20 Must Read Difference between Buddhism and Taoism

What is the difference between Buddhism and Taoism?

Each country is associated with a certain religion. It is a clear indication that people tend to believe in a supreme being regardless of their race and country of origin.

The main difference between Buddhism and Taoism is that Buddhism originated from the Indian subcontinent whereas Taoism originated from China.

Read More: Difference between Lutherans and Catholic 

difference between buddhism and taoism

Comparison Table (Buddhism vs Taoism)

Basic Terms Buddhism Taoism
Place of OriginIndian subcontinentChina
FounderBuddhaLao Tzu
PracticesMeditation, eightfold path, right mindfulPhilosophical maturity, virtuous conduct, internal alchemy
Literally MeaningBuddhist are those people who follow the teachings of the BuddhaTao means the way
ClergyCompose of bhikkhus (male monks) and bhikkhunis (female nuns).Lead by the daoshis, masters of the Tao, and followed by daojiaotus
Original LanguagesPali(Theravada tradition) and Sanskrit(Mahayana and Vajrayana tradition)Old Chinese
Place of worshipBuddhist monasteries, temples, shrines.Taoist monasteries, temples, shrines.
PrincipleLife is a suffering and the only way to escape the sufferings is to dispel one’s cravingTao is the only principle and the rest is the manifestation
Goal of PhilosophyEliminate mental sufferingsGain balance in life
Time of origin2500 years ago B.C.E500 B.C.E
Holy DaysVesak dayChinese New Year, 3 Day Festival of the Dead, Ancestor Day.
Means of SalvationReaching enlightenmentBy following the tao
MarriageNot a religious dutyIt is a social bond
Population500-600 million30-40 million
SymbolsThe conch, endless knot, fish, lotus, parasol, vase, dharmachakra (Wheel of Dharma), and victory banner.The Yin and Yang
Religious LawsDharmaTao
HomosexualityAccept both homosexuals and asexualTao believes homosexuality is a manifestation

What Is Buddhism?

It is a type of religion that is highly practiced in the Indian subcontinent and it believes in karma. Religion has unique spiritual, physical, and metaphysical beliefs.

The main branches of Buddhism are Theravada is the School of the Elders and Mahayana is the Great Vehicle.

The goal of religion is to attain enlightenment and be released from the cycle of rebirth and death.

What Is Taoism?

It is a type of religion that originated from China before finding its way to Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. Taoists do not believe in a personal God.

The ethics of Taoism lay stress on the three jewels of the Tao that include moderation, humility, and compassion.

The main branches of Taoism are philosophical Taoism, religious Taoism, and folk Taoism. The influential Taoist text is Tao Te Ching or Daodejing.

Main Difference between Buddhism and Taoism

  1. Buddhism originated from the Indian subcontinent whereas Taoism originated from China
  2. Buddhists are the followers of Buddha whereas Taoists are the followers of Tao
  3. Buddhism has two main branches whereas Taoism has three main branches
  4. Buddhism has no single central text whereas Taoism influential text is Tao Te Ching
  5. Buddhism place of worship is Buddhist monasteries whereas that of Taoism is Taoist monasteries
  6. Buddha is the highest teacher and founder of Buddhism whereas Taoist believe Buddha was a student of Lao Tzu
  7. Buddha is the founder of Buddhism whereas Lao Tzu is the founder of Taoism
  8. Buddhism practice meditation and eightfold path whereas Taoism practice the philosophy of maturity and virtuous conduct
  9. Buddhism belief in a personal God whereas Taoism do not believe in a personal God
  10. The original language of Buddhism is Pali and Sanskrit whereas that of Taoism is old Chinese.

Similarities between Buddhism and Taoism

  1. Both use statue and pictures
  2. Both have similar places of worship
  3. Both consider men and women as a manifestation of God
  4. Both allow an atheist to partake in their religion
  5. Both religions have symbols
  6. Both are compatible with scientific findings

Buddhism vs Taoism FAQs

  1. Can You Be Buddhist and Taoist?

Yes. Buddhists can read Tao Te Ching since it has some excellent teachings and quite useful facts.

  1. Which Is Older Buddhism or Taoism?

Buddhism started around 2500 years BC whereas Taoism started around 500 years BC.

  1. What do Taoism and Buddhism Have In Common?

Both are peaceful religions. The use meditation to gain a peaceful mind and enlightenment. The goal of these religions is self-improvement.

  1. Does Taoism have a God?

No. There is no omnipotent being beyond the cosmos, who created and controls the universe.

  1. Does Buddhism believe in God?

Yes. Buddhist believe in a personal God. Buddhists believe that life is both endless and subject to impermanence, suffering, and uncertainty.

Comparison Video


Taoism is a religion and philosophical tradition that originated from China at around 500 BC. The philosophical idea of Taoism comes from Lao Tzu.

Buddhism is an ancient Indian religion that gets its foundation of the teachings of Siddhārtha Gautama. Keep in mind that Hinduism and Buddhism have some close similarities.

The core difference between Taoism and Buddhism is that Taoism originated from china whereas Buddhism originated from India.

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