Essay on Syncretism in Chinese Thought: Unifying Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  613 Words
Date:  2023-01-13

Syncretism of Chinese thought combined elements of Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. The philosophical schools were not clear in Chinese boundaries and heritage. It had been argued that these more diverse schools were derived from the unified tradition of the past and had a common root in their teachings (Jang, 87). The theoretical debate and practical communication needs between the different schools paved the way for philosophical syncretism.

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Buddism success mainly depended on Daoism. For the Chinese people to be able to comprehend the Buddhism concept, they had to borrow ideas from the Daoist. Daoist had expanded their ideas on the ways to structure their monastic orders and also the cosmos (Jang, 87). Teaching their tradition was made more accessible by Buddhist gaining the lexicon. The emperor supported the ordinary people in whatever they did. This made Buddhism become a popular school of thought for the Chinese people. Daoism popularity and political had dropped since people wanted to embrace change, and the emperor had banned it.

The Daoism gained popularity between 200 and 700 AD (Stovpets,55). In this period, other practices and rituals were born. Like any other school of thought, they faced a lot of competition from Buddhism (Jang, 87). This philosophy was brought to China by missionaries and business people. They were mainly from India. According to Buddhist, life was not about suffering; instead, it was about having a happy experience (Jang, 87). When it came to the official religion in the imperial court, the Buddhist and the Daoist always fought. During the Tang dynasty, Daoism was made the official religion. This religion was later replaced by Buddhism when other dynasties took over. The Daoist wanted to obtain Yuan court, but they lost after the Buddhists held a series of discussions. This occurred between 1258 and 1281 (Stovpets, 55). When the Daoist lost, their temples were destroyed. This incident happened during the Cultural Revolution. Later during the economic reforms, most of the temples were restored, including the Daoist temples. In the past 2000 years, Daoism has influenced Chinese culture.

Confucianism was the cornerstone of Chinese culture. Confucius created it. The philosophy was always based on the traditional culture that was created by the Shang, Xia, and Zhou dynasties. This philosophy was dominant during the Han Dynasty. This is because the founder was so indifferent when it came to the issues of creation (Stovpets, 55). The philosophy was then later banned by Quin Shi human. During Quin reign, freedom of speech was banned. The reason for the integration of these schools was due to political favors. Different dynasties always supported a particular school of thought because it may have created a political milestone during their reign (Stovpets, 55). The emperors banned any philosophical thought that was against their political ambitions. The emperor did not support thoughts that were against the oppression of the poor. Those school of thoughts that were against them, such as those that were against the oppression of the poor were banned.

The transition of the school of thoughts was not easy since the different school of thoughts had to borrow some ideas from other philosophies. This shows that convincing people was not an easy way. The other thing was the support of the leaders. This made it easy for the school of thought to be popular. Therefore, each school of thought had a particular period that was popular and later fell due to competition from other philosophers.

Works Cited

Jang, Jeong-tae. "Syncretism Of Korean Buddhism And Folk Beliefs". Korean Thought And Culture, vol 96, 2019, pp. 87-121. The Society Of Korean Thought And Culture, doi:10.31037/ktac.96.4.

Stovpets, Oleksandr. "Chinese Legal-Philosophic Syncretism And Its Influence To Value Orientations Of The Chinese Society". Skhid, vol 0, no. 1(159), 2019, pp. 55-60. Ukrainian Center For Cultural Studies, doi:10.21847/1728-9343.2019.1(159).157856.

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Essay on Syncretism in Chinese Thought: Unifying Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. (2023, Jan 13). Retrieved from

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