The Relationship Between Confucianism and Daoism Essay

The Relationship Between Confucianism and Daoism

            Apart from Buddhism or Zen Buddhism, there are two prominent philosophies in China that seem to have stood out among the rest.?)  These two philosophies may have similar ideas of the world, as one succeeded the other upon its death. These two philosophies are Confucianism and Daoism (also known as Taoism). In this paper, the philosophies Confucianism and Daoism will be discussed in such a way as it would eventually formulate a distinct relationship between the two. Although it has been known that the two have an obvious relationship, a deeper analysis may still be needed in order to uncover a deeper relationship between the two.

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Daoism was derived from the word Dao which means path or way (Jelling). With this meaning, the philosophy of Daoism can now be identified as a school of “the way or path,” following certain paths in a self-sufficient way. Early Chinese historians identified Laozi (Lao Tze) Zhuangzi as paradigms of the study of Dao. However, it has been mentioned that Daoism is indefinable, and it has to be experienced by the follower or pupil (Robinson, “Taoism”). Daoism believed that the Tao is the first cause of the universe, wherein it flows through all life (Robinson, “Taoism”).It is required for the Daoism believer to complement themselves with the Tao; a perfect harmony may be required to achieve “the path.” The central concept of Daoism is the Dao or “way” which is one of the simplest words in English, which could mean a lot of things because of its broadness (Hansen). However, it could only mean the way is the aim of the believer that can be achieved through self-sufficiency and harmony with the Tao. One of Daoism’s sacred texts is the Daode Jing.

            Confucianism was founded by K’ung Fu Tzu or widely prominent in the Western world as Confucius. Confucianism proliferated during the Chou and Han Dynasties. However, with the decline of the Han Dynasty, the popularity of Confucianism also dropped periodically. Later on, it gained popularity again, as some of its intellectual followers desired for something new (Hansen). Confucianism is basically a list of individual morality and ethics that its believers and students should follow, much like a code of ethics that people should adhere to (Robinson, “Confucianism”). It also teaches politicians how to properly exercise their power and control over the state. Confucianism does not really entail a religious concept, as many may suspect. It is simply an ethical system that its followers and believers observe. One of its major texts is the Lun Yu which is the analects of Confucius.

            The two Chinese philosophies have existed since the Ancient times. Obviously, they are different in terms of beliefs and the rituals that they practice. However, both of these philosophies can be applied by individuals and the society upon achieving something better. They seem complementary to each other. The Daoist principle of following one’s personal path in a self-sufficient way while achieving harmony with the Tao can be intensified by following the Confucian thought which is primarily a list of morals and ethics that can be applied to life.

            The relationship between the two can be seen as mutual rather than predatory, as both of them can be used to achieve harmony in life alongside Buddhism. With the combination of the three, the individual can achieve a greater purpose for himself or herself and for the community.

Works Cited

Hansen, Chad. “Taoism.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 28 June 2007. Stanford University. 23 Apr. 2009. <>.

Jelling, Jakob. “Confucianism and Daoism.” Feng Shui Crazy. 23 Apr. 2009. <>.

Robinson, Bruce. “Confucianism: Founded by K’ung Fu Tzu.” Religious Tolerance. 4 Jul. 2004. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 23 April 2009. <>.

—. “Taoism (a.k.a. Daoism).” Religious Tolerance. 7 Apr. 2009. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 23 Apr. 2009. <>.

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