Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism explained in a short story

  • Reiji
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21 Jan 2017 20:56 - 21 Jan 2017 20:57 #273125 by Reiji
Here's something I think anyone who has an interest in eastern philosophical/spiritual systems might enjoy reading. It's a little breakdown of a famous picture from the East that actually describes three different popular beliefs in short paragraphs.

source:

taoistblogforclass.wordpress.com/2014/02...the-vinegar-tasters/



The Vinegar Tasters is the name of a well-known painting. It depicts Buddha, Lao Tzu (the author of the Tao Te Ching), and K’ung Fu-tse the master of Confucianism. The picture is representative of the these three beliefs and in the picture we see all three of them around a vat of vinegar, which was meant to represent the essence of life, and sticking their fingers in to taste.

K’ung Fu-tse wears a sour expression. To him, the present was out of step with the past and he did everything he could to exercise reverence for the past, for the ancestors, for the ancient ways. Under Confucianism, there were elaborate and very particular rituals used at particular times for particular things.

Buddha wears a bitter expression. It is the Buddhist way of thinking that life is bitter, filled with earthly attachments that lead to suffering. Buddhists, while just as calm and tranquil as a Taoist, feel that they need to transcend this world. Buddhism has changed over time but the devout Buddhist still sees transcending to Nirvana as their purpose.

Lao Tzu is smiling, the only one enjoying the vinegar. Although vinegar can be sour and bitter, Lao Tzu respected that this was how vinegar is supposed to taste, and he didn’t criticize the vinegar for being what it was supposed to be. This was it’s purpose and the vinegar he was tasting was doing an excellent job at being vinegar. The Taoist practice of respecting everything’s own nature and purpose, is also how the Taoist views the essence of life. The Taoist is not blind to the fact that life can be bitter, but it respects that this is just life being life and you must learn to accept that, and to enjoy your own life within it. The painting truly shows that accepting how everything is can help make you a much more positive person.
Last edit: 21 Jan 2017 20:57 by Reiji.

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23 Jan 2017 05:06 #273266 by J. K. Barger
Even the bro's from back in the day could get together for a brew...

Oh my, how things haven't changed ;)

The Force is with you, always.

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23 Jan 2017 17:10 - 23 Jan 2017 17:13 #273312 by OB1Shinobi
well i suppose im going to continue being a scrooge so here is my next "bah humbug:"

stories like these are counter-productive because they can leave people feeling like they understand things that they dont actually understand

its cute and a little bit clever but its obviously biased and doesnt actually explain any of the systems mentioned

My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb
And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them
Last edit: 23 Jan 2017 17:13 by OB1Shinobi.
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23 Jan 2017 17:44 #273318 by Reiji

J. K. Barger wrote: Even the bro's from back in the day could get together for a brew...

Oh my, how things haven't changed ;)


Lol, most interesting things are discussed over refreshing drinks with close friends

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23 Jan 2017 17:54 #273319 by Reiji

OB1Shinobi wrote: well i suppose im going to continue being a scrooge so here is my next "bah humbug:"

stories like these are counter-productive because they can leave people feeling like they understand things that they dont actually understand

its cute and a little bit clever but its obviously biased and doesn't actually explain any of the systems mentioned


I agree. This short story does not explain any of the systems in great detail, and it had a bias. All religions, faiths, beliefs, school of thoughts, etc, have biases of some sort. The Vinger Tasters is indeed a shallow story in the sense that it does not go into depth about the systems it mentioned. I felt this story was a way to get people's feet wet, as a way to get someone more curious about the said mentioned belief systems.

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23 Jan 2017 18:39 #273326 by OB1Shinobi
this story actually did bias me towards taoism when i read it as a young teen, and being a young teenager i didnt even realize my position had been biased by the simplification

as a result of my unconscious bias, i neglected serious inquiry into buddhism for more than a decade, which is a shame because buddhism (just as much as taoism) has some useful ideas

its not my desire to be critical of you personally, you were sharing a fun story with the community and thats great

i chose to speak on this in hopes that my own mistake of letting a clever little story convince me that i knew something which i didnt actually know, isnt made by others

nothing personal against you

My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb
And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them

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23 Jan 2017 20:06 #273335 by Reiji
I did not find your comment as a personal attack towards me, rather as a criticism of the story, which I found valid. Your personal experience is a good cautionary advisory to show others there's more to each system than the story lets on and one should investigate for themselves.

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24 Jan 2017 19:21 #273524 by jzen
I wrote about this in my meditation journal this morning. I'm glad to see that this found relevance with another here :) Thank you for sharing!
The following user(s) said Thank You: J. K. Barger, User22414

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