Essay on East Asian Traditions

The two greatest indigenous religious and philosophical traditions of Confucianism and Daoism originated around the same time in China between the 6th and 5th century BC in an area that currently holds the eastern provinces of Shandong and Henan (Wang, 2014). For around 2,500 years, these two traditions dominated the Chinese cultural landscape. The first significant similarity between these two belief systems or traditions is that they originated from a single individual founder (Esposito et al., 2015). Daoism owes its founding to a mostly obscure figure in the form of Laozi (Wang, 2014b). On the contrary, Confucianism represents the teachings of the famous Confucius. The main difference is that Daoists believe that good leadership requires little action and involvement from the leader, which leaves people with the freedom to live life in a simple manner.

Additionally, their concern for morals, learning, and rituals is limited. In contrast, learning represents one of the most significant priorities for Confucians (Wang, 2014). Despite these differences, the vast majority of thinkers in China have historically studied both philosophies. The logic was that they could benefit and freely use ideas from both in enhancing the betterment of the society. As a result, these two philosophies influenced the cultural landscape greatly.

At the basic level, Daoism is a reflection of the Chinese beliefs regarding the world in which they live. The central symbol of this belief system is the yin and yang symbol. Yin, which reflects the female force is dark, quiet, and calm while its male counterpart Yang is the male and represents the bright, active, and warm aspects of life (Wang, 2014b). Confucianism, which lacks a symbol aims at teaching wisdom and goodness as characterized by adherence to rules with leaders following advice and modeling good behavior.

Despite their dominance on the Chinese cultural and social landscape during historical times, these two philosophies appear to have lost value and prominence in the modern era. The vast majority of the Chinese believe and practice the traditional Chinese religion, which is a blend of Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism rather than the single separate belief systems that characterized the historical times (Esposito et al., 2015). In its evolved form, the traditional Chinese religion is inclusive of a focus on connections or relationships between the physical and spiritual worlds as well as the belief in keeping balance and harmony in these relationships (Esposito et al., 2015). Moreover, it emphasizes adherence to the correct ways for people to relate to each other, nature, and the spiritual forces that characterize and govern the society.

However, some of the essential Confucian teachings that developed in ancient times such as Kong Fuzi’s Analects continue to have a considerable influence on the Chinese cultural landscape even in the modern era. This collection of sayings, which dates back to the year 55 BC forms a substantial part of the Confucian practices adopted by the Chinese in their traditional religion (Esposito et al., 2015). In particular, these sayings emphasize steadfastness, equilibrium, and permanence. Similarly, the Daoist tenets that continue to be a significant part of the Chinese traditional religion in the modern era emphasize harmony with nature, restraint, and diversity. One area in which these two belief systems are emerging to become dominant forces in environmental preservation efforts (Wang, 2014b).

In the midst of ecological degradation, these two philosophies are increasingly becoming active in the preservation of ancient trees, holy sites, and the general state of the environment.

The learning of these concepts was the theme of the current version of teacher’s day, which emphasized the historical evolution of Teacher’s day. The event was particularly insightful due to the presence of teachers and other experts that highlighted the importance of recognizing teachers globally (Esposito 640). These sentiments are echoed by Dr. Lihong Wang who provides some key insights on the reasons for placing teacher’s day at the start of the semester. It provides students and parents with the opportunity of appreciating their teachers and the input they place in aiding the educational success. Teacher’s day also marks the ministry of education’s awarding of accolades to the best performing teachers.

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Esposito, J. L., Fasching, D. J., & Lewis, T. T. (2015). World religions today. Oxford University Press, USA.
Wang L. (2014). Confucianism. Retrieved December 05, 2018, from
Wang L. (2014b). Daoism. Retrieved December 05, 2018, from