Daoism vs. Confucianism
The author of this report is asked to compare and contrast Daoism (also commonly known as Taoism) with the focus being on the contrast. Indeed, the two belief and philosophy structures are quite different but they also have some strong similarities. Those facets and components that are the same will be enumerated throughout this text. The two writing styles follow common themes but are presented differently. Confucian writing was all second-hand and primarily focused on how to be the right kind of person. Taoism/Daoism focused on how society should be organized in the context of an agrarian setting (Diffen, 2013)(USHistory.org, 2013).
The first similarity between Daoism and Confucianism that the author of this report would bring out is the fact that they both have clergy. The clergy take on different names. Confucianism clergy are called sages, bureaucrats and so forth. Daoism clergy are called priests, monks and nuns. Even so, they both clearly have a clergy structure. Second, the country of origin for both Daoism and Confucianism is China. Similarly, both of the belief structures came to be at roughly the same time period in the last few centuries C.E. Both belief structures were created on or around 550 BCE (Diffen, 2013)(USHistory.org, 2013).
Both Confucianism and Daoism include the practice of going to temples or other holy sites to pay homage to different Gods or parties. There is a bit of a difference in that Taoists focus on paying homage to Taoist deities while Confucians pay homage to Ti’en (God or Heaven), Confucius himself and/or the involved ancestors. Both Confucians and Confucius believe in at least one god The difference is that Confucians believe in “one god” (in the deist sense) while the Taoists believe in multiple gods with the highest being the Jade Emperor and the Three Pure Ones (Diffen, 2013)(USHistory.org, 2013).
In both Confucianism and Daoism, the follow of either of those groups is called a Follower. In the case of Confucianism, a person is commonly referred to as a Follower of Confucius. As for Taoism, a follower of Daoism/Taoism is called a follower of the Tao or “the way.” Both Confucianism and Taoists make use of or are allowed to use statues and pictures as part of their belief structure and practice. Another strong similarity between Taoism and Confucianism is that both belief structures, since their inception more than two millennia ago, have sprung out several branches and arcs not unlike the Christian and Jewish faiths. Branches of Confucianism include neo-Confucianism, Han Confucianism, contemporary Confucianism, Japanese Confucianism, Vietnamese Confucianism, and Singapore Confucianism. Branches of Taoism or Daoism include philosophical Daoism, religious Daoism, Folk Daoism, Chen Tao, Ascended Masters and so forth (Diffen, 2013)(USHistory.org, 2013).
As for life after death, both Taoism and Confucianism believe in some sort of elevated state after death. Confucians are worshipped by subsequent followers as an ancestor while Taoists believe that their soul survives after death and they have the ability to fly through space after entering that state. Both Confucianism and Daoism have some sort or rites, although they are called different things. With Confucians, they make use of ceremonies while Taoists make use of shamanism. Another similarity is that both Confucianism and Taoism have no belief in angles at all. Both Confucianism and Taoism use temples as places of worship (Diffen, 2013)(USHistory.org, 2013).
Both Confucianism and Taoism believe in faith and rigid belief as being a means of attaining salvation. Both groups have one or more precepts that must be believed in and followed rigidly to attain salvation. Confucianism references Li (ritual, property and etiquette), Hsiao (love between parents and children), Yi (righteousness), Xin (honesty), Jen (benevolence) and chung (loyalty to one’s state). The Taoists fall under the tao in general as a means of salvation (Diffen, 2013)(USHistory.org, 2013).
Both Confucianism and Taoism speak clearly on the status of women, although it is often not positive. Confucianism clearly asserts that women are inferior to men. With Taoists, it varies a lot based on the sect or school, but some treat women quite highly while others hold them in lower regard. Both groups make heavy reference to philosophical and religious principles. Confucianism focuses on respect, humanism and honor. Daoism focuses on compassion, moderation and humility. Both groups view a marriage, or at least “social order” between a man and a woman, as being the natural order of things (Diffen, 2013)(USHistory.org, 2013).
Neither Confucianism nor Taoism believes in the second coming of Christ. Confucianism disregards it outright while Daoism believe instead that Lao Tzu will return to earth in a new form. However, one interesting thing is that while Daoism clearly had reservations about the over-done structure of Confucianism, neither group’s followers and beliefs bans the adherence of the followers to other oriental faiths. Both groups have distinctive robes that they wear and both groups believe in the good of humanity at one level or another, with Confucianism focusing on brotherhood in humanity and Taoists believe that life is good. They also have a singular goal, Confucianism believing in having a structured society while Taoists believe in being one with nature. They both have a distinct belief in the nature of man, in that Confucianism believes in respecting authority while humans should instead give the most credence to the Tao (or “the way”) (Diffen, 2013)(USHistory.org, 2013).
Both groups have “three jewels” that are followed. With Confucianism, it is the Three Teachings, those being Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. With Taoism, the beliefs are more abstract and non-specific to a given religion, as it focuses on compassion, moderation and humility. Both groups honor the Chinese New Year and both groups follow the Ancestor Day holiday. Both of the religions were originally spoken and written in Mandarin and Cantonese. Both religions are practiced in both a religious and in a philosophical sense (Diffen, 2013)(USHistory.org, 2013).
Both Confucianism and Taoism specifically allows for and permits the following of Buddha as a deity. Neither Confucianism nor Taoism believe in prophets but they both believe in philosophers. Atheists can be followers of both Confucianism and Taoism. Both are oriental religions and neither one of them are Abrahamic religions. When someone follows Confucianism and at least one other religion, that other religion is often (if not usually), Taoism. The same is true in reverse. Neither group pays any credence or honor to the Pope, the Virgin Mary of Christian beliefs or the Dalai Lama (Diffen, 2013)(USHistory.org, 2013).
As is clear from the above, Taoism and Confucianism follow many of the same belief structures and facets. At the same time, they are quite different yet the two groups’ adherents often overlap quite a bit because both clearly allow their own followers to also follow the other group. Perhaps the main reason for this is that they overlap between the two belief structures is quite similar and compatible. Indeed, the arc of the groups continues to this day (Diffen, 2013)(USHistory.org, 2013).
Diffen. (2013, October 7). Confucianism vs. Taoism – Difference and Comparison | Diffen. Diffen – Compare Anything. Diffen. Discern. Decide.. Retrieved October 7, 2013, from http://www.diffen.com/difference/Confucianism_vs_Taoism
USHistory.org. (2013, October 7). Taoism and Confucianism — ” Ancient Philosophies [ushistory.org]. USHistory.org. Retrieved October 7, 2013, from http://www.ushistory.org/civ/9e.asp
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