The name "Confucius" is a Latinized version of "Kong
Fuzi," meaning "Master Kong." Kong Qiu (551-479 BCE) taught
a system of moral wisdom that would become a predominant social
force in China,
from the second-century BCE until the mid-twentieth-century
BCE. Confucianism does not teach as a central doctrine
that a God or gods should be worshipped, or that there is a
life after death; it has no priesthood, but it does embrace
a system of ritual.
central doctrine of Confucianism
is ren, which means goodness, benevolence, humanity,
and kind heartedness. Related teachings include loyalty, respect
and consideration, propriety, reciprocity, neighborliness, and
love. The major work about Confucius is the Analects.
interpreters of Confucian doctrine have included Mengzi
(or Mencius, 4th cent. BCE), and Xunzi (3rd cent.
BCE). Neo-Confucianism emerged in about 1000 CE under Zhu
Xi and Wang Yangming. Confucianism has been known
to the Western world only since the late 16th century. Taoism
(or Daoism) refers to "the way" - an inner, spiritual
liberation based in retreat from the world and from conventional
perspectives and values. Daoism is both a philosophy and a religion.
The Dao is seen as a first principle - an indeterminate
source from which all things become determinate. A Daoist seeks
harmony with nature, not with the contentions and troubles
of human civilization. He or she "sit and forgets" the senses;
the mind is to be emptied of the knowledge of all things - especially
the self. Daoism is a way of naturalness, simplicity, and spontaneity.
two major ancient Daoist texts are Laozi (also
called Daodejing) and Zhuangzi;
both are named after their purported authors. The texts and
over 1,000 additional volumes of scripture comprise the Daoist
canon, called Daozang. Important interpreters
of Daoist teachings have been Wang Bi (3rd cent, CE),
Guo Xiang (3rd - 4th cent. CE), and others including
the Heavenly Masters sect (2nd cent. CE under
Zhang Ling), and later Perfect Truth sect.
Daoism has become better known in the West only since 1937.