Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism

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Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism constitute the essence of the traditional Chinese culture. The relationship among the three has been marked by both competition and complementation in history, with Confucianism playing a more dominant role. Confucianism emphasized a reiteration of current moral values and Taoism developed a system of based upon a harmonization of man with the natural order. These two popular philosophies, however, developed into popular religions eventually. Besides the major religions, ancestor worship and animism also have strong support in China. Chinese people are very pragmatic, worshipping gods that might answer their prayers.

Confucius (551–479 B.C.) was a Chinese philosopher and founder of the Confucian school of thought, which greatly influenced political and social life in China. His teachings are known primarily through the Analects of Confucius, a collection of "brief aphoristic fragments", which was compiled many years after his death. Although he didn’t write any books, his students did the writing based on his teachings and millions of people still rely on Confucius's philosophy as a guide to live. Until the twentieth century, Confucianism was the state religion of China. Confucius (Master K'ung Ch'iu), His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism or Daoism. Legalism was a third Chinese philosophy, a Classical Chinese philosophy that emphasizes the need for order above all other human concerns. At the other extreme was the philosophy known as Legalism. Proponents of Legalism did not concern themselves with Confucian values of ethical and mor...

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...t object, as well as through the entire universe.

Chinese Buddhism entered China a few centuries after the passing away of the Buddha, at a time when Confucianism and Taoism were the predominant religions in a country that was as a big as a continent and rivaled India in historical antiquity and cultural pluralism. In the early phases of its entry, Buddhism did not find many adherents in China.

Confucianism was the official philosophy of China. Confucius himself was not very interested in the ideas of a God, an afterlife, heaven, and other ideas that we associate with religion. However, when Confucianism became the official philosophy of China, religious functions were incorporated into it. Confucius, together with his ancestors and famous followers, became objects of worship. Confucian temples were built all over China and sacrifices and rituals were performed.
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