Confucianism and Daoism

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>== Essential Question ==

What impact did religion (Confucainism and Daoism) have on life in ancient China and the world today?


Confucianism was founded by Confucius. He was born in 551 B.C. and lived during the Chou dynasty. At first, Confucius wanted to be involed with the government. He didn't succeed, but dedicated his life to telling people about good moral conduct. Confucius desired to please God. In relation to Confucianism, Confucius said, "A vitrtuous man has three awes: awe for Heaven's decree, awe for great men, and awe for saints' words." After his death, his followers scattered all around the world and spread the word about the religion.

Confucius (illustration from Myths & Legends of China, 1922, by E.T.C. Werner)

In Confucianism, there are several ethical teachings. These are: Li: rituals, propriety, etc., Hsiao: love with in the family (parents love their children and children love their parents), Yi: righteousness, Xin: honesty and trustworthiness, Jen: benevolence, and Chung: loyalty. Jen is the highest Confucian value. It has strong roots in traditional values. It focuses on relationships within the family and a harmonious society, such as parent-child, husband-wife, and ruler-subject.

Daoism, also known as Taoism, dates back to the 6th century B.C.. It is a Chinese religious process that has reverence for the Dao. Daoists believe the Dao is the source for all living things. They believe the point of life is to cuiltivate alignment and attunement with the Dao; meaning they want to become in complete understaing and knowing of the Dao. A virtuous person gets power from being abosrbed in the Dao. Since the Dao is unexplainable, some events are explained as myths and stories. Daoism is split into many sects, each acts for their own goals and accomplishments. One might be a secret organization or another may be involved with embracing elements of magic.

Daoism was founded by Laozi. He was a well renowned philosopher of ancient China. His name literally means "Old Master". Some refer to Laozi as an older contemporary version of Confucius. Legend has it that one day when he was 160 years old, he traveled to a different kingdom and a guard recongized him. The guard asked Laozi to make a record of his wisdom. This was how the legendary Tao Te Ching came into being; it is a record of Laozi's wisdom. It was used as an aid to kingship.


Confucianism is a religion that deals with relationships within the society. The most important one is Jen, or benevolence; it is regarded as the highest Confucian value. Daoism is a religion that is all about reverance for the Dao. The Dao is also known as the "Way". Daoists live to be one with the Dao.


Confucianism and Daoism had an impact on today's society. These two are smaller religions but they helped shape other belief systems. These religions believe in some sort of a heaven or paradise. Their main goal in life is to live a good life and to get to these "paradises". In the Daoists case, they want to be one with the Dao. Other religions in the world, such as Christianity and Islam, believe in living a good life and trying to get to Heaven. Just as Daoists, other religions also want to please a higher being, or God, in their life.


Confucianism and Daoism were two influencial religions in ancient China. Confucius founded Confucianism, and Laozi founded Daoism (Taoism). Confucianists believed in focusing on relationships within the family. Their most important relationship was parent-child, mostly father-son. Daoists believe that they need to be one with the Dao, or the "Way". Daoism is just one religion of many questions that are answered by stories from myths and legends, and by following the Dao. In China today, family relationships are important. The basis for these relationships being important is Confucianism. Their society is very family based, just as it was in ancient China.


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