Confucianism and Daoism are two of the most influential schools of thought in ancient China. Both are not only ways of thinking, but ways of life. They are not religions: they have no teaching of worship of gods, or the afterlife; each philosophy focuses on the individual and their behavior. Confucianism and Daoism are often considered polar opposites for several reasons, although they have a few similarities.
Confucianism has a core of morality, ethics, and activism. It encourages social harmony and mutual respect. Confucianists sought to perfect their character by living a virtuous life and seeking goodness. They valued ethics, respect for elders, and propriety. Confucius, the originator of Confucian thought, believed political order would be found by the proper ordering of human relationships, and so did not bother himself with the structure of the state. He stressed that a good government must fill their positions with well-educated and conscientious people, called Junzi. Confucius was followed by his disciples Mencius and Xunzi. They also possessed the same optimism that humans could improve themselves to perfection.
Daoism has a core of self-reflection and oneness with the cosmos. They refused to meddle with problems that they thought defied solution, and were the prominent critics of Confucian activism. They devoted their energy to introspection, in hopes that they could better understand the natural principles of the world. The central concept of Daoism is Dao, roughly meaning “the way of nature”. The exact definition of Dao is unclear; it is portrayed as an unchanging, passive force that “does” without “doing”. Daoists try to follow Dao through Wuwei – complete disengagement from competition and activism, and instead living in harmony with nature. This philosophy discouraged the presence of any government or empires, just small self-sufficient communities.
There are a few similarities between Confucianism and Daoism. They were both created as a solution for the chaos that emerged from the fall of the Zhou Dynasty, although it was the arrival of Legalism that created unification in China. They both focus on self-improvement: Confucianism in the form of relations with others, and Daoism in the form of relations with oneself and nature. Confucianism and Daoism clearly have strong contrasts, but many people believe that for a person to be whole, they should incorporate elements from each.
Sources:Bentley, Jerry, and Herb Ziegler. Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. 181-89. 3rd. McGrawHill, 2004.
Essay on Comparison of Taoism and Confucianism
1153 WordsFeb 17th, 20075 Pages
Confucianism and Taoism have contrasting views on both religion and politics. However, they stem from a similar goal and have similar beliefs. Confucianism is mainly centered around virtue and ethics as a means to an ordered society and believes that an ordered society is what people should strive for. Taoism, on the other hand, focuses on the individual life in relation to the Tao, or "way of nature." Both are considered philosophies and not religions and acknowledge a path that a person should follow in life. However, they take opposing views not only on religion and politics, but also on the person's responsibilities. Confucianism is based on the teachings of Confucius (also known as Kongzi). In these teachings Confucius talks…show more content…
This is greatly illustrated in the book "Monkey" where the Monkey King mentions his desire to live forever at numerous points. The Taoist philosophy is based on the teachings of Laozi and seems to have a more religious flow to it. Where as Confucian writings focus on the government and social order. Confucius believed that if a person behaved properly, then their family would follow suit, then their neighborhood, their city, and in time the whole country. The basis for a good system of government was the ideal Confucius family. Confucius talked about the 5 relations. They are emperor/subject, parent/child, husband/wife, older sibling/young sibling, friend/friend; all of which (with the exception of friend/friend) were based on the parent/child relationship. A large part of Confucianism is filial piety. The Superior Man, according to Confucian beliefs, is not only virtuous because of his actions but because of his attitude as well. This is why the Confucian belief that should the government behave in such a way the whole country will see this good and follow it. Unlike the Confucians, who actively tried to change the political system, Taoists pursue wuwei (nonaction) in living. According to the Tao Te Ching, by not acting one is not doing any harm which is the result of surrendering to the Tao. By doing such, one no longer has a corrupt nature and is moral and perfect human. If a person is in harmony with the Tao they are also in harmony with all