The belief in some unknown presence, whether we believe or not, has existed since man can recollect. Religion was established from this belief, and it can survive and flourish because of this belief. We can learn in Chinese history, Buddhism and Taoism are two major religions at every dynasty. Even today, with the great development of science and technology, they still have a great number of believers. Taoism, originated in China at the Eastern Han Dynasty and Buddhism, came to China from India around 6th century B.C., together have shaped Chinese life and thought for thousands of years. Although they have many points in common but the differences are crucial.
First and foremost, we may see immediately that Taoists they put considerable emphasis on the body, and that Buddhists, they put considerable emphasis on the mind. So it won’t be a problem for us to figure out that Taoists tended in China to live outside of the cities, off in the mountains, and that Buddhists tended to live closer to the cities; and that whereas Taoists tended toward an iconoclastic view of social forms, Buddhists tended to accommodate themselves to social forms, adapting to the culture rather than standing apart from it.
Besides that, on how to explain the beliefs of life, each religion has a different way. Taoist is advised to concentrate on life itself. The longer the person's life, the more saintly the person is presumed to have become. This may be an optimistic theory while the Buddhist believes that existence is suffering, suffering has a cause, namely craving and attachment.
Last but not least, just as life, the beliefs of life after death are not standardized. The goal in Taoism is to achieve Tao, to transcend life on earth as a physical being, to achieve harmony with nature and the universe. But Buddhist believe life goes on and on in many reincarnations or rebirths. The eternal hope for all followers of Buddha is that through reincarnation one comes back into successively better lives until one achieves the goal - Nirvana, which they being free from pain and suffering and not having to come back again.
The path to Tao and Nirvana are different. Yet both believe there is an inner light which guides a person in the right direction to the ultimate goal. Personal desires must be forsaken to enable the inner light to guide a person to achieve eternal bliss. But the actual path is the difference between Taoism and Buddhism. The path toward enlightenment for the Buddhist was defined by Buddha in his Eightfold Path. Only through following this path does the Buddhist reach Nirvana. The path to Tao is individual, it comes from within. No one can define a path for Taoist; it must come from the inner light.
There exist so many different religions, and a lot of them are the basis of people’s culture and belief. They seem to provide various types of beliefs and principle. People worship numerous “gods” for different occasions. In ultimatum, the religion can be anything a person makes of it.