The Notion of Harmony in Confucianism and Taoism At one point in our lives we are all in search of true harmony in many aspects of our lives. For thousands of years and to present day cultures around the world have been in search for harmony in every aspect of the their lives. The Chinese cultures and followers of Confucianism and Taoism have long defined the essence of harmony. Though in many ways they are different I found there is an ultimate goal in both, which is equilibrium in a societal role, piety in all rituals, compassion, and that everyone has a purpose.
Confucius’ view on harmony is honored in China as a great age of antiquity who’s writings promoted peace and harmony and good morals in family life and society in general. The Doctrine of the Mean lines out Confucius’s definition of a state of harmony perfectly reading, While there are no stirrings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or Joy, the mind may be said to be in the state of Equilibrium. When those feelings have been stirred, and they act in their due degree, there ensues what may be called the state of Harmony.
This Equilibrium is the great root from which grow all the human actings in the world, and this Harmony is the universal path which they all should pursue. Confucius) Confucius was mostly interested in how to bring upon societal order and harmony. He believed that humankind would be in harmony or balance with the universe if everyone understood their position in society and were taught behaviors and responsibilities of their position.
He also believed that social order was threatened whenever people failed to act according to their prescribed roles in society. An example of Confucius philosophy on social roles and positions is Filial Piety. Confucius believed that Filial Piety is necessary for benevolence and is the root to all ethically moral decisions Chen 2013. ) Filial Piety is applicable in social rituals as well family rituals. Within family relationship the husband may be over the wife where as the husband and wife together are parents, which are both over the child.
Another form of filial piety is respecting and understanding ones role under ancestors of older generations who have passed on. Ritualized reverence for one’s ancestors, sometimes referred to as ancestor worship, has been a tradition in China since at least the Shang Dynasty (1750-1040 B. C. ). In society rituals it is expect for students to respect teachers and chool administrators because they are the leaders.
Confucius and Laozi were comparable in believes that they both taught on a form of piety within spirituality and finding a balance within all roles or rituals in life. However Laozi’s definition of balance is the existence of both good and evil working together. An example of Laozi’s definition is given in chapter 42 of the DaodeJing Tao produces one One produces two Two produce three Three produce myriad things Myriad things, backed by yin and embracing yang Achieve harmony by integrating their energy wnat tne people OlsllKe Are alone, bereft, and unworthy
But the rulers call themselves with these terms So with all things Appear to take loss but benefit Or receive benefit but lose What the ancients taught I will also teach The violent one cannot have a natural death I will use this as the principal of all teachings (Laozi) Though it may sound controversial to state the balance or equilibrium are good and evil working side to side, Laozi’s philosophy is that what may appear as a loss to many may be a benefit. Taoism’s roles of harmony defined in a human-nature relationship are the connection between the growth and decay process of nature to that of the human itual of birth to death.
The second stanza of chapter 16 of the DaodeJing describes that ‘Everything flourishes; each returns to its root (Laozi)’ meaning from where you came you shall return. In the same stanza Laozi directs a creature, either human or nature, can achieve tranquility when it is returned to it’s roots, or beginnings, and to achieve tranquility is returning to one’s nature and finding constancy, and once the being has reached constancy it has achieved clarity. In studying the definition of both Confucius and Taoist views of harmony, there is notion that stays consistent in each one, which is that everyone has a role and a purpose.
Both philosophers also are comparable to the concept of compassion and kindness. Confucius defines a gentleman and in being a gentleman, he states there is to be love for man, for beauty and for learning, to say the least, which all defines compassion. Laozi and Confucius also are comparable on the topic of forgiveness. Confucius Analects mentions that a gentlemen is one who would forget about another man’s debt while Laozi states in similar terms ‘But don’t hold people accountable (Laozi).
Both ideals of Confucius and Laozi show terms that would lead to believe that to settle differences, allows resentment to disappear, and this is virtue (Chen 2013). ‘ Nisbett points out Greek society had a ‘sense of curiosity about the world’ and had a ‘sense of agency fueled by debate (Nisbett). ‘ Greeks were intrigued about nature and speculated about the world they are apart of, always in search of why or when, rather than living in the ‘what is’ like Chinese culture.
As Chapter 71 of Laozi’s DaodeJing states in its first line, ‘To know that you do not know is highest’ hows that Taoism does not focus energy on the unknown. But Laozi contradicts himself, comparing chapter 71 to chapter 16 by exploring the concept of achieving clarity in chapter 16 through the process of returning to ones beginnings, therefore thinking deeply into where one began its life, this I feel contradicts the first line of chapter 71 . Harmony is a goal in everyone’s life in one shape or form whether or not everyone admits to it or not.
Yet every person’s culture and individual ideal of balance and equilibrium varies. Present day we have a contemporary definition of hat we call peace, which has the same definition of what Laozi and Confucius define as narmony. our present clay oennltlon 0T peace encompasses ana extends Deyona family traditions to a large spectrum of societal rituals. Take the “American Dream” as an example, it means for a person, regardless of origin, it is possible for one to own his or her own property as well as have the opportunity to an education whether public or private as well as a career in a competitive Job market.
This ‘dream’ to many may mean peace within their family and themselves, and once that this ‘dream’ is ccomplished is then that they can experience true harmony. Another example of modern day harmony is balance of love, career, and success. But this very much depends on a person’s culture and familial economics. Familial economics meaning we all have a different value of the dollar because our familys economic stability may outline the items what we personally value. My family and I are in a constant search of tranquility and harmony.
The constant search allows us to embrace our roles in our immediate family as well as our roles to our close family members so that we may all work on achieving a permanent constant harmony. Currently my immediate family that consists of my two children and husband, have become so used to my school schedule that it has become a ritual for certain chaos to exist in our lives because it balances out all of our roles especially that of my schooling, work, and mother role.
However when I reach the point of graduation and go on to the next step of achieving a career that is what I have studied, that will be harmony because it was a goal from the beginning of my education. Finally reaching a new ritual within our family where I am still mother, wife, but no longer student and have a constant ranquility within my reaching my goal this to my family will be constant harmony. My family is a living example of Laozi’s chapter 17.
At the same time we are constantly practicing Confucius’ philosophy of filial piety because within our family we have roles and responsibilities that need to be respected and understood for our family to achieve harmony in our daily rituals. Works Cited Chen, Dr. Xiang. “Confucius: Being a gentlemen. ” Chinese Philosophy. California Lutheran University. 24, September 2013. Lecture. Confucius, and D. C. Lau. The Analects (Lun Y??). Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979. Print. Confucius, James Legge, and James H. Ford.
The Teachings of Confucius: The Analects, The Great Learning, The Doctrine of the Mean. El Paso, TX: El Paso Norte, 2005. print. ” Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, ed. Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook. 2nd ed. New York: Free Press, 1993. Print. Revised and Expanded. Laozi. Accurate Translation of the Tao Te Ching. ” Accurate Translation of the Tao Te Ching. Trans. Derek Lin. Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, SkyLight Paths, 2006. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.. Nisbett, Richard. The Geography of Thought: How Asian and Westerners Think Differently… and Why, Chapter 1. Free Press, 2003