Taoism 2 Essay, Research Paper
There are three major religions in China Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Confucianism is the distinctive religion of the three because it had been ingrained in the ruling class, which had been the prevalent and influential religion since the beginning. Because of this every individual had to be familiar with this religion regardless of the religion that he followed. Therefore Confucianism is not just a religion but a political, economical and social system.
Confucianism had a system of hierarchy —heaven-state-society-family-family member. The king is mandated by heaven to carry out duties for the good of the society. Society is the most important part of this system. Everyone works selflessly for the good of the state. This hierarchy is justified by tao. If you ask why the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the answer simply is because that s the way it is. It is a natural and a social law, which also provides harmony and balance. Because of this way things are just fine in their natural state and should be left alone. The society is based on a preexisting principle, which is tao. Family is a crucial part and is considered to be a natural environment needed for moral training and is the link between individual and society. It is believed that one is innately good and it is here where one is spiritually blossomed and his innate goodness is brought out. This is done through education and practicing certain virtues or social and ethical acts. Also one s physical needs and psychological desires block their potential for intelligence and moral concern. To become a better person one should meditate to get in touch with the ordering principle within themselves and in the world around them, so that they gradually become more mature, rational and in control of themselves and can help bring order to family, society and government. This ensures that a people live in harmony with one another and with nature. This is li natural laws and human laws.
In today s Chinese society, the values of family, work ethic and the emphasis on education are still prevalent.
Confucius, a figure popular around 5 BC developed Confucianism. He was born at the time when China was being invaded by foreigners and there was internal conflict with the clans. Confucius wanted to find order in the society.
Confucius is comparable to Socrates in the West. He was not a very well known person. He never wrote anything. He only held discussions in small groups and this was in question-answer style similar to Socrates. He gained the popularity that he deserved after he died.
Confucius believed that in order to strengthen society moral principles were needed that applied to everyone, principles such as justice, honesty, and love, that could be followed in all situations. He believed that these principles were the will of Heaven for human beings especially for the ruler and his officials, who were supposed to rule for the benefit of the people and that a person without strong moral commitment can never become a truly excellent teacher.
The highest goal for the rulers was to develop an inner sense of ethical commitment, deep empathy and compassion for others. This inward power of concern was to be expressed in everyday life as respect for elders, loyalty towards friends, and in general care for all people in a harmonious way. These highly educated and cultivated people were supposed to be always trying to better society and government. Confucius wanted to put educated and dedicated people in places of high position because they deserved it not just because they were born in the aristocracy
The tao is natural and the eternal way of the universe and far wiser than any person could possibly be, so it is always a mistake for us to try to change things around. All we do is assert our own egos and trying to substitute our own knowledge for the wisdom of the universe.
The most important concept is jen which is goodness and humanity. jen is not only a virtue but a metaphysical reality.