unity, which is the great Mystery. One difference I see is that Zen seems to encourage a middle path that basically ignores both of these aspects of reality, while Taoism seems to encourage acknowledgment and even participation in both.

For example, "Carving up an Ox" acknowledges that there is a task at hand where the application of the Tao makes the task easier and more efficient. "The sound of one hand clapping" on the other hand, a Zen koan, suggests a total escape from reality all together. "Following the flow" seems different from thinking nothing at all.

What do you all think?
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Re: Zen Connection

Postby laotan » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:20 pm

Daoist Duck wrote:For example, "Carving up an Ox" acknowledges that there is a task at hand where the application of the Tao makes the task easier and more efficient. "The sound of one hand clapping" on the other hand, a Zen koan, suggests a total escape from reality all together. "Following the flow" seems different from thinking nothing at all. What do you all think?


Where to escape out from reality? Do you mean there's some other thing or fact or whatever that you may call out of reality and it is somehow placed out of reality? Perhaps this is Zen but I am sure it is no Tao (ism). I mean this is pure speculation for the sake of speculation. You must learn more what are the koans good for. Perhaps also learn what we mean by following the Tao even when we working on meat. Then and only then ask questions...
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Re: Zen Connection

Postby Shanti-- » Sat May 19, 2012 12:26 am

I am still pretty much a novice to both taoism and zen but from what I can tell from the two so far, are they not close enough to eachother to where no bridge would be required? I enjoy the trenquility of both and the tao and zen seem to be both unable to put into words (this is their likeness), however they are different. I've always seen zen as more internal and tao as external. With zen you seek internally and with tao you seek extrenally, but you use both external and internal searchings to base your findings with both zen and tao. Example: In tao you would meditate on something external while meditating like a flower or a river) but you'd still find emptyness and connection all the same with these natural objects. And in zen you would reflect internally and litterally empty your mind conscienscly to find emptyness and connection with the flower or river and natural objects. Both the objective is to achieve connection with the Tao and in essence reaching peace and harmony and often answers within yourself through the universe and eternal tao.
Zen is Zen, Tao is Tao. I know the two are different. But they seem to have many similarities, of which I understand now ( I believe) that being from the translations between cultures (Chinese to Japanese) if I understand correctly.
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Re: Zen Connection

Postby laotan » Thu May 24, 2012 5:43 am

Shanti-- wrote:Zen is Zen, Tao is Tao. I know the two are different. But they seem to have many similarities, of which I understand now ( I believe) that being from the translations between cultures (Chinese to Japanese) if I understand correctly.


Tao has a special interest to outer world and our day to day life. It is more pragmatic. It is a kind of zen applied to the real life. Basically it doesn't differ much as it has a special connection through ch'an. See also Hui Neng.
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Re: Zen Connection

Postby laotan » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:43 am

Daoist Duck wrote:I recently read a book, "The Tao of Zen" [The premise of The Tao of Zen is that Zen is really Taoism in the disguise of Buddhism--an assumption being made by more and more Zen scholars. This is the first book that links the long-noted philosophical similarities of Taoism and Zen. This is a reference that should be read by everyone interested in Taoism and Zen. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. (Editor: Amazon)]. Since Zen seems to be a development from Taoism, it makes sense to study Taoism itself.

My question is, what is the essential idea in Taoism that is also the essential idea in Zen? Does anybody know how to bridge the two?


If the title of book is The Tao of Zen then Tao is the core of Zen. If you know what the core of Zen is, you know what is Tao. Tao is the subject matter of Taoism.
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