During many years, a lot of people have put me questions about Taoism versus Buddhism and, funny, always reporting to Confucianism also - like an intermezzo.
About Confucius I easily could and I can answer, for sure, that he has desired so much a Religion from him like he has desired the offices that he had at the China State... Never has crossed Confucius mind as something as create a Religion - who speaks differently from this only has not study the Confucius documents.
About Buddhism I knew what I have learn from Western Universities and I definitively say that, until four years ago (maybe a few months more hahahahahaha), Buddhism was a matter that I could not understand at all and more, has been presented to me based in a radical stream of suffering by inner Buddha law, the enough for me to learn to be out of it. Further more contrasting with the great hotels where the Buddhist subjects were presented by Oriental Buddhists... so I thought « well, at least here they have something pleasant. »
From my calm lake I could devise a river, a strong stream river that nobody could surpasses unless by illusion.
For me all seemed as a defect of Buddha's religion, like this nightmare that he had where a demon have swear to him that all the MIDDLE WAY religion establishment will be destroyed.
So, I have decided, across my travels to the eastern of Asia - when I was going to North East of China to my Taoist Ashram friends and masters -, to go near Buddhist communities to observe their acts, their enforcements... under what kind of so hard laws they were obliged to practise.
At this time (70's) the Buddhists at Europe explain that the way of Taoism was so soft that has been needed to enforce the suffering. Maybe you all are aware of this but this cannot be taken this way.
Fine, I have seen prostrations. I have seen people eating like me and even more because in travel what I ate (and eat) is few, I have seen people meditating... anyway, nothing that I could not do. If you ask me if I have been inner a Buddhist monastery (Ashram)… no! I have not; usually in India I always stay at Vedic Ashrams.
Now, during this journeys - and a lot of Western people that have pursuit the same routes like me, have been (and are yet) amazed and scandalized with the Magic or Shamanism mixed with something that these people call Buddhism.
For me it was not a huge problem but a karmic one, or a lot variety of them.
To say that in these amounts of travels to my usual Taoist Ashram I have been attracted by Buddhism... No! Not at all. I know that in the Taoist world like in a lot of religious systems around the world always the Shamanism is present, even because Shamanism is older than Taoism and much older than any kind of religions. Like Taoists use to say - at least at the late 70's -, « Taoism has been the Way to prepare the great WAY: the Buddhism. »
This have called me the attention for 'reviewing' the Buddhism, i.e: to study by myself in order to discover what in fact Buddhism is and, in fact, I was not able to see more than Buddhist people - like Hare Krishna’s and others so well known - bothering people in places like airports and at the entrance of tubes.
What I want to say with this - for a person that has born Jewish -, is that was so explicitly similar to Catholicism and Christianism in general that I didn't saw reasons to pursuit with my personal and inner research.
But - the life has these kinds of Buts -, happens that since my youth my father gave me a book, among others, that he always considered a special one: The Diamond Sutra. Also has happened that the special books that I always carried in my travels around the world, all the Confucius documents, like I Ching and other Taoist ones now have been added with The Diamond Sutra.
I believe that a name, that every human have, carries a lot of symbological meaning like the implicit karma. I also believe that also karma can be changed hahahahaha, at least I hope. So, my name Yochanan - we can call vocation or Dhamma Jewish name, if I can put it like this -, by any chance of this world has the same meaning of the Taoist given name that has been applied to me: Juan (in Mandarin Chinese). Now my Dharma name, with the years, has been accumulated to Dao Juan Tû... all normal but Buddhism. The Chinese Buddhism could give me some understanding, maybe because all of Taoism and all of my Confucius deep studies; but one thinking always were beating me in the back: The so fantastic Diamond Sutra.
The Tibetan Buddhism, at Western countries, looked to me and yet looks something strange, like a derivation of the Evangelic Christianity with Catholic music for the orchestration.
Quite two years ago a venerable from Thailand appeared me not in visions but at the Internet. He asked me to teach him English - this can be read at http://fozibertheravadaeng.no.sapo.pt - and here you can observe my low understanding because of dispersive thinking and misconceptions.
I am quite sure that this monk has appeared in my life for a deep propose but not the English language. And he begun speaking with me about a Theravada Buddhism that I did not knew at all. Shin, Shan or Zen Buddhism also were out of my understanding even more than the Tibetan Buddhism.
This venerable became exposing me some basis always saying « don't rush, go slowly. »
By Theravada, finally, the Buddhism has opened its doors inner my mind. Not a miracle... No! By exposition and since then my studies never more have stopped.
I am a beginner and I am writing this because - and all is possible -, a lot of people like me must know the Theravada Pali way to see, that with the hands we can fill a deep cistern with water. Patience and persistence with a lot of meditation practise.
Well, the end is my beginning. Now here I am with the Diamond Sutra, with the so great Abhidhamma and a little more to go slowly as my teacher venerable monk - and, above all, as a master to me -, has teach me to do it.
To you all Venerables I present this reality and to You all, I thank You a lot.
To Buddha... I have no words or feelings; sorry, but I am not able to explain, only silence, only this “sweet” silence of understanding.
May your work prevailed, may all your efforts be merits of Buddha and deeply I am sure they are.
From Portugal with LOVE
Dao Juan Tû (aka: Yochanan Hayash D’Affonseca)