Please do tell me:
1. Where you got this idea
2. What details gave you this impression
3. Anywhere I can refer to
(unlike my usual snarky posts, I am not being an ass and am quite interested)
Claiming that Buddha is reincarnation of Laozi sounds like something taken right out of Hindu Brahman's book. Though reincarnation is already an adopted idea, and in no way "orthodox" Taoism. I have to say, the adapted Taoist and folk religion made the right choice going down this route, I wonder how they came to the same approach as the Hindus in India... But in a way there's a trend to include more deities in most folk religion. [your;=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cao_Dai]There are those that included Jesus, and even Sun Yat-sen[/url].
I get the impression that the"hardcore Buddhism" refers to 正信佛教, which is promoted by Mentor Yin Shun (印順導師), who was a student of Taixu (太虛) back in China.
I think before Ming dynasty, most of the folk religion remained in homes. People who don't really understand what the two religions are about, who just want to worship for peace and prosperity would put deities together in their homes. By Ming dynasty, Luo Yin (羅因) wrote a book named Tapas Enlightenment Scrolls (苦功悟道卷) which is a mix of all three, and started his own pseudo Taoism that pretty much put the new religion on the map. A variation of this, Zhai Jiao (齋教), is pretty much the prototype of folk religion in Taiwan.
In Taiwan it gets worse, because even though most early temples claims to have originate from Yuan Quan Temple, very little actual Buddhism is going on. Monks were busy placating to the people, and became professional funeral and prayer bands. I can't recall exactly where I've read it, but some of the situation is mentioned by the Taiwan Encyclopedia. http://taiwanpedia.culture.tw/web/content?ID=367
By the end of Qing dynasty most temples have been compromised by folk religion, destroyed by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, or fell into disrepair after years of unrest. There was a revival of Buddhism. By that I mean monks actually started to do research, comparison, and reexamine the condition of Chinese Buddhism. Out of which came the Taixu and Yin Shun teachings. Now, I am not saying that is the only Hardcore Buddhism out there, any Buddhist temple that devotes itself to the actual studying and practicing of the teaching of the Buddha would be a hardcore Buddhist temple. Safe to say, any Buddhist temple that is about 正信佛教 or 原始佛教 will not have a Jade Emperor or Mazu in their temple.