Confucianism and Taoism

A comparative analysis of the philosophies of Confucianism and Taoism.

This paper examines the history and foundation of the Eastern religions, Confucianism and Taoism. It looks at how they are considered natural complements to each other, despite the superficial differences since Taoism grounds Chinese sensibilities, while Confucianism elevates it to treatment and relationships to others. It also discusses how human life is an important aspect of both Confucianism and Taoism, although for differing reasons, and how moral codes, ethics, and personal integrity are central to Confucianism and how, in Taoism, talent, inner spirit, style, and temperament rule the actions and subjects.
“In China, people are schooled in the idea that every action a person takes affects another person. The Confucian claim is that “apart from human relationships there is no self. The self is a center of relationships” (Smith 1991). But there is a sense of individual self in Confucian terms because the “call to self-examination and introspection generally shows that he not only recognized an interior side to the self but considered it important” (Smith 182). Confucius felt that a person who tried to be a chun tzu was a happier person. When we behave in a way that benefits others, we are happier. Human relationships are fulfilling when we become fully realized human beings or chun zu. (Christianity, Judaism and Islam believe that we cannot do this alone and need God’s help to do it.”