Hinduism, an Indian philosophy, is about understanding Brahma or existence from within their own Atman, roughly soul, whereas Taoism, a Chinese philosophy, is a way of living in which there were not many rules and believes in the dialectical of inaction.

In Hinduism, attaining the highest life is a process of removing the bodily distractions from life, allowing one to eventually understand the Brahma nature within.

Taoism emphasizes various themes of Daodejing and Zhuangzi, like naturalness, simplicity, spontaneity, detachment from desires, and wu wei.

Comparison chart

Hinduism versus Taoism comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartHinduismTaoism
Place of worship Temple (Mandir) Taoist monasteries, temples, shrines.
Place of origin Indian Subcontinent China
Practices Meditation, yoga, contemplation, yagna (communal worship), offerings in the temple. Philosophical maturity, virtuous conduct, internal alchemy, and some sexual practices.
Use of statues and pictures Common Common
Goal of religion To break the cycle of birth, death and reincarnation, and attain salvation. To be one with the Tao.
Founder Not credited to a particular founder. Lao Tzu
Belief of God Many gods, but realize that they all come from Atman. Tao literally means the Way, which indicates the movement of a dynamic existence that is composed of opposing forces. Taoists do not believe in a personal God.
Human Nature Depends on sects. If humans are in tune with the Tao, their sufferings will cease. Taoism teaches that humans are capable of experiencing immortality.
Life after death A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached. If immortality isn't attained during life, the Tao will continue to evolve and manifest in different forms, in accordance with the entity's general conduct during a state of existence. This applies to all sentient and insentient beings.
Clergy No official clergy. Gurus, Yogis, Rishis, Brahmins, Pundits, priests, priestesses, monks, and nuns. Taoist clergies are led by the daoshis, masters of the Tao, and followed by daojiaotus, followers of Taoism who also support the clergy, although it is not common.
Literal Meaning The followers of Vedas are called as Arya, noble person. Arya is not a dynasty, ethnicity or race. Anyone who follows the teachings of Vedas is considered Arya. To follow the Tao.
Scriptures Vedas, Upanishad, Puranas, Gita. Smrti and Sruti are oral scriptures. Daozang, a collection of 1400 texts organized in 3 sections which includes the Tao Te Ching, Zhuang Zi, I Ching, and some others.
Followers Hindus. Taoists
Original Language(s) Sanskrit Old Chinese
View of the Buddha Some Hindu sects claim Buddha was an avatar of Vishnu. Others believe he was a holy man. Some Taoists argue that the Buddha was a student of Lao Tzu, although there is no concrete evidence for it. Most Taoists respect and follow the Buddha's teachings.
Geographical distribution and predominance Mainly in India, Nepal and Mauritius. Has significant population in Fiji, Bhutan, UAE, etc. China, Korea, to lesser extent Vietnam and Japan.
Principle To follow dharma, i.e. eternal laws The Tao is the only principle. The rest are its manifestations.
Status of women Women can become priestesses or nuns. Women are given equal rights as men. No distinctions between men and women, as both are seen as manifestations of the Tao.
Means of salvation Reaching enlightenment by the Path of Knowledge, the Path of devotion, or the Path of Good Deeds. Following the Tao.
Views on Other Religions Some scriptures say the path they describe is the only path to God and salvation. Other scriptures are more philosophical than religious. Beliefs vary. Some believe that all spiritual paths lead to the same God. Taoism teaches that all religions are as anything else; manifestations of the impersonal Tao.
Marriage Man may marry one woman. However, kings in mythology often married more than one woman. A social bonding, applicable with clerics as well.
Confessing sins Repentance for unintentional sins are prescribed, but intentional sins have to be repaid through karmic consequences. Sin is not a Taoist concept.
Religious Law Dharma shastras The Tao.
Goal of Philosophy Salvation, freedom from the cycle of birth and reincarnation. To gain balance in life.
View of other Dharmic religions They believe that Buddhists, Jains, & Sikhs should reunite with Hinduism (which is the original Dharmic religion). Taoism has many similarities with Buddhism. Taoists are neutral against other Dharmic religions.
Symbols Om, Swastika, etc. The Yin and Yang.
Population 1 Billion. 30-40 million.
Holy days/Official Holidays Diwali, Holi, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc. Chinese New Year, 3 Day Festival of the Dead, Ancestor Day.
Time of origin circa 3000 B.C.E Approx. 550 B.C.E (Before Common Era)
Can atheists partake in this religion's practices? Yes. Yes.
Status of Vedas Vedas are generally regarded as sacred in Hinduism. Post-Vedic texts like the Gita are also revered. Foreign texts from the perspective of the Taoists.
Authority of Dalai Lama N/A. Taoists respect the general Buddhist traditions, but the Dalai Lamas have no special significance to Taoists.
Use of statues Allowed, but not compulsory They can be used as meditation objects, but they are not that common.

Further Reading

For further reading, there are several books available on Amazon.com on Hinduism and Taoism:


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