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Unformatted text preview: C H A P T E R 6 DAOISM AND CONFUCIANISM The unity of opposites While India was giving birth to Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, three other major religions were developing in East Asia. Daoism and Confucianism grew largely in China, and later spread to Japan and Korea; Shinto was distinctively Japanese. These religions have remained associated primarily with their home- lands. In this chapter we will explore the two that developed in China from simi- lar roots but with different emphases: Daoism and Confucianism. Shinto will be the subject of Chapter 7. Buddhism also spread to East Asia, and its practice has often been mixed with the native traditions. In East Asia, religions that will be treated as separate entities in this chapter and the next are, in fact, more subtly blended and practiced. Daoism and Confucianism, though they may seem quite opposite to each other, co-exist as complementary value systems in East Asian societies, and a persons thought and actions may encompass both streams. In this chapter we will be transliterating Chinese words according to the con- temporary Pinyin system, which has replaced the older Wade-Giles system. Thus Daoism is the Pinyin transliteration; Taoism was the earlier Wade-Giles tran- scription of the same word. When terms are first introduced in this chapter, the Wade-Giles equivalentwhich is still found in many English bookswill be given in parenthesis. Ancient traditions Chinese civilization is very old and continuous. By 2000 BCE , people were living in settled agrarian villages in the Yellow River Valley, with a written language, musical instruments, and skillful work in bronze, silk, ceramics, and ivory. The spiritual ways of this early civilization permeate all later religious developments in China, Korea, and Japan. One major feature is the veneration of ancestors. The spirits of deceased ancestors remain very closely bonded to their living descen- dants for some time. Respect must be paid to themespecially the familys found- ing ancestor and those recently deceasedthrough funerals, mourning rites, and then continuing sacrifices. The sacred rituals are called li . They are essential because the ancestors will help their descendants, if treated with proper respect, or cause trouble if ignored. I S B N :- 5 3 6- 9 8 8 1 1- Living Religions, Sixth Edition, by Mary Pat Fisher. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright © 2005 by Pearson Education, Inc. DAOISM AND CONFUCIANISM 177 Ancient Traditions CONFUCIANISM c.551479 Life of Confucius c.390305 Life of Meng Tzu c.340245 Life of Xunzi Confucian scholars suppressed, books burned Confucian Classics used as basis of civil service exams Buddhism reaches peak, then is persecuted....
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