Daoism vs. Confucianism
6. Harmony with the Universal Order.
1. The Tao itself
The sixth century represented a flourishing era for philosophical growth in ancient China. It is in the course of that period that Confucius and Lao-tzu, the two most significant Chinese spiritual figures, are believed to have lived and taught. The philosophies that they adapted, Taoism and Confucianism, coexisted in dynastic China, appealing numerous followers over the last 2,500 years. Although both Taoism, founded by Lao Tzu, and Confucianism, founded by Kong Qiu (Confucius), share numerous similarities and emphasize on self-improvement and salvation, these two philosophies have strong contrasts that I will try to highlight through a comparison of these two traditions based on the Confucius text “Harmony with the Universal Order” and the Taoist “The Tao itself “. The chief variance between Taoism and Confucianism resides in the religious goal of the two philosophies. While Confucianism deals with social matters and seeks order, unity, mutual respect and social harmony, Taoism emphasizes on oneness with the cosmos. In “Harmony with the Universal Order” we notice a repetitive use of the word moral which is the core concept of Confucianism. Indeed, this text written in the form of quotes, teachings and sayings of Confucius indicates the importance of morality, ethics and activism. One famous quote of Confucius says “The superior men are sparing in their words and profuse in their deeds." Which supports the fact that each person should live by virtue and value integrities in all social matters. Confucius emphasizes on brotherhood and compassion and shows his followers the way to learn to be human and attain a structured society. However, Taoism’s main emphasis is on the body and to be one with the nature. This is a religion of union and opposites (Ying and Yang). This philosophy is centered on searching for the ‘meaning’ and...
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