The teachings of Confucius and the Tao Te Ching are two important schools of thought in China. In Confucius’s Analects, he talks mostly of political and social issues and also speaks about how people must govern by following rules and displaying virtuous qualities such as honesty and integrity. Lao Zi on the other hand talks of how the world has a propensity towards balancing itself and that people should govern by “going with the flow” while the cosmos sort out the events of life. He also mentions that people should have a detachment from many things in life such as material objects. Ultimately, the main difference between the Tao Te Ching and the teachings of Confucius is that the Tao Te Ching says that people should live their life in an ethereal manner by following the forces of nature, whereas Confucius’s teachings have a strict moral code that people must abide by.
Confucius’s teachings tell people how to act by mentioning what character traits they should have and how to take action accordingly. For example, in the analects Confucius says, "He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it” (The Analects, Wei Zheng, 1). Lao Zi on the other hand describes the concept of governing in an entirely different manner. He says that, “Prizing no treasures keeps people from stealing … The sage governs them all” (Tao Te Ching, 2). There is a noticeable difference between the ideas that are presented in the quotes of Confucius and Lao Zi. Confucius talks of ruling others by way of virtue and says that once people see the example being set by a government official, then they will follow it. On a different note, Lao Zi says that people should become detached from worldly things in order to encourage others to follow the rules and instill Te (virtue). The Tao Te Ching and the Confucian analects differ here because