Background of Daoism and Confucianism in China and its Influences
Confucianism has been very essential in the preservation of the Chinese civilization. It is embodied by the teachings of Confucius and Mencius, supported by the followers until the modern ages. The Neo-Confucianists of the Sung and the Ming periods instilled some teachings of Daoism’s naturalism (Wen-shun, p. 123) Confucianism shaped the national character of what we know as the China of today. It has also permeated the aspect of the society which involves family, arts and literature, and all the virtues of human relationship.
All that embraces the Confucian teachings worked in two ways. It affected the ideologies and way of thinking of the writers who still follow the tradition, and even those who are not into it.
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Daoism took over the disordered state of the country, where there is man’s disappointments in his personal life, which can be associated to worldliness. On the other hand, Confucianism came victorious in times of tranquility and success (Wu-Chi, 1990, p. 4) The western beliefs contribute to the deviation of the anti-Confucian literary artists who influence a lot the people of China.
Even the normal people of the modern times instill to them the reasons of not inclining themselves anymore on the Confucian dogma. Because of these western influences, the influence exerted by Confucianism in modern China has gone lower dramatically. The promotion of science in modernization, together with the growth of democratic thoughts made Confucianism unsuitable to modern China (Wen-Shun, 1992, p. 200). Still, many political thinkers agree, like for example, Ch’en, that dealing with modernization does not require involvement of the western or any foreign ideas.
China’s modern world has increasing debates whether the influence of Confucianism has a negative impact on the country’s economic development. Confucianism teaches that the profit orientation of a government or a society negates virtue, which is emphasized by capitalism. Confucius continues in his articulation against the capitalistic China that he would not engage himself on such wrongdoings even if it is for the betterment of the society (Killion, 2006, p. 32). Daoism thrives on achievement of perfection against the politics of imperial administration (Woodhead, 2001, p.93).
Perfection is equated to immortality; the ‘dao’ or ‘The Way’ being the force of the universe where people are inclined to be one to it. Dao is a metaphysical, at the same time, philosophical conception, which is synonymous to the ‘nature’ being used by the Greeks. The meaning creates thinking about generation and regeneration which controls the existence of things in the moral influence. In Confucianism, the principle of the ‘heavenly order’ is emphasized, while in Daoism, it is only ‘The Way’ itself.
Daoism created a number of hermetic traditions. In addition to it, the traditions of the lay liturgy have also been influenced. The highlight of their teachings is on the exorcism and healing. Under the emperors, these teachings were approved, and have turned from a heart of texts to a canon law. The presence of Daoism in the China today does not articulate optimistic speculation that the age-old Daoism has come back in the modern China. They have no doubt that it is still the Daoism in the past that revolves around China in the modern times.
There is a struggle against the anti-religious policies and government officials who create misinterpretations of the Daoism dogma. The Chinese local culture has been influenced by Daoism, that it lives in every home. The negative aspect is that the local policies and the openness of controlling these local policies control the balance regarding the religion’s existence. Even so, Daoism influence the school systems and the medical systems in China that leads them to the road of modernization (Pui-tak, 2006, p. 47). It still lives in the rural areas of China, although many Daoists are being oppressed by the government.