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Influence Buddhism, Legalism And Daoism Had On Politics In Ancient China (Essay Sample)


Write an essay on the influence Buddhism, Legalism and Daoism had on Politics in Ancient China

The influence of religion in ancient China
The influence of Buddhism, Legalism and Daoism on politics in Ancient China
The development of the Chinese culture has been largely shaped by religions such as Legalism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism CITATION Alb18 \l 1033 (Liu).
Legalism for example continues to shape the Chinese political arena despite the short-lived nature of its propagators; the Qin dynasty that lasted from 221 to 206 BC CITATION Alb18 \l 1033 (Liu). Chinese government is characterized by a centralized structure of governance with the emperor having an absolute authority over the state and citizens possessing a passive nature when it comes to their rights just as characterized by Legalism which saw the state exercise strict law enforcement as well as possess a preponderant authority over its subjects CITATION Alb18 \l 1033 (Liu).
Unlike Legalism, Buddhism was grounded on suppressing all forms of human desire so as to attain Nirvana; a state of eternal enlightenment CITATION Alb18 \l 1033 (Liu). The religion was instituted in India by Gautama Buddha around 6th century BC and had many branches with the Chinese practicing Mahayana Buddhism from around 2nd century BC introduced through the Silk Road by traders from Yuezhi CITATION Alb18 \l 1033 (Liu). This Buddhism branch was characterized by the more obscure practices such as beliefs about reincarnation, worshipping of many deities, heaven and hell and chanting in prayers CITATION Alb18 \l 1033 (Liu). Followers of the religion adhered to the commandments known as the Eightfold Path believing that by doing so they would attain Nirvana CITATION Alb18 \l 1033 (Liu). Buddhism was fully instituted by the end of the wealthiest, most forbearing Chinese dynasty; the T’ang dynasty which ran from 618 to 907 AD which saw Buddhism play a great role in laying the foundations of Chinese politics CITATION Alb18 \l 1033 (Liu). Buddhists were given allowances and compromises to keep the church docile in the T’ang dynasty CITATION Ger95 \l 1033 (Jacques). Some emperors however made punishment for crimes committed by Buddhists much stricter than their doctrine dictated such that a Buddhist who committed these could be dethroned CITATION Ger95 \l 1033 (Jacques).
Daoism took a unique stand looking to nature as the source of morality rather than humans with the word Dao taken to mean ‘The Way’ or nature which basically represented the crucial uniting element of all that exists CITATION Alb18 \l 1033 (Liu). Dao was also taken by some to mean the countervailing components of nature; the moon and sun, light and darkness, the Ying and Yang, men and women et cetera that though acting as each other’s complements, these elements change constantly and yet at the same time are able to interact with each other CITATION Alb18 \l 1033 (Liu). The prevailing argument is that in Daoism all is one though differences appear to exist CITATION Alb18 \l 1033 (Liu).
Daoists lived purely to seek ‘The Way’ by avoiding worldly distractions such that human action was minimized and prevalence given...
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