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Paper #1 - Universal Order

Paper #1 - Universal Order - Very often people striving to...

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Very often, people striving to achieve success in a given field will model themselves after a person who is already accomplished in that field. Such is the case with a student learning from a professor. Interestingly, this same principal seems to apply when one begins to study different Asian cultures and the roots of varying doctrines. Few doctrines seem to be completely unique, but rather, a thread of common themes and motifs seem to weave and connect the philosophies of differing cultures. Just as students learn from already accomplished teachers, so too do Asian societies learn and follow examples from previous successful Asian societies and philosophies. In this way, the doctrines of one Asian society will parallel previous successful societies by which they were influenced; forming a common thread of philosophies throughout Asia. We may see these principals played out if we study how early Japanese society was influenced. The main works encompassing the basic philosophies of Japanese society were the Kojiki and the Nihongi, and as these works served as a basic foundation of Japanese society through their explanation of the creation of Earth and the processes of the universe, the writers and compilers were naturally influenced by previous societies and philosophies that proved to be successful. One important source of influence was that of that of the Chinese Han Dynasty, which had a very successful reign and thus served as an obvious good source of influence. However, the Han also looked for a source of influence to model itself after in order to ensure a strong rule. When it came to power, it found influence from a number of sources, including the Daoists and Confucianists; forming a philosophy of universal order and a belief of the necessity of a triad of Heaven, Earth, and Humankind to fulfill this order. Furthermore, the Confucianists were strongly influenced by previous successful rulers, namely Yao and Shun. Thus, the central principal of the Han Dynasty, that of universal order, has aspects that seem to be common themes throughout Asia, stemming from the days of Yao and Shun, preached by
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Confucianists and Daoists, practiced by the Han Dynasty, and branched out to influence the basic doctrines of the Japanese. After the Han proclaimed rule over China in 206 B.C., philosophers (such as Dong Zhongshu) and advisors to the emperor (such as Lu Jia and Yi Jia) attempted to construct a series of doctrines by which the Han could maintain a strong empire. The previous dynasty, the Qin, ruled by a legalist philosophy, and obtained extreme control of the people through fear. However, the Qin Dynasty only lasted 15 years, and the Han very much wanted to establish an empire which would be more successful than that of the Qin. As a result, the early philosophers and advisors of the Han used the Qin as an example of how not to establish rule. Since the Qin had completely disregarded and abandoned Confucianism in their rule, the Han advisors and philosophers naturally went back to Confucianism and the Confucian Classics as a foundation for their doctrines.
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