Three Schools of Thought in Feudal China

Amongst the chaos of political instability and constant warring of the Zhou era, arose many intellectual thinkers that brought such profound impact in the field of politics, religion and philosophy. Even to this day, their influence can be viewed in the many matters of China. Confucianism became the leading school of thought and later significant philosophies such as Daoism and Legalism gained immense recognition as well. Each party had their own proposals for creating an idealistic political society where the many problems they faced in their everyday lives could be eliminated. All three approaches were very distinct but at the same time, they contained certain similarities as well. I find that Confucianism and Daoism could be resembling in many ways to find several common grounds. On the other hand, Legalism goes on to take a more unique approach which was much different from the previous two. Confucius was born in 551 B.C., to a poor family of the lower nobility. Throughout his life, he relentlessly tried to gain an office with a prominent ruler of the time who was willing to adopt his various concepts. Confucius died in 479 B.C, before such a change ever took place. However, he succeeded in winning over a handful of followers who continued his legacy and Confucianism later went on to become one of the most influential thought systems of Chinese history. Of his followers, Mencius and Xun zi became the best known. Since Confucius did not succeed in completing a manual of his views, these followers had to derive their own interpretations of the system, which now form the Analects. The Analects portrays an perfect jun zi, or gentleman, and his various duties in terms of the society, family and the rituals. Confucius explains about dao, or the way, which he believed, that if the people accepted its terms and were willing to abide, they would succeed in creating an utopian society. By the beginning of the c…

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