Chinese Schools of Thought

By Kara Ross


Confucianism was start by Confucius in the Han Dynasty. All of Confucius' sayings are in The Analects. Rulers should be examples for inferiors to follow. You should always respect elders and the traditions. Everyone should honor the Five Relationships. Proper Behavior will create a stable society. Filial piety meant that you had to respect your parents. To prove you understand all these principles, government officials had to pass these exams. Golden Rule: “Do not do to others what you do not wish yourself.” This means that you should treat people the same way you would want someone to teach you.
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Legalism was started by Shihuangdi in the Qin Dynasty. They had a strong government that discouraged violence. People use to be forced to work projects the government created such as the Great Wall of China. They believed that many conflicts were because of greed. In order to have order in the empire, strict rules were made ("The nature of man is evil").


Taoism was started by Laozi. They did not allow conflict. They wanted to give way-to yield like water. That meant that they were cautious and tried not to start and be in any conflicts. They believed in yin and yang which meant that opposite things can make harmony. People and nature should live together in harmony. Taoism believed that governing the least would make a good government. All of this is in a book called The Way of Virtue.


Buddhism was started by Siddhartha Gautama. Buddhism has diffused to China and also the Silk Road. They believed promoting peace was important throught meditation. If you wanted to get to Nirvana, then you had to of had Right actions and speech. In Buddhism, they made monasteries the center of learning.