Philosophies of ancient China

by tammy jenkins


Confucianism was based on the teachings of a man named Confucius born in about 550 b.c. to a farming family Confucius lived when two enemy kings fought for power he criticized the misrule of these kings he tried to convince people to follow the beliefs of their ancestors if they did he believed it would bring peace and harmony to china, duty is a central idea of Confucianism it means that a person places the need of family and community above his or her own needs each person has a certain duties to do the parents duty is to love their children, and the children`s duty is to respect their parents, the husband's duty is to support the wife and the wife's duty is to obey the husband and most important a ruler had a duty to rule justly and set an example of right living and in return the subjects should be loyal and obey the law, he also believed that government service should be open to all men of ability and merit and not just those that were born royal the aristocrats did not want to open government to more people they didn't want to lose their power but over time Chinese emperors developed the practice of choosing government officials through civil service tests. Many people honored confucius as a great teacher his followers wrote down his sayings in a work called the analects after confucius died in 479 b.c. his teachings spread throughout china, confucianism continued to shape chinese society and government until the early a.d. 1900s.


Daoism promoted the peaceful society the word dao means path it is often translated as the way, daoism began with laozi he is believed to live around the same time as Confucius it also teaches people to have a good life like Confucius the daoists believed that people should free themselves from worldly desires and live simply that they should turn to nature and the dao by doing this they would enjoy a happy life daoism is different from Confucianism in some ways followers of Confucianism though that people should work hard to make the world better daoism taught that people should turn away from worldly affairs and live in harmony in nature. Many chinese followed both Confucianism and daoism they believed that the two philosophies supported each other


This philosophy stressed the importance of a system of laws it became known as legalism or the school of law. A thinker named hanfeizi introduced the ideas of legalism during the 200s b.c. unlike confucius and laozi hanfeizi believed that people were naturally evil strict laws and harsh punishments were necessary to force people to do their duty. Many aristocrats supported legalism because it emphasised force it did not require rulers to consider the needs or wishes of their people its ideas led to cruel punishments for even the smallest crimes.