Confucianism, Daoism and Legalism
CONFUCIANISM, DAOISM AND LEGALISM 5
Confucianism,Daoism and Legalism
Confucianism,Daoism and Legalism
AncientChina was marred by various belief systems that defined the religionof the Chinese people. Although some belief systems have becomeextinct, some are still common and practiced to date. The majorbelief systems have evolved over time, which has ultimately definedthe religion environment, which creates a comparative platform forthese belief systems. A detailed look into Confucianism, Daoism andLegalism brings out the similarities and differences that range fromthe founders of these belief systems compared to other beliefs aswell as similarities and differences in gender roles.
Confucianismis simply described as China`s main ancient philosophy.Confucianism`s implicitly encompasses aspects of Chinese culture andits beliefs have constantly developed and changed over the past 2500years. In Chinese philosophy, Confucianism is regarded as the code ofethics that was adopted and widely used by ancient Chinese empiresthat ruled China from 206 BC to 1912 AD. Confucius ideas, XunZI andMencius were adopted and codified over millennia to be included intoa doctrine system that widely came to be known as Confucianism.
Unlikeother belief systems like Christianity, Islam and Judaism, MasterKong did not develop Confucianism as a form of religion. Rather, thebelief system was developed to revive and interpret the unnamedreligion of the Chou Dynasty(Peter von Sivers et al., 2012).A common similarity between Confucianism and other belief systems isthat the founders of Confucianism based the religion on spirits, whowere responsible for preventing social upheavals.
Atthe time of establishment, Confucianism separated gender roles tocreate a society that was based on human heartedness. Under thesecond key element of Confucianism, gender roles appeared on theimportance of the family. As a social institution, gender roles weretaught to children under the family concept when they were young(Peter von Sivers et al., 2012).A similar aspect that is shared between Confucianism and other beliefsystems in gender roles is that the religious structure was in linewith the cultural and social structures.
Taoismis considered more than a religion or philosophy. It is considered tobe an indigenous religion that is associated with the Daodejing,which was a philosophical and political text that is purported to bewritten by Lalozi in the 3rdand 4thcenturies BC. Initially, Taoism never existed as a religiousconviction in anticipation of the founding of the Way of CelestialMasters sect in 142 BC(Wang, 2013).A similarity between Taoism and Confucianism is that they both engagein complex ritual practices that include devotion to divinities andimmortals. However, a major difference is that Taoists have a vastpantheon of gods and goddesses but do not acknowledge the gods aseternal or omnipotent.
Taoism,just like Confucianism separated its gender roles. The separation wasfacilitated by the possession of gods and goddesses. The goddesseshelped define the kind of roles that women could play. For instance,Taoists had a fertility goddess, which signified that the role of thewoman was to sire children(Wang, 2013).Additionally, children were taught gender roles in vocational studiesof Taoism culture, which nurtured their understanding of gender rolesas they grew.
Legalismwas a Chinese philosophy that involved a designation of intellectualpeople, who gained a lot of popularity during the period of statewarring. The intentions of the legalists were to achieve a state thatis rich and boasts of a dominant army. Legalism is different from allother belief systems as it has pure political motivations andintentions. The other difference is that the belief system has sincedeclined after the second imperial dynasty that ruled China from 2016BC to 220 BC(Fu, 2014).However, traces of legalists are still in existence to date
Legalismhad a strict structure of gender roles, with women kept away frompolitical issues. However, women were empowered domestically sincethe major goal of the philosophy was to ensure domestic stability. Amajor difference between legalism and other beliefs is the method ofempowerment. In legalism, only the elite and wives of the elite andintellectual were to be empowered.
Inconclusion, a detailed look into brings out the similarities and differences that range from thefounders of these belief systems compared to other beliefs as well assimilarities and differences in gender roles. Confucianism, Daoismand Legalism share a common similarity in that they both werepracticed in China. Confucianism and Daoism were major belief systemsof religion while legalism was more of a political philosophy thatjustified the selfish interests of China’s elite.
Fu,Z. (2014). China`sLegalists: The Earliest Totalitarians and Their Art of Ruling.Armonk: M.E Sharpe.
Petervon Sivers, C. D. (2012). Patternsof World History: Volume One: to 1600.New York: OUP USA.
Wang,Y. (2013). Taoismin China.Shanghai: China Intercontinental Press.
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