Chinese Philosophies Underlying Principles: Humanism-focus on human relationships Harmony-a reflection of the cosmic order Dao-”the Way” Yin/Yang: The Universal Law
Philosophical foundations The “Hundred Schools” Naturalism Confucianism Daoism Legalism Confucius
Naturalism Five agents: wood, fire, earth, metal, water Geomancy: “Fengshui” Dualism in nature: yin and yang The importance of BALANCE!
Complementary Opposites Yin: feminine passive negative weak cold response Yang: masculine active positive strong hot stimulus “As yin expands and yang contracts, so the universe breathes”
The Forbidden City Beijing Planned according to principles of yin/yang and feng shui
Confucius and Confucian thought Confucius lived 551-479 B.C.E. His students compiled “The Analects” Confucian thought and texts became the basis of education until the late 19th century!
Basic principles: • Tradition important- “the Golden Age” • The Golden Mean-moderation in all things • All should work to be “gentleman” (junzi) with the virtues of: (humans good by nature) • ren (jen): kindness or benevolence • ri (li): sense of propriety; observing custom • xiao (hsiao): filial piety
Basic principles: • Te (“duh) – Confucian theory of government. • Ideal society is achieved NOT by force and law but by the moral example of those in authority and everyone acting in accordance with their proper position in society. • Wen (“one”) – the arts of peace (high culture) • Education valued • Maintain standards of excellence
Society is composed of five basic relationships: • Father and son • Ruler and subject • Husband and wife • Elder brother and younger brother • Friend and friend
Confucius said: “When the meanings of the father are no longer meaningful to the son, civilization is in danger.” “Let the ruler be a ruler and the subject a subject; let the father be a father and the son the son.”
According to Mencius: “A woman’s duties are to cook the five grains, heat the wine, look after her parents-in-law, make clothes, and that is all! [She] has no ambition to manage affairs outside the house… She must follow the three submissions: When she is young, she must submit to her parents. After her marriage, she must submit to her husband. After her husband’s death, she must submit to her son.”
Mandate of Heaven The emperor was the son of heaven He had a mandate from heaven to rule “all under heaven” But this was conditional… he could lose the “mandate” if he was a poor ruler. Natural disasters were signs that the emperor was on the verge of losing the mandate.
Impact of Confucian Thought“to be Chinese is to be Confucian” • Political impact – Mandate of Heaven -“Good government depends on good men” -Government of ethics not force • Social impact – knowing your place, “saving face” • Harmony through ordered social relationships • No need for priests or gods • Civilian over military rule • Education important
Laozi and Daoism Laozi contemporary of Confucius? Reaction to ideas of Confucius Emphasized natural principles over social principles wuwei, following the “Dao” or “way” In China many have been “Confucian by day, Daoist by night.”
Laotsi said: “Do nothing and everything is done” “A wise man knows that it is better to sit fishing on the banks of a remote mountain stream that to be emperor of the whole world.”
Basic Principles • Tao – “the way of Nature,” the Cosmic Order • wu-wei – “the natural way,” adapt to nature’s rythyms. • Values: • Intuition • Eqalitarianism • Spontaneity • Humility • Relativity
Impact of Daoism • Individualistic, set apart from society • Naturalistic art, judo, karate, T’ai Chi • Technological developments-gunpowder, compass • Two approaches – high philosophical, magic • Political impact-less government is better
Legalism “Law is the basis of stable government because, being fixed and known to all, it provides an exact instrument with which to measure individual conduct.” Han Feizi 280-233 B.C.E.
Basic Principles • Goal? Law and Order • “Man is essentially selfish” • Law is supreme but uniform • Harsh punishments • Means justifies the ends • Pragmatic, not bound by past precedents
Impact of Legalism • Used as the model for laws, made Confucianism more rigid • Laws must be written, uniform • Laws dictated by the ruler—Strong state “totalitarianism” • Change laws to fit the times
Unification of China under Emperor Qin Shihuangdi Qin reigned 221-210 BCE Unified north and south China Standardized language, weights, currency, measures Constructed roads throughout empire Connected Great Wall
Guarding the Tomb of the Qin Emperor Xi’an, China
Farmers discovered first terra cotta warriors in 1970s…
Chinese religion China’s origin myths influenced by Confucianism: great men founded China Folk religion is based on worship of ancestors Secular philosophies of Confucianism and Daoism became “religions” of sorts. Buddhism was introduced to China from India 1st century C.E. Chinese religion is syncretic Fu Xi Shen Nong
Han dynasty [206 BCE-220 CE] China’s “classical age” Confucianism became the basis of educational system Contemporary with Roman Empire
Civil Service Examination China as a “meritocracy” Scholarship was the way to the top! Initiated in 2nd century BCE and continued until early 1900s. “Cheat shirt” c. 19th C.
Tang Dynasty [618-907 CE]: “Cosmopolitan China” Tang capital at Chang’an was a crossroads of the world China was the center of “civilization” in Asia— Conducted diplomacy through the “tribute system”
Chang’an In Chang’an there were Buddhist temples, Daoist monasteries, Manichean, Nestorian, Mazdean temples, and eventually Muslim Mosques.
Tang China: a regional power During the Tang period, Chinese philosophies, classic texts, ideas about government and city planning spread to Japan, Korea, Vietnam Layout of Nara, Japan, [710-784]
Tang China: the tributary system RGH #30