Confucianism vs. Philosophic Daoism
Confucianism vs - Confucianism vs. Philosophic Daoism introduction. Philosophic Daoism
The periods of Spring and Autumn and Warring States were very distinctive by disunity and civil conflicts due to the struggle for power. The conflicts and new ideas were also attributed to the struggle for survival among the regional lords whose main concern was to build powerful and loyal troops and to increase the economic production. Nevertheless the atmosphere of reform brought the “golden age” of the Chinese culture and it furthermore promoted the ideological movement in China. During the late Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods, there were various classical Chinese philosophies developed, known as the “Hundred Schools of Thought”. Confucianism and Daoism/Taoism were among the various schools that lasted and became influential in shaping and molding the Chinese culture for centuries. The two philosophies influenced the cultural, social, political, and spiritual aspects of Chinese civilization despite of the contradicting perspective they hold. The contradicting vies of the two philosophies provide a balance to the society of China and ultimately to most parts of China (World Religions).
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Confucianism was developed based on the teachings of Kong Zi or most popularly known as Confucius. Confucius was a famous teacher and social philosopher of China. He considered himself as a transmitter of cultural values and believed in his abilities to restore the world’s order. He devoted so much time in travelling in different countries around China and advancing his ideas among the rulers. Among the rulers that greatly inspired Confucius was the Duke of Chou dynasty. The Duke followed the idea of Confucius to unite and refine the feudal system which worked very well for the dynasty (World Religions).
After travelling around China, Confucius became involved in teaching. His teachings mainly involved the principles of good conduct, practical wisdom, and proper social relationships. Confucius believed that in order to have governance over others, one must have governance over oneself. He further believed that every person has a correct place in the society as well as the duty of every person among others and what to expect from them in return. One should sincerely obey ritual, which is used to distinguish between people, to make more effective in cultivating oneself. And in order to use ritual, one should undergo internalization. Confucius believed that if one internalized, he/she would have formalized behavior and eventually personal cultivation. Both actions would lead to social correctness. Nevertheless ritual assigns and separates people into class and makes hierarchical relationships through etiquette and rite (Wertz, 2008).
Confucius further believed that there is a need for human nourishment and humans are held in various degrees of relationship with various people. These beliefs lead to the idea of five virtues on relationships of Confucianism. In Confucianism, it is believed that younger individuals owe duties of respect and service towards the older ones, while older individuals also have duties of compassion and concern to the young ones. Moreover, Confucius believed on “filial devotion” which implies of a child’s responsibility to show respect and obedience to his parents especially to his father and in return the father is also responsible to show concern toward his son. These duties should be extended to the deceased family member. The next one, loyalty, is related to filial devotion in terms of mutuality. The relationship involved here is between the minister and the ruler. The minister must give the ruler all their support and in return the minister is entitled of a just treatment from the ruler. The next virtuous relationship involves relationship between friends which is sustained by a lasting commitment. This can be best expressed in the phrases of the Golden Rule which stated “Do not do unto others what you do not want others do unto you”. The last relationship is between husband and wife. The wife is expected to submit to her husband and be a good homemaker while the husband is responsible in taking good care of the whole household. In general, Confucianism is concerned in whole structure and order of the family and subsequently to live in harmony with nature (Wertz, 2008).
Meanwhile, Daoism or Taoism did not use belief as basis. Taoism has an emphasis on different thoughts such as emptiness, detachment, receptiveness, spontaneity, flexibility, relativism of human values, and the search for long life as well. Taoism also emphasizes on achievement of harmony with nature. In Taoism, supernatural beings such as gods, ghosts, and ancestral spirits existed on earth and they may enter into relations with humans. In order to have a constructive relationship with these beings, it is important to practice rituals such as rituals of sacrifice for the dead and even those that are beyond the Chinese folklore. In Taoism, all should live in harmony with nature. When the body is in harmony with nature, this will eventually be followed by naturalness. In return, the individual will hold to the impersonal natural order and will attain everything while not doing anything. At this stage of spirituality, a task will just become secondary nature of the individual and a response is made without even thinking (Wertz, 2008).
Confucianism promotes the search for knowledge to achieve virtues while maintaining its focus on earthly materials. Meanwhile, Daoism is concerned in living in harmony with nature while maintaining its focus on spiritual things. It can be said that the ultimate purpose of the two philosophies mainly focused on achieving happiness of the human kind. The two philosophies are complementing each other and if an individual will be able to hold these two philosophies and in turn apply to his life, that individual will be able to have a well-balanced life (Wertz, 2008).
Wertz, R. R. “Exploring Chinese History”. 9 June 2008. <http://www.ibiblio.org/chinesehistory/contents/02cul/c04s04.html>.
“History of Confucianism”. World Religions. 9 June 2008. <http://www.wamware.com/world-religions/confucianism/history.htm>.