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Asian Studies: Confucianism and Buddhism in China Essay


The tradition beliefs in China such as Confucianism and Buddhism have played a major role in influencing the political, social, and economical activities in china (Mountunion.edu, 2011).

The following paper will look into various ways in which these two institutions have played towards impacting the culture of the Chinese nation (Mountunion.edu, 2011); but first let us briefly discuss what both Confucianism and Buddhism really entails.

Confucianism is one of the Chinese moral and philosophical system that has been derived from the major teachings and ideas of the Chinese philosopher known as Kong Fuzi, popularly known as “ Master Kong” (Mountunion.edu, 2011).

This particular institution is a very developed system in which all aspects of culture including “social, political and economic, philosophical and quasi religious” have been incorporated in such a way to influence the way of life on some of regions in East Asia (Mountunion.edu, 2011).

Additionally, Confucianism is a very broad institution that has traditionally been spread in Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan among several other countries that Chinese people have inhabited (Mountunion.edu, 2011).

Buddhism on the other hand is one of the main religions in Asia and some part of East Asia that has incorporated multiplicity of traditions and cultural practices which have been greatly influenced by Siddhartha Gautama who is also popularly known as Buddha.

Buddhism has been classified into two major categories, namely; “the school of the elders” (Theravada) and “the great vehicle” (Mahayana) (Ling, 2005). Theravada is much distributed in Southeast Asia while Mahayana is also widely distributed in most parts of East Asia.

However, despite the fact that Buddhism is popularly known in Asia, it also has widely spread all around the world with a population of more than five million followers (Ling, 2005).


Confucius and culture of China

Confucius is arguably said to have been very popular and famous individual who was also much respected in China; because of his great and influential ideas, Confucius therefore happened to be a very prominent individual from early time of 100 BC until the start of 20th Century (Ling, 2005).

Because of his influential personality and his utopian ideas that greatly caused changes of the society to function better and improve tremendously in many sectors, the Chinese administration made it official to honor Confucius as one of the greatest philosopher and for these reasons his theories and ideas have always been highly regarded.

Among the many teaching that Confucius gave his disciples, up to today are always recorded for enlightening and educating other people in China. “The analects” contains variety of educational materials that has always been used in educating Chinese people about morality and literature (Ling, 2005).

Additionally, Confucius lived a life full of honesty and integrity and because of that he was admired by his many followers (Ling, 2005); therefore if his ideas and teaching can be applied in the modern China they can positively contribute to a better Chinese culture.

Due to his great personality, Confucius was also instrumental in influencing issues of religion and those related to slavery. Because of the positive life lived by Confucius, his ideologies made a lot of positive changes to moral issues in the society as well in the field of religion where he contributed significantly in designing religion doctrines that are observed up to date.

Besides, his ideologies also has contributed greatly to abolition of slavery life practices and influenced the civilization by feudalism which exists up to date. Due to his great influence, his ideologies are celebrated today and widely practiced and are now regarded as cultural heritage by the Chinese people.

Confucius and politics of china

Confucianism is not a religion but rather a system of complex ideas and beliefs that’s has influenced the Chinese politics in many ways; due to the great personality of Confucius, his immense ideas and positivist life has remained very influential in the administrative policies of China.

Confucius ideologies for instance has influenced abolition of slavery and creation of feudal governance which have been applied by the Chinese administration to encourage better governance and facilitate improved democracy and more accountability within the government (freehostingguru.com, 2011).

Confucianism political theory which states that, “the legitimate ruler derives authority from heaven’s command, or the mandate of heaven” (Freehostingguru.com, 2011) can be applied in the contemporary society and governance issue to make the people respect authority because it is bestowed by from heaven.

Besides, this ideology influences the way of life of political leaders and since it asserts that leaders should not be motivated by self desires to rule but should instead be bold and charismatic enough for them to be good leaders (Freehostingguru.com, 2011).

Additionally, Confucius argues that people should elect leaders who are role model of the society; this way leaders with integrity can be elected who are able to prevent issues of corruption, promote peace and enhance positive leadership that will promote development as well as motivating the youths who are the leaders of tomorrow (Freehostingguru.com, 2011).

Confucianism and economical influence of China

Confucius was a very prominent person who encouraged people to have ideal morals and be active for well being of the society; in addition, Confucius was an activist who campaigned for “active participation in business” arguing that this was the best way to increase productivity and eradicate poverty (Freehostingguru.com, 2011).

This idea is no doubt very positive to the society and its application can promote economical development to both individuals and the country at large. Additionally, Confucius also advocated that, leaders and rules such as Kings should stop exploiting their citizens but rather utilize them for sustainability which is more important in building the future (Freehostingguru.com, 2011).

This advocacy is equally essential in any society since the issue of sustainability is always meant to ensure better future. Therefore if China can furnish its society with these ideas, there will always sustainable economic growth.

Confucius also believed that a society with large population had better chances of survival than a society with a small population (Freehostingguru.com, 2011). This is because a large population had the ability to generate huge human resource which is very important for economical development and can totally eliminate issues to do with insufficient labor in industries (Freehostingguru.com, 2011).

Today, china is among the most highly populated country in the world and they are also among the most developed economies in the world as well. With this large population, China has been able to fully utilize its population in having more labor in industries that has greatly improved its economic production.

Buddhism and cultural influence in China today

Buddhism was significantly appreciated and was generally accepted by the Chinese people since its invention and it is considered as keystone that led to “chinalization” due to its “open-mindedness” and because of the fact that it became universal among the Chinese people (Ling, 2005). For this reasons, Buddhism is popular followed in China and has contributed to the growth of the Chinese culture up to date.

Upon its introduction, Buddhism contributed very much to improvement of the Chinese literature and art from the onset. During these early times, Buddhist attitude towards literature was positive resulting in tremendous growth of literature which made it become popular among the Chinese people.

Indeed, Buddhism ideologies and theories have been very influential in improving Chinese literature and application of these ideologies can be very effective in development of resourceful, unique and stylish literature.

In addition, Buddhist also contributed to growth of art because of its influential music such as “Buddhist chant” which became very popular upon introduction of Buddhism religion (Ling, 2005). Therefore, adoption and application of this kind of music by the Chinese people can contribute to diversification of their culture since music is an

important aspect of Chinese custom (Ling, 2005). Furthermore, Buddhists do not eat meat due to their belief that animals are specials creatures and for this reason Buddhist are strictly vegetarians.

Today, there are so many diseases which have come about as a result of poor eating habits especially that are caused by consumption of red meat; this means that acceptance of this culture can positively influence the society towards healthier eating and thereby prevent diseases such as cancer and diabetes among others.

Besides, vegetables are healthy food components and very nutritious; unlike meat, vegetables contribute to strong body immunity system.

Buddhism and politics of china

Additionally, Buddhism believes very much in social action (Pannasha, 2011); therefore in a society full of corruption and poor leadership, Buddhism advocates for socials actions as a way of addressing social injustices. According to Buddhism, society should be managed in justice manner and without this, people should be ready to advocate for their freedom and liberty in their country.

The idea of mass action is resourceful to the Chinese people in fighting for their rights whenever oppressed or even deprived by their government (Pannasha, 2011).

According to Buddhism, there are three major source of misery in the society, namely; “greed, delusion and hatred” (Pannasha, 2011); these three major issues also happen to be the tenets of capitalist system.

According to Buddhist, such practices should not be allowed to dominate the politics of any ideal society and the only solution is social actions so as to eradicate such malpractices in the society for a better and civilized country. These ideas are essential towards social change and applicable in China politics in driving of the necessary social change (Pannasha, 2011).

Buddhism influence on economy of china

Buddhism is not only good in advocating for culture and politics, but it has some positive implications in terms of economical development as well. Arguably, Buddhism is popularly known for campaigning against poverty and unequal wealth distribution in the society which had served to promote equality in the economy.

Basically, there are three major principles in Buddhism religion which extensively describes the right steps towards achieving economical development and which can be applicable in China and the world at large for economical development.

These three principles are; Utthana Sampada, Arakkha Sampada, and Samajivikata and are very essential to economical stability and development as discussed below (Pannasha, 2011).

Uttahana Sampada is the first principle which also refers to “production of wealth through skilled and earnest endeavor” (Pannasha, 2011); this principle primarily highlights that there are six major areas that any community should really focus in order to develop economically.

However, among the six, there are three major categories which are very essential in enlightening the society for economical development; these are “agriculture, trade and government services” which are described as the most important with Buddhism emphasizing more on agriculture since it is the cornerstone of the economy for food production (Pannasha, 2011).

The Arakkha Sampada, is the second principle which put emphasize on “saving and protection” (Pannasha, 2011); according to this principle, the only formula to being successful in terms of economical development is through proper savings and investing in sectors that promote national economy and also by effective utilization of the national resources for sustainability in the society.

Buddhist also encourage giving of loans that empower individual persons or State and thereby promote their economical growth (Pannasha, 2011). The third principle known as Sanmjivikata, advocates for individuals, private sectors and the State to live within their means (Pannasha, 2011); this formula according to the ideologies of Buddhism is the most important in reducing over spending or under spending which consequently causes unequal distribution of resources resulting to poverty.

As such, Buddhist argues that it is only right for individuals to live within their means by spending right percentage of their income which is “neither too much nor too little” (Pannasha, 2011).

These three principles are no doubt the most influential in sustainability and development of many world economies in the world today and the basic principle of attaining financial stability. This means that application of this idea in the contemporary society could be a solution to economic issues of many people.


Ling, H. 2005. Buddhism in China. Beijing. China intercontinental pres Freehostingguru.com ,2011. Confucianism. [Online] (Updated 2009) Available at:

Mountunion.edu. (2011). Buddhism Vs Confucius. [Online] (Updated 2011) Web.

Pannasha, V. 2011. The Buddhist Way to Economic Stability. [Online] (Updated 2011) Available at:

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1. IvyPanda. "Asian Studies: Confucianism and Buddhism in China." June 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/asian-studies-3/.


IvyPanda. "Asian Studies: Confucianism and Buddhism in China." June 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/asian-studies-3/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Asian Studies: Confucianism and Buddhism in China." June 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/asian-studies-3/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Asian Studies: Confucianism and Buddhism in China'. 11 June.

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