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2.4.2 Buddhism and Taoism

Both Buddhism and Taoism are at the same time both religions and philosophical systems.

Siddhartha Gautama founded Buddhism in northeast India sometime during the period from the late 6th century to the early 4th century BC. Spreading from India to Central and Southeast Asia, China, Korea, and Japan, Buddhism has played an influential role in the spiritual, cultural, and social life of much of the Eastern world. During the present century it has attracted some adherents in the West.

Taoism is a tradition that has, along with Confucianism, shaped Chinese life for more than 2,000 years. The Taoist heritage, with its emphasis on individual freedom and spontaneity, laissez-faire government and social primitivism, mystical experience, and techniques of self-transformation, represents in many ways the antithesis to Confucian concern with individual moral duties, community standards, and governmental responsibilities.