Essay on Confucianism and Daoism

For thousands years people associated all inexplicable phenomena with some supernatural beings like God and Devil. Different cultures developed diverse points of view, traditions and explanations for the same phenomena, and unified them into different religions and philosophies. This essay concerns two philosophies – Confucianism and Daoism – which are among the most widely-spread and ancient world philosophies.

Daoism is one of major Chinese philosophical schools and traditional Chinese religion. The prefix “Dao” means the “way” and is the major category of Chinese philosophy accepted by most philosophical schools in China. “Dao” implies the deepest truth and the righteous course of life. The school of Daoism was founded by a great sage Laozi before the Common Era; later Laozi was deified by his progeny. Among the most important concepts of this philosophy are the following: virtue, name, eternal and other. Another major category in Daoism is Yin and Yang which symbolize two opposing but interdependent forces – the dark and the bright, the evil and the good, the night and the day, the water and the fire. This symbol implies that every aspect of our life has two sides depending on the point of view – good and evil, right or wrong, hot and cold – which never stand alone. Yin and Yang can not be absolutely divided – they present everywhere in relative amounts and there is only a little step separates the Yin state from Yang. Everything can be considered from the point of Yin and Yang.

The great sage and philosopher Confucius is the founder of very ancient philosophical school – Confucianism. Confucianism is based on the principles of morality, sincerity and justice. The teachings of Confucius were mostly concerned with social and political life of China. A lot of attention is paid to relations between people, i.e. social relations: how should parents treat their children and their parents and vice versa. Confucius developed a deep and substantial conception of a ‘perfect men’ which implied to propagate the principles of ethics, morality and humanism, and all the people should follow these principles. However, the teaching of Confucius was recognized only after his death and many Chinese imperators applied his principles of governing.

Nevertheless Confucianism and Daoism have certain divergences they together with Buddhism compose Chinese philosophy which significantly affected not only China but many other countries and cultures of the East.

Inasmuch as Western and Eastern civilizations so different it is not a surprise that their philosophies have many peculiarities. The idea of Western philosophy is to find the answer on the questions of being and consciousness, the Chinese teachings try to harmonize the relationships in society. So these schools focus different problems and thus develop in different directions. Chinese philosophy is more practical from this aspect. Western philosophers claim that nature is a rival of a man and they are in the state of confrontation, Chinese base their thoughts on the point that man and nature are in the state of harmony.

Another basic difference among Chinese and Western philosophies is that they consider time from different positions: Chinese consider time to be cyclic and Western – to be linear. So all these differences do not allow both philosophies to develop in a single direction and divide our world into the East and the West better than any borders along with frontier guards.

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