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Tradition Related to East Asian Political ThoughtResearch Paper

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¶ … tradition of East Asian political thought

Introduction to Confucianism

Confucius, one of the tallest cultural and religious figures of ancient China is credited with originating a way of life that soon took cultural hue of what is since known as Confucianism. The origins of this soci-cultural-legal-religious body of thought can be traced back to the Spring-autumn of a year that lied somewhere in the 770 BC-476 BC period. This philosophy found wide acceptance throughout ancient China through the efforts and support of eminent Philosophers like Mengzhi and Han emperor Wu (Yang, 2014).

This thought that was originally only a social requirement of the times was soon embraced by the masses and was accepted as a legal code of conduct, too. The philosophy reached the farthest reaches of societal strata and expanded spatially, and soon became the cultural mainstream of ancient China (Yang, 2014).

The main ideological stance taken by Confucianism is to be respecting others as well as be appreciative of oneself. The emperors used this philosophy to make a distinction between different social orders and strata as also to create a well-entrenched hierarchical system to effectively remain rulers for generations to come. This however is only one way of looking at Confucianism that was a multifaceted doctrine. The chief precepts of this philosophy preach virtuousness and compassionate learning. Although the social orders have undergone a sea-change, and the modern cultures are hardly recognizable from the ancient ones, the basic tenets of Confucianism are relevant even in the contemporary times, in particular to the financial world (Yang, 2014).

Confucianism, the school of thought proposed mainly by Confucius (the generally accepted notion) was mainly concerned with humanity and universal brotherhood. This philosophy emphasizes on the premise that it is only through adherence to and assimilation of these principles that the individual, through familial, societal, and sovereign relationships can achieve peace and tranquility that is so essential to the cause of a peaceful and stable society. The main drivers of this school of thought were that virtuousness can be propagated and assimilated and wisdom is the foundation, the guiding light for peace (Yao, 2000).

Four dimensions of Confucian Veneration

Confucius went on to develop a whole set of ethics that further explained the philosophy he proposed. The four pillars of Confucianism that then formed the corner stone of this ancient philosophy and the ideological basis of Confucian state were, de (virtue), Ren (humane attributes), li (propriety or the religious rites and acts) and the most important one, Dao (the way) (Yao, 2000).

Ren (humaneness) is love for all concerned; Dao (the way) is acting in accordance with what ought to be done; de (inner power) is the virtue of self-sufficiency, that is independent of any externals means or being; Ren and yi are to be followed strictly as per laid down tenets, whereas de and Dao are flexible tenets of Confucianism that are to be applied with relevance to the spiritual heights attained by the individual. The inherent power in an individual can have either vile or virtuous manifestations.

Way (Dao)

This term is regularly deciphered as "the Way," yet the growing utilization of the Chinese word in modern English causes it to continue using it as it is. In texts of the era of the yore, the expression Dao really has an extensive variety of implications. The most long known manifestations of the diagram for Dao incorporate components demonstrating a foot, a road- junction, and an eye designed with an extravagant eyebrow, a component that is demonstrative to the statement shou?: head (Eno, 2012).

All old schools of philosophy alluded to their teachings as Daos. Confucius and his disciples asserted that they were simply passing on a Dao - the social strategies honed by the sage lords of the past: "the Dao of the previous rulers." Texts in the convention of earlier thought processes believed that came later to be called "Daoist" utilized the statement as a part of a unique sense, which is the reason the Daoist custom is known thus. Daoists guaranteed that the universe itself took after a certain common "path" in its spontaneous activity. They called this the "Extraordinary Dao," and differentiated it from the Daos of different schools, which were human-made preachings, and which they didn't accept justifiable the name Dao in their exceptional sense (Eno, 2012).

The expression "Dao" is frequently connected to Daoism, i.e. A significant contrast to Confucianism yet actually, it is amongst the most vital thoughts in Chinese philosophy. Although Confucians utilize the expression "Dao" to allude to the overall governance guideline of the universe, the term is likewise being utilized to connote other meanings. In a synopsis of the significance of the term 'Dao', Van Norden brought up that [dao] has a few related faculties. (1) The first sense was "path," similar to what is perceived as "way" or "street." It also meant (2) "route," along the meaning of "the right way of doing," or "the request that originates from righteous path," (3) a literal record of an approach of doing things, or "to furnish a literal account," (4) an otherworldly element in charge of the way things actualize (Wong, 2012).

Dao has different precepts; it is simultaneously, beyond material perception, religious, spiritual or karmic, and ethico-political.

Metaphysical connotation of dao:

In its powerful, extraordinary essence, Dao is related with Heaven (Tian). In Confucian thought, Heaven alludes to the universe, and/or as related to Earth (Di) to the surroundings and the physical world. Confucians are of the belief that Heaven is the wellspring of all significance and real worth. Paradise has its own Dao, i.e. The Dao of Heaven or the Heavenly Dao (Tiandao), which is the universal governing principle of all manifestation. In spite of the fact that the definite significance of Heaven is debated in Confucianism, there are two basic precepts. In the profound, religious understanding of Heaven, it is seen as the Supreme Being, who happens to be capable of governance and representation of the material and human world(s). Also, in the holistic understanding of Heaven, it is conceptualized as the nature similar to the Natural Law convention in contemporary European rationality. In any case, Heaven is imagined as a definitive wellspring of normal and balanced view of things (Wong, 2012).

Epistemological connotation of dao:

According to the knowledgeable, learned essence, Dao (Heavenly) is related to the philosophy that manages and rules the universal whole and/or the physical world, it is in a knowledgeable way significant in meaning when related to the righteous path, the way of doing things (Wong, 2012).

Ethico-political connotation of dao:

Finally, the ethico-political essence of Dao should also be clarified. As has been described, normativity is essentiality manifested by Heaven, which comprises of learned behavior of the enlightened, along with ethical, moral and political enlightenment and balance. Since Confucians profess, regard every Dao an incarnation, manifestation of the Heavenly Dao, the principal being of organization and governance of the universe and for man and the society by extension, it follows that Earthly Dao or the Human Dao (RenDao), is also an incarnation or manifestation of the same Heavenly Dao. The Human Dao is the path that humans ought to follow. 7 Here, it becomes important that the unique meaning of the Human Dao relevant to way of life is understood: the Human Dao emphasizes assimilation of virtues (De) though not as understood in normative behavior in material world, because Confucians assume that the virtuous are aware of the good living path. This particular stress on virtues' assimilation in Confucian precept is the accent it puts on the correlation of the heaven and the earthly being - the human. While the Human Dao acquires its essence from the Heavenly Dao, it is erroneous to perceive them as independent, unique identities. In Confucian thought, Heaven and Humanity are characterized by Unification of the two; the human individual is a manifestation or part of the Heaven (Wong, 2012).

This translates into pragmatic meaningfulness that every individual can acquire the essential virtues required of reaching personal aims and goals given that the heavenly endowments make him thus capable. In being natural, individuals realize Dao. The essence, then is to grow from within. It is more appropriate to conceive and perceive the Dao of the humaneness or of the individual because that is how Dao manifests in the societal and familial order as against understanding the Heavenly Dao (Wong, 2012).

Ritual/Propriety (Li)

Ritualistic adherence was a vital feature of the Confucian School. By "ritual," or li, the Confucians meant functions conforming to religious or social grandeur as well as the institutions of Zhou Dynasty political culture and the daily conduct or proper conduct and norms of daily routines. At times rituals meant, in some ways, knowledge of conduct of behavior in elite strata of the society (and knowing them a lot better than those desecrated aristocrats of the subsequent Zhou era), however the actual importance lay in acquiring the finest skills carried out when moving in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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