Confucianism draws from two principal texts The Mandate of Heaven and the Analects of Confucius. Kong Fuzi (551 – 479 BCE) fathered Confucianism

Confucianism draws from two principal texts The Mandate of Heaven and the Analects of Confucius. Kong Fuzi (551 – 479 BCE) fathered Confucianism which emerged in the sixth century BCE. However, as the political climate of china became turbulent (one refers to the Period of Warring States (403 – 221 BCE), devout disciples such as Mencius (372 – 289 BCE) and Xunzi (298 – 238 BCE) amplified and developed the teachings to fit the problems of the time. As set forth in the Mandate of Heaven, the main Confucian principles are outlined such as ren (benevolence, virtue and humanity), li (propriety, etiquette, and convention), xiao (filial piety, honour and respect in relationships). The Confucian ideal of a junzi connotes the meaning of “gentleman, noble or proper man.” And it defines one “of fixed principles.”(Analects of Confucius)

The Mandate of Heaven marks the transition from the Shang dynasty (1766 – 1122 BCE) to the Zhou dynasty (1122 – 256 BCE). It sanctifies the Shang overthrow by the Zhou on the basis of corrupt practices, immortality, misrule in administration and oppression of one’s subjects. Heaven reserved the right to interpose in human political affairs and ensured order. The criteria to retain these rights were virtue, and integrity. The appointed ruler is designated as the “son of heaven” who serves as a link between heaven and earth. Reversions to immorality made the ruler unfit, thus the Mandate of Heaven was transferred to another. It was through “moral virtue…the spirits of the hills and rivers likewise were in all in tranquility.” This accordance with the stipulations of the Mandate secured harmony, stability, and equilibrium with nature and heaven.

Deceased fathers became consecrated and revered elements of the spirit realm through homage, respect and adherence to tradition. These practices characterized the Chinese society as a static on e where change took hold very slowly. One must “conform to the wisdom of the Ancients,” according to the Mandate of Heaven. Confucius himself asserted that he “had transmitted what was taught without making up anything of my own and been faithful to and loved the Ancients.”(Analects of Confucius)

Formal and ethical education fitted one which the qualities to administer government and to lead in the public sphere. The spotlight on education in Confucianism made it the most apt body to educate young administrative leaders. Han Wudi (141 – 87 BCE), emperor of the former Han dynasty (206 – 9 BCE) selected Confucianism as the curriculum to tutor thousands of civil servants in bureaucracy at the universities of China . This decision came into force 124 BCE and was a boon, as the largest qualified, competent bureaucratic labour force emerged. (Traditions and Encounters pg 195). Order diffuses from the upper echelons to the lowest and so they accentuated political activism as the key to restore order. Further, in China the arts of divination suggest the quest for order and pattern in nature and times.

The spread of Buddhism came about through the personal efforts of monks, and buddhas explaining their doctrine to others.They saw it as their duty to recite, internalize and spread the Buddhist truths. In this excerpt “Buddhism” the setting is in China, the fertile soil where it flourished (since the fourth century C.E.) and expanded exponentially surpassing its place of birth in India. Buddhism promoted high standards of intelligence, and promised a liberation from suffering (nirvana) and the end of eternal life cycles. Adherence to the Dharma or the law and truth of Buddha guarantees nirvana. Buddhism comes from the word “Buddha” which means the “Awakened or Enlightened One” thus we can see the close connection with the quest of wisdom, understanding and enlightenment.

One observes the mention of monastic communities called sangha where life revolves around a highly coveted spiritual education from a Buddha of superior knowledge – knowledge which proceeded from a sutra or buddhist canonical scriptures. Enclaves served as missions to promote the faith. In these holy secluded fortresses, ascetism was a way of life. Buddhists denied themselves of pleasures, indulgence and comfort. One may refer to the monks bearing a robe and carrying a bowl to beg for food.This abstemious lifestyle extended to strict mental discipline where one practiced meditation, concentration and mental control exercises. Through these rigorous disciplines, the buddhist principle of Detachment or Non -attachment is underlined. It was believed that the cause of suffering was the attachment, or desire for fleeting temporal goals.These evils were all rooted in ignorance.