“The vinegar tasters” is an ancient Chinese painting of Lao Tse, Confucius and Buddha standing around a barrel of vinegar and tasting from it. Lao Tse is smiling, representing the positive outlook of the Taoist believes. Confucius makes a sour face, as he sees humans as being flawed and in need of proper guidelines. Buddha’s mimic is one of bitterness, as he saw life as suffering. (FYI All of these descriptions are gross over simplifications)
The painting highlights the differences in outlook in the Chinese philosophical tradition. But there’s another understanding of the picture, that the three philosophies are just three pillars of a bigger concept. Covering the “divine”, the social and the personal aspects of it separately.
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