taoism and confucianism should be considered religions or a philosophy
Confucianism and Taoism are both ancient Chinese styles of living. Confucianism believes in setting good examples for others to follow, primarily in 5 key relationships: ruler and subject, wife and husband, older and younger sibling, friend and friend, and father and son. Taoism (a.k.a., Daoism) focuses on living harmoniously; this is where the concept of yin and yang originates.
The core philosophy of Confucianism is that rules and rituals are needed to correct the degeneration of people. The core belief of Taoism is that there is a natural harmony between heaven and earth, which can be discovered by anyone.
Monday, August 19, 2019
Buddhism was the third major belief system of ancient China. It was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, also called the Buddha, who lived in India around the sixth century B.C.E. Buddhism is a philosophy that focuses on personal development and attainment of deep knowledge. Buddhists seek to achieve enlightenment through meditation, spiritual learning, and practice. They believe in reincarnation and that life is impermanent and full of suffering and uncertainty; the way to find peace is through reaching nirvana, a joyful state beyond human suffering. There are many different sects that place different emphasis on various aspects of Buddhism. The two largest sects are Theravada Buddhism, which is found primarily in southern Asia, and Mahayana Buddhism, which is found in east Asia, including China.
The two great indigenous philosophical and religious traditions of China, Daoism and Confucianism, originated about the same time (6th–5th century BCE) in what are now the neighboring eastern Chinese provinces of Henan and Shandong, respectively. Both traditions have permeated Chinese culture for some 2,500 years. Both are associated with an individual founder, though in the case of Daoism the figure, Laozi (flourished 6th century BCE), is extremely obscure, and some aspects of his traditional biography are almost certainly legendary. A conventional but unlikely story has it that Laozi and Confucius (551–479 BCE), the founder of Confucianism, once met and that the former (older) philosopher was not impressed. Be that as it may, their respective traditions share many of the same ideas (about humanity, society, the ruler, heaven, and the universe), and, over the course of millennia, they have influenced and borrowed from each other. Even since the end of the dynastic period (1911) and the establishment of the communist People’s Republic (1949), which was often violently hostile to religion, the influence of both Daoism and Confucianism in Chinese culture remains strong.
Generally speaking, whereas Daoism embraces nature and what is natural and spontaneous in human experience, even to the point of dismissing much of China’s advanced culture, learning, and morality, Confucianism regards human social institutions—including the family, the school, the community, and the state—as essential to human flourishing and moral excellence, because they are the only realm in which those achievements, as Confucius conceived them, are possible.
The worldly concern of Confucianism rests upon the belief that human beings are fundamentally good, teachable, and perfectible through personal and communal endeavor, especially self-cultivation and self-creation. Confucian thought focuses on the development of virtue in a morally organized world. Some of the basic Confucian ethical concepts and practices include rén, yì, and lǐ, and zhì. Rén (仁, ‘benevolence’ or ‘humaneness’) is the essence of the human being which manifests as compassion, and is sometimes translated as love or kindness. It is the virtue-form of Heaven, and the source of all other virtues. Yì (義/义) is the upholding of righteousness and the moral disposition to do good. Lǐ (禮/礼) is a system of ritual norms and propriety that determines how a person should properly act in everyday life so as to be in harmony with the law of Heaven. Zhì (智) is the ability to see what is right and fair, or the converse, in the behaviors exhibited by others. Confucianism holds one in contempt, either passively or actively, for failure to uphold the cardinal moral values of rén and yì. Confucianism also places am emphasis on filial piety (Chinese: 孝, xiào), which is a virtue of respect for one’s parents and ancestors.
Taoism has had a profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries, and Taoists (Chinese: 道士; pinyin: dàoshi, “masters of the Tao”), a title traditionally attributed only to the clergy and not to their lay followers, usually take care to note the distinction between their ritual tradition and the practices of Chinese folk religion and non-Taoist vernacular ritual orders, which are often mistakenly identified as pertaining to Taoism. Chinese alchemy (especially neidan), Chinese astrology, Chan (Zen) Buddhism, several martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, and many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history.
One myth narrated that around 604 B.C.E., Lao Tzu was born as an old man, already white-haired and full of wisdom. Eventually, Lao Tzu worked for the Imperial Archives as head librarian. It was said though that because he was dismayed at society’s lack of goodness, Lao Tzu chose to leave his home in Luoyong to become a recluse.
In Confucianism, the three core teachings are: