Dawn L. Smith
Rev. Dr. David Poland
University of Phoenix
April 23, 2009
Eastern Religion (Confucianism)
During the course of the last five weeks, I have studied several different religions. This included stating what my personal belief system was, Hindu religions, Buddhism religions, and constructing an Eastern religion element matrix and graphic organizer. I have personally discussed with my instructor my views on religion as humanity, history, basic teachings, writings, symbols, and practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shintoism. During this paper, I will attempt to explain the contemporary forms of Eastern religions. I will explain how societal views of spirituality and religion have been influenced by Confucianism in China and Japan and how social and political life has been impacted by Confucianism traditions.
According to Bowker (1997), Confucianism is the dominant ethical influence on the traditional religious and social life of China and Japan. It is derived from the teachings of the sage K’ung Fu-tzu which is known in the West as Confucius. Confucius was a social, ethical reformer, during a time in China of growing disorder. Confucius was indifferent to many traditional religious ideas, but he was a very firm advocate of filial piety and ancestor rites to achieve a strong society. Later Confucius teachings changed into a political and religious system, which was made to design a balance of harmony between heaven, earth, and humanity, this made his work official text.
Confucius had one basic rule, “What you do not want done to you, do not do to others.” He had great inspiration for learning and correct ritual as a form of a good moral education. He looked at heaven as a source for all human kind to have a sense of goodness and correct conduct. He believed that people should look into their past to achieve a better understanding of how they should conduct and behave.
According to Monroe (1995), the one religion that is most closely identified with China is Confucianism. There are a great deal of Chinese people whom know about Confucius and his wise sayings with those moral endings. Historians today fail to report the teachings of Confucius as a religion because his teachings are more from a moral standpoint than religious dogmas. He did not teach his followers about the traditional aspects of religion as they are done today, he focused mainly on laws of the cosmos or heaven. As time went on Confucius teachings and the message he was sending did become a religion. This included the customary attributes of priest, liturgy, rituals, prayers, and worship practices.
Confucius was very motivated; he wanted to seek moral and political reforms for his country and people. He wanted to change the endless series of wars and violence that took over the sixth century B.C. He believed that every human could be born with a natural talent to be good and to have the potential to care and love others, but this was only if they had a good, compassionate leader. He believed that if China was governed by a good moral leader that the country would be a more law-abiding state. Bell & Hahm’s (2003) article, “The Contemporary Relevance of Confucianism”, states that Confucians have long been preoccupied with social and political change. Since Confucius did not have any luck this is why he had settled for a life of teaching. Many generations later, a student in the academic lineage of Confucius’s grandson named Master Meng or Mencius later committed himself to spreading Confucius’s social and political ideas. Just like Confucius, Mencius moved from state to state in search of opportunities to put his political ideals into practice. He succeeded slightly better than Confucius; he served briefly as Minister of the State of Qi, but then became disenchanted with political life and reluctantly settled for a teaching career.
The societal views of...