Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism


• Based on the teaching of Kong Fu Zi, who was called Confucius by Europeans
• Focused on proper conduct, respect for elders, education, and hard work
• Confucius taught that life would be harmonious if everyone was loyal, courteous, honest, and faithful
• Children show absolute respect for authority
• Rulers need to live by strong virtues and set a good example for society to be harmonious

• Based on the teaching of Laozi
• Humans should see themselves a part of nature
• People should live a simple life in harmony with nature
• Harmony comes from balancing opposite forces of nature, called yin and yang

• Based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha
• Buddha means “enlightened one”
• Buddhism brought to China by Buddhist monks traveling along the Silk Road

Four Noble Truths

1.All life is suffering and pain
2. Suffering and pain are caused by desire for wealth, pleasure, fame, or power
3.To end suffering, one must overcome desire
4.To overcome desire, one must follow the Middle Way

The Middle Way
• The Middle Way teaches compassion for all living things, which leads to calmness and purity of mind
• Karma
–– Any action--physical, verbal, or mental. Destiny, which is caused by past actions, from this life and past lives.
• Reincarnation – when a person dies, the soul is reborn in a new body
• Nirvana – First goal in life is to attain nirvana, the state of having no desires. When one attains nirvana, he or she breaks the cycle of birth and death and no longer is reincarnated into a life of suffering
• One way to attain nirvana is through meditation.

Critical Thinking Questions:

In your own words, what do the statements mean?

Who do you think said it, the Buddha, Confuscius, or Laozi? Explain your answer with a fact from above.

1. "Like a spider caught in its own web is a person driven by fierce desires. Break out of the web, and turn away from the world of sensory pleasures and sorrow."

2. "If a ruler himself is honest, all will go well without orders. But if he himself is not honest, even though he gives orders they will not be obeyed."

3. "Deal with difficult tasks while they are easy. Act on large issues while they are small."

4. "No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see. "

5. "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

6. "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

7. "He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind."

8. "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.