I have a Happy Buddha that I absolutely love. His smiling face, his jolly belly, his stretched out ears. Everytime I walk by him on my landing, he makes me smile.
As a non-religious person, I always felt more partial to Buddism than to any other religion. I always made a blatent statement of "if I had to choose a 'religion' it would be buddism"...until I started doing some very weak research. This started about 15 years ago, when I picked up The Tao of Pooh. Yes, I said Pooh, as in Winnie-The-Pooh. Benjamin Hoff uses the characters from Winnie-The-Pooh to describe and explain the many facets of Taoism.
Right at the beginning of the book he takes the time to explain the differences, as he sees it, between Confucious, Buddist, and Taoist.
The book starts with a description of the Vinegar Tasters, which is an actual painting portraying the three great eastern thinkers, Confucious, the Buddha, and Laozi over a vat of vinegar. Each tasting the vinegar of "life," Confucius finds it sour, the Buddha finds it bitter, but Laozi, the traditional founder of Taoism, finds it satisfying. Then the story unfolds backing up this analogy. It was in this story that made it clear to me that what I am searching for is more in the Way of Laozi, as opposed to Buddha.
I am not looking to transcend this world for something greater, as in Buddha's teachings. I am looking to love the life I live, not fight against it, searching for more or living in the past where mistakes were made. I want to be happy in the now, enjoy every moment that I have and learn from everyone and everything around me. This is the Tao Way.
"We don't need to shift our responsibilities onto the shoulders of some deified Spiritual Superman, or sit around and wait for Fate to come knocking at the door. We simply need to believe in the power that's within us, and use it. When we do that, and stop imitating others and competing against them, things begin to work for us." ~ Benjamin Hoff