Taoism is one of the two great philosophical and religious traditions that originated in China.
The other religion native to China is Confucianism. Both Taoism and Confucianism began at
about the same time, around the sixth century B.C.E. China's third great religion, Buddhism,
came to China from India around the second century of the common era. Together, these three
faiths have shaped Chinese life and thought for nearly twenty-five hundred years (Hartz 3).
One dominate concept in Taoism and Buddhism is the belief in some form of reincarnation.
The idea that life does not end when one dies is an integral part of these religions and the culture
of the Chinese people. Reincarnation, life after death, beliefs are not standardized. Each
religion has a different way of applying this concept to its beliefs. This paper will describe the
reincarnation concepts as they apply to Taoism and Buddhism, and then provide a comparison of
The goal in Taoism is to achieve tao, to find the way. Tao is the ultimate reality, a presence
that existed before the universe was formed and which continues to guide the world and
everything in it. Tao is sometimes identified as the Mother, or the source of all things. That
source is not a god or a supreme being, as Taoism is not monotheistic. The focus is not to
worship one god, but instead on coming into harmony with tao (Hartz, 8).
Tao is the essence of everything that is right, and complications exist only because people
choose to complicate their own lives. Desire, ambition, fame, and selfishness are seen as
hindrances to a harmonious life. It is only when a person rids himself of all desires can tao be
achieved. By shunning every earthly distraction, the Taoist is able to concentrate...