Chinese Schools of Thought

By Rebecca Van Deven

Confucianism by confucius

Main thought is that the Government should lead by example. You must respect your elders and parents. Education is important in this philosophy. Also, human nature is good, not evil. They also live by the Five relationships: Father to son,  Elder brother to younger brother, Husband to wife, Ruler to subject, and Friend to friend. "Do not do on to other what you do not wish yourself," is how they live. All of the thoughts of this philosophy was written down in the Analects.
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Legalism by Hanfeizi

The nature of man is EVIL and his goodness is aquired.  Their ideas for order were: Greed is the motive and cause of conflict, Strict laws and punishments, and they forced people to work on government projects. People were also punished if they didn't work on the government project or complete their duties. This was a very harsh philosophy practiced by the Qin dynasty.
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Taoism (Daoism) by Laozi

The best ruler is one who governed the least.  They believed in peace with nature and yourself. To attain happiness you need to: practice a humble and quiet life, live a simple life, and live in harmony with nature. Their harmony came from the balancing opposite forces of ying and yang. The book of their philosophy is "The way of Virtue"
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Buddhism by Siddhartha Guatama

They live by the four noble truths: 1. All human life involves suffering and sorrow 2. The desire for a life of pleasure and material gain causes suffering and sorrow. 3. Renouncing desire frees people from suffering and helps their souls attain nirvana.  4. The Eightfold Path leads to renunciation, or denial of desire and attainment of nirvana. The Eight fold path is :  1. Right Views: seeing life as it really is 2. Right Intentions: living a life of good will; striving toward perfection 3. Right Speech: avoiding lies and gossip 4. Right Action: trying to be law-abiding and honest 5. Right Living: avoiding work that harms others 6. Right Effort: seeking to prevent evil 7. Right Mindfulness: constant awareness of one’s self 8. Right Concentration: directing the mind in meditation. All of this came to China by the Silk road.
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