Chinese Traditions - Taoism and Confucianism
Developed in China and then later spread to Japan and Korea. Taoism and Confucianism may seem opposite to each other but they complement the value systems in East Asian Societies, plus a person's thoughts and actions can encompass both streams. Taoism is adored by Westerners who seek a carefree, natural way of life as an escape from the industrial rat race. Underneath the look for a simple life, Taoism lives in harmony with nature, which is a tradition of great mental and physical discipline. Taoism also includes both efforts of aligning oneself with the unnameable original force, and ceremonial worship of deities from the Jade Emperor to the Kitchen God. In China, custom attributes the publicizing of the ways to the Yellow Emperor, supposedly ruled from 2967 to 2597 BC. The Yellow Emperor was supposed to have been taught by an ancient sage, he studied meditation, health, and military practices based on what he learned. After he had ruled for hundreds of years, he then ascended to heaven on a dragon's back and become one of the immortals. The austere practice of the Taoist is to use the energy available to the body in order to intuitively perceive the order of the universe. We have within our bodies, the spiritual micro universe of the 'three treasures'. These consist of the Generative for (Ching), Vitality (Ch'I) and spirit (Shen).
2000 years, Taoism, Buddishm, Confucianism has co-existed in China. The Chinese honoured Kung-Fu-tzu ('Master K'ung') (551-479BC) and they called his teachings Juchiao ('the teachings of the scholars'). This philosophy became highly influential in China and it still permeates the society even though they have been great political changes. Confucianism concentrates on the way that people can live together in harmony and to develop a just and orderly society.
The virtues of Confucius included that he felt he could save society was jen. The translation of this meaning for this is; love, benevolence, perfect, virtue, innate goodness, humaneness and human-heartedness. It was said that one who is devoted to jen is one who is not motivated by personal profit, but of that which is moral. Jen is the combination of 'two' and 'person'. Confucius emphasized relationships which are the interactions between father and son, older and younger siblings, husband and wife, older and younger friend. Ruler and subject. Within these relationships it is thought the first is considered superior to the second. The Rulers model themselves on Heaven, serving as a parent to the people, and in turn linking then to the larger cosmic order through ritual ceremonies. Confucius said that this was the source of the greatness of Yeo (a sage king of c.2357 BC) 'It is Heaven that is great and Yao who modelled himself upon it'.