The Religions and Ethical Traditions of China By Mr. Milewski
The Religions and Ethical Traditions of China • Confucianism • Daoism • Legalism • Buddhism • Take the Quiz
Confucius • Confucius is China’s best known philosopher. • He was born in about 551B.C. • The disorder and suffering caused by constant warfare disturbed Confucius. • He developed ideas about how to restore peace and ensure harmony.
Confucius Traveled • Confucius visited the courts of various princes, hoping to convince them to put his ideas into practice. • Disappointed by the princes refusals, he returned home, where he taught a small but loyal group of followers. • After his death, his followers collected his teachings in the Analects.
Confucius’s Five Relationships • To restore order, Confucius taught that five relationships must govern human society. They are: 1.) the relationship between ruler & ruled 2.) the relationship between father & son 3.) the relationship between older brother & younger brother 4.) the relationship between husband & wife 5.) the relationship between friend & friend
In all but the last relationship (friend & friend), one person has authority over another. • In each, said Confucius, the superior person should set an example for the inferior one. “If a ruler himself is upright, all will go well without orders. But if he himself is not upright, even though he gives orders, they will not be obeyed.” • According to Confucius, the superior person is also responsible for the well-being of the inferior person.
Confucius and the Mandate of Heaven • Mandate of Heaven- The Chinese believed that heaven granted a ruler the mandate, or right, to rule. The people, in turn, owed the ruler complete loyalty and obedience. • Confucius supported the Mandate of Heaven. He said that the ruler must provide good government for his subjects. The rulers subjects, in turn, owed the ruler loyalty and obedience.
Confucius and Family • To Confucius, relationships involving the family are the key to an orderly society. One of those relationships-the relationship between father and son-is very much like that between the ruler and the ruled. • Like the ruler, the father must set an example for his son and look after his family. • The father takes the credit, or the blame, for his children’s actions. • The son, in turn, is expected to honor and obey his father. • Confucius stressed the idea of filial piety, the duty and respect that children owe their parents.
The Influence of Confucius • Confucius created a guide to proper behavior based on ethical, or moral, principles. • In his teachings, he placed the family and the good of society above the interests of the individual. • He also stressed loyalty, courtesy, hard work, and service. • He placed great emphasis on education. He said: “By nature, men are pretty much alike. It is learning and practice that set them apart.”
The importance of education, as well as other Confucian ideas, helped shape Chinese government. • In time, Confucian ideas came to dominate Chinese society. • As China expanded across Asia, Confucianism influenced the cultures of Korea, Japan, and Vietnam as well.
Pop Quiz on Confucius • Confucius believed that a superior person, like the ruler or a father, had the responsibility to set a good example for the inferior person, like the ruled or a son, because the superior person was responsible for the well-being of the inferior person. TRUE FALSE
Incorrect!!! • As the superior person I obviously haven’t set a good example for you and have disappointed Confucius. Please try again so we can try to maintain an orderly society.
CORRECT!!! Confucius said: “If a ruler himself is upright, all will go well without orders. But if he himself is not upright, even though he gives orders, they will not be obeyed.” The reason why you answered this correctly is obviously because I set such a good example for you.
Confucius on Education • Confucius believed that all men were pretty much equal despite the amount of education they had because of this he believed that education was a waste of time and did not set a good example for society. TRUE FALSE
Incorrect!!! • I have failed to set a good example and I have disappointed Confucius. Please try again so peace and harmony can be restored to society.
CORRECT! • Confucius placed great emphasis on education. He said that: “By nature, men are pretty much alike. It is learning and practice that set them apart.” • Because I was an outstanding role model for you, we have a peaceful and orderly society and have pleased Confucius.
Daoism • Like Confucius, the philosopher Lao Zi studied human society. He, too, searched for ways to establish an orderly society. • Lao Zi, the founder of Daoism, however emphasized the link between people and nature rather than the importance of proper behavior. • Scholars know little about Lao Zi, but that his thoughts are contained in the book The Way of Virtue.
For centuries, Chinese artists have depicted Lao Zi as a kindly sage who embodies the ideal heart of Daoism. • Lao Zi advised: “Reveal thy simple self, embrace thy original nature, check thy selfishness, curtail thy desires.”
The Natural Way • Daoists believed that the best way to live was the natural way. • In Chinese the word dao means “the way.” Daoists did not define “the way,” however. It is said, “Those who know the Dao do not speak of it; those who speak of it do not know it.” • To Daoists, Confucian rules for society were useless. A society with rules was an artificial creation that disturbed the natural order.
Daoists believed people should do nothing that was contrary to nature. “The duck’s legs are short, but if we try to lengthen them, the duck will feel pain. The crane’s legs are long, but if we try to shorten them, that crane will feel grief. Therefore we are not to cut off what is by nature long, nor to lengthen what is by nature short.”
Lao Zi on Government • Lao Zi believed that the best government was the one that had the fewest rules and laws. • He valued simplicity. Lao said: “The wise man keeps to the deed that consists in taking no action and practices the teaching that uses no words.” Bad Government According to Daoists
Daoist influence and inventions • The Daoists study of nature enabled them to make advances in science and technology. • They recorded the movements of planets and increased their knowledge of astronomy. • They may have developed the magnetic compass to determine favorable places for graves.
Daoist observations of natural forces led to discoveries in chemistry and biology. • Some scholars think that Daoists invented gunpowder, which they used to frighten ghosts.
Daoists and Religion • Daoism developed links with folk religions. Peasants believed that gods and spirits controlled the unseen powerful forces in nature. • To find out what would please the spirits, they turned to Daoist priests for help. • Priests used all kinds of magic to determine lucky days for weddings and the best place for graves.
Pop Quiz on Daoism • Daoists believe that the best government is the government with the most rules and laws that will ensure order. TRUE FALSE
Correct!! • Daoists believe that best government is the government that has the fewest rules and laws. Lao Zi said: “The wise man keeps to the deed that consists in taking no action and practices the teaching that uses no words.”
Lao Zi verses Confucius • Daoists reject Confucian rules for society because they disturbed the natural way. TRUE FALSE
Correct! • Daoists reject Confucian rules for society because they are an artificial creation. Lao Zi said: “The duck’s legs are short, but if we try to lengthen them, the duck will feel pain. The crane’s legs are long, but if we try to shorten them, that crane will feel grief. Therefore we are not to cut off what is by nature long, nor to lengthen what is by nature short.”
Incorrect • You have not followed the natural way. Return to where you came from and have Lao assist you in finding “the way.”
Legalism • A third school of thought that shaped China’s early history is Legalism. • The most famous Legalist writer was Han Feizi. It is unknown when he was born, but he died in 233 B.C. • In his book, of the same name, Han Feizi, rejected Confucian ideas about proper behavior. • Han Feizi believed that people acted out of self-interest and would only respond to rewards and punishments, not good examples.
Because of self-interest, Legalists believed that only harsh laws imposed by a strong ruler would ensure order. • Han Feizi noted: “The ruler alone possesses power, wielding it like lightening or like thunder.” • In 221 B.C., the Qin emperor Shi Huangdi used Legalist ideas to unite China.
Legacy of Legalism • Many feudal rulers of China like Shi Huangdi, chose Legalism as the most effective way to keep order. Shi’s laws were so cruel that later generations despised Legalism. • Yet, Legalist ideas survived in laws that forced people to work on government projects and punished those who slacked from their duties.
Pop Quiz on Legalism • Legalists believed that people held power over the ruler. TRUE FALSE
Incorrect!! • You have chosen poorly. For your poor judgment, you will be forced to wash all the desks in the school with a toothbrush from a Barbie Doll. Unfortunately, this is still to harsh of a punishment according to the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Your are lucky this isn’t the Qin Dynasty, so try again.
Correct!! • For pleasing your ruler, you will only have to study for 16 hours tonight instead of 18 hours. Enjoy your two free hours, but be cautious because remember what Han Feizi said: “The ruler alone possesses power, wielding it like lightening or like thunder.” Next time, you could be on the opposite side of the ruler.
Buddhism • During the first century A.D., Buddhism reached China from India. • Buddhism was one of the few foreign influences that had a deep impact on Chinese life. • It spread along caravan trade routes that linked India to China. • Later, Buddhism-and the culture of China-was taken to Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.
The Appeal of Buddhism • The Chinese found a great deal of comfort in Buddhism. The three Chinese schools of thought-Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism-dealt with life on Earth. Buddhism was a religion that offered an escape from the suffering of earthly life. • Buddhism promised salvation for the good, those who lived moral lives, and punishment for the wicked. It stressed mercy and compassion.
First impression of Buddhism • When Buddhism first reached China, many Chinese saw it as a foreign religion. They could not understand the vague concept of nirvana. • Also, they criticized people who abandoned their families to become monks and nuns.
In time, Buddhism blended with Chinese beliefs and values. Nirvana became the western Heaven, reflecting Chinese ideas about the afterlife. • Chinese Buddhists emphasized Confucian ideas of proper behavior and respect for family and ancestors. They also absorbed Daoist views of nature because the Chinese could accept diverse ideas. As a result, many Chinese followed Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian beliefs at the same time. • Confucianism and Daoism were concerned with ethics and living in harmony with nature, including the gods and spirits that were believed to be everywhere. Although temples and ceremonies developed around both schools of thought, neither Confucianism nor Daoism were a true religion like Buddhism was.
Pop Quiz on Buddhism • Buddhism was not a true religion, unlike Confucianism and Daoism. TRUE FALSE
Incorrect!!! • If it is nirvana you seek, click on the Buddha to make your enlightenment complete.
CORRECT!!! • Buddhism was a true religion, not a philosophy like Confucianism and Daoism.
Question #1 • Which philosopher taught that there is a hierarchy in society where the superior person is responsible for the inferior person? a. Confucius (Confucianism) b. Lao Zi (Daoism) c. Han Feizi (Legalism) d. Siddhartha Gautama (Buddhism)
CORRECT! • Confucius taught that there is a hierarchy in society where the superior person is responsible for the inferior person. He said: “If a ruler himself is upright, all will go well without orders. But if he himself is not upright, even though he gives orders, they will not be obeyed.”
Question #2 • Which Chinese philosopher taught that people acted out of self-interest and would ONLY respond to rewards and punishments imposed by a harsh ruler? a. Confucius (Confucianism) b. Lao Zi (Daoism) c. Han Feizi (Legalism) d. Siddhartha Gautama (Buddhism)
CORRECT !! • Han Feizi believed that people acted ONLY out of self-interest. He noted that: “The ruler alone possesses power, wielding it like lightening or like thunder.”
Question #3 • Which Chinese philosopher taught that the best government was the one that had the fewest rules because human rules interfere with the natural way? a. Confucius (Confucianism) b. Lao Zi (Daoism) c. Han Feizi (Legalism) d. Siddhartha Gautama (Buddhism)
YOU ARE CORRECT! • Lao Zi believed that the best government was the one that had the fewest rules and laws. He said that: “The wise man keeps to the deed that consists in taking no action and practices the teaching that uses no words.”
Question #4 • Which of the following philosophies and religious beliefs were NOT native to China? a. Confucius (Confucianism) b. Lao Zi (Daoism) c. Han Feizi (Legalism) d. Siddhartha Gautama (Buddhism)