Ancient China. Beliefs and Philosophies. Effort to make sense of chaos led to creation of many new Chinese philosophies, or ways of looking at the world. Of many philosophies created during late Zhou period, two became influential in later Chinese history: Confucianism Daoism.
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Ancient China Beliefs and Philosophies
Effort to make sense of chaos led to creation of many new Chinese philosophies, or ways of looking at the world • Of many philosophies created during late Zhou period, two became influential in later Chinese history: • Confucianism • Daoism New Philosophies The conflicts of the late Zhou period led many Chinese thinkers to question the nature of society and people’s roles in it.
Confucianism • Confucius • Confucianism based on teachings of scholar named Kongfuzi, better known as Confucius, who thought people should treat one another humanely • Should express love, respect for others, honor one’s ancestors • Love and Respect • Believed that love, respect had disappeared and was responsible for violence in society; restoring respect for tradition would make society stable • Thoughts on how to improve society collected in book, Analects • Analects • Ruler should treat subjects fairly; subjects reward ruler with respect, loyalty • People should respect members of family, devote selves to public service • Confucian ideas spread elsewhere in Asia, including Korea, Japan, Vietnam
Confucianism • K’ung Fu Tze • Born in 551 BC • Lived during Zhou/Chou dynasty • Time of lax morality • Wandered through many states, advising rulers • Writing • Dealt with individual morality • Political power of rulers • Social ethics • Afterlife • Similar to Buddhist or Taoist
Confucianism • The Five Relationships • ruler and people • parent and child • older brother and younger brother • husband and wife • between friend and friend
Confucianism • Parts of teaching • Li: includes ritual, propriety, etiquette, etc • Hsiao: love within the family • love of parents for their children • Love of children for their parents • Yi: righteousness • Xin: honesty and trustworthiness • Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others; the highest Confucian virtue • Chung: loyalty to the state • Important texts – the Si Shu • Lun Yu: the analects of Confucius • Chung Yung: doctrine of the mean • Ta Hsuech: the greatest learning • Meng Tzu: analects of philosopher Meng Tzu
Yin and Yang Definition • Daoism embraced Chinese concept of yin and yang, representing balancing aspect of nature—male, female; dark, light; hot, cold • Neither can exist without other • Important for two to remain balanced for perfect harmony • Origins of Daoist teachings attributed to philosopher named Laozi • Wrote book called Dao De Jing • Laozi worshipped by some as a god • Unlike Confucianism, which focuses on improving society, Daoism encourages people to retreat from laws of society, yield to law of nature • Heart of Daoism is concept of the dao, or the way • Dao is the limitless force that is part of all creation • Through the dao, all things in nature connected • Finding one’s place in nature allows person to achieve harmony with universe Daoism
Taoism • Loa Tsu (Lao Tzu, Laozi, Loatze) • Lived approx. 604-531 BC • Lived in a feudal society with lots of warfare • Wrote book: Tao-te-Chine (the way of virtue) • Tao (Dao) • The path or the way (undefinable) • Way to avoid conflict (esp feudal conflict) • Power which surrounds and flows through all things
Taoism • Balance – between 2 extremes • no love with out hate • no peace without war • no male without female • no light without dark • Believers goal: be one with the Tao • Gods are manifestations of the Tao • Time is cyclical, not linear • Yin & Yang • Yin formed breath of earth • Yang formed the breath of heaven • Pair of opposites seen through out the universe • Intervention of human civilization has upset balance
Taoism • Chi (air, breath) • Life force that has been entrusted to each person • Developing one’s virtues nurtures the Chi • Being nice to another means they will reciprocate the kindness • Believe people are compassionate by nature • Feng Shui (wind & water) • Consult Chinese calendar for birth sign • Use I-Ching (book of changes) • Creates balance between ying/yang, 5 elements and environment • Seeks to maximize balance of Chi • Simple balance – no clutter • Sharp angles bad – cut the Chi
Some Lasting Effects Daoism eventually proved less influential than Confucianism in Chinese history • Still played major role in later dynasties • Idea of balance key concept in China for centuries as result of Daoist teaching • Daoist philosophy led many followers to work for preservation, protection of natural environment
Buddhism • Gautama Siddhartha (63-483 BC) • Born a prince, raised in luxury • Took 3 trips outside the palace • Saw old, sick, and dead • Becomes an ascetic (abandons worldly pleasures) • Search for enlightenment • Medidates under Bodhi tree • God Mara (death and desire) tries to prevent • Finds the ‘middle way’ – between deprivation and gratification • 4 noble truths and 8 fold path
Buddhism • 4 noble truths • 1 – all life is characterized by suffering • 2 – suffering is caused by desire/craving • 3 – suffering can be stopped if you stop desire/craving • 4 – stop desire/craving w/8–fold path • 8 fold path • Right:
Buddhism • Important concepts • Karma: for every action there is a moral reaction • Dharma: fulfilling your social role – avoids bad karma • Samsara: cycle of death and rebirth • Nirvana: enlightenment – breaking out of samsara • Bodhisattvas: people who have achieved enlightenment, stay on earth to help others • Buddha • Not a god, a man (role model) • Koans – illogical riddles used to gain insight
Legalism • Han Feizi, Shangzi • Founders, lived 340-230BC • Han Feizi – student who taught Confucianism • Wrote main text of legalism • Shangzi traced the cause of chaos to growing population • Strong government is a solution • Philosophy • The law is the supreme authority • Humans are inherently evil – education cannot make them better • Only punishment and reward will get people to act correctly
Legalism • Elements of legalism • Fa: the law; should be made public and rule the state (not the whims of rulers) • Shi: legitimacy of rule; the power comes from the position, not the person • Shu: methods; laws should be strict, there is no place for benevolence, people need a strong hand to rule them • Conflicts with other philosophies • Dislikes Confucianism way of praising the past • Believes that people should be working rather than philosophizing • Persecuted all followers of Confucianism – even the prince • Banned and burned Confucian texts
Legalism • Parts of legalism • Everyone has the same laws – regardless of origin • Land was privatized and feudalism was done away with • If you refuse to denounce a criminal, you would be cut in half at the waist; if you identified a criminal you got a reward • Families would share the reward or punishment of an individual • Only the farmers and food producers would be free – everyone should be slaves
Contrast What is one difference between Confucianism and Daoism?
Answer(s): Daoism—retreat from society and commune with nature; Confucianism—improve society Activity: Take a look at the following situations. For each situation apply the philosophies you have just lok at and determine the behavior that should follow:
Activity: Comparing Philosophies • A student knows that they are failing a class. Students from each of these doctrines know they will be in trouble when their parents find out. How do they handle this situation?) • A student's friends smoke and are trying to get them to start. How do they handle this situation? • A student has just found $20 in the hall. What should they do? • A student's parents have just spent a lot of money on a new outfit. The student has been playing around and has gotten ink all over it. What should they tell their parents, or should they? • A student really likes a new student in school, but all the other students are making fun of the new student's clothes. How should the first student act? • A student knows that an older brother or sister is cheating on tests. How should the student act? • A student sees an opportunity to take something they have really wanted, without being caught. How should that student act?