CONFUCIANISM

CONFUCIANISM VS. TAOISM Confucianism was the major school of thought in China throughout history. Confucianism was developed from the teachings of Confucius and his disciples, and covered the areas of social relationships, principles of good conduct, practical wisdom. Confucianism has influenced the Chinese attitude toward life, set the patterns of living, and provided the background for Chinese political theories and institutions. It has spread through various countries from Korea, Japan, and Vietnam and has aroused interest among Western scholars. Although Confucianism became the official ideology of the Chinese state, Confucianism has never existed as an established religion. Amazingly, Chinese scholars honored Confucius as a great teacher but did not worship him as a personal god. Unlike Christian churches, the temples built to Confucius were not places in which organized community groups gathered to worship, but public places designed for annual ceremonies. Two major schools of Confucian thought emerged after the death of Confucius. One of these schools was represented by Mencius, the other, Hsn-tzu. Mencius continued the ethical teachings of Confucius by stressing the innate goodness of human nature. He believed, however, that original human goodness could become corrupt through one’s own destructive effort or through contact with an evil environment. The problem of moral cultivation is therefore to preserve or at least to restore the goodness that is one’s birthright. In political thought, Mencius is sometimes considered one of the early advocates of democracy, for he advanced the idea of the people’s supremacy in the state. In opposition to Mencius, Hsn-tzu contended that a person is born with an evil nature but that it can be regenerated through moral education. He believed that desires should be guided and restrained by the rules of propriety and that character should be molded by an orderly observance of…

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