History of the East Asian Religions

East Asian religions have quite a lot of principles in common. For example, they emphasize unity in almost all things and the relation of every living being on the planet to the nature and its surroundings. Amongst all East Asian Religions, Confucianism and Taoism have gained the most dominance. These were in fact the most ancient religions in China and East Asia. Although, today, Buddhism is quite commonly practiced, Buddhism actually came from India and spread into East Asia in the later centuries.

Taoism

Taoism is mainly considered to be founded by Lao-Tse, a contemporary of Confucius. In search for peace, solutions against constant feudal wars and various conflicts in Lao-Tse’s life led him to the creation of a new religion, Taoism. In the beginning Taoism was a concept regarding psychology and philosophy but as years passed by it turned itself into a religion around 440 BC and was adopted as a state religion.

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The beliefs and practices in Taoism state that Tao is a force that flows through all life forms and it is the first cause of universe. The followers of Taoism believe that their objective is to become one with the Tao. Most believers of Taoism religion quote the art of “wu wei”. It is said that “wu wei” needs the minimum action to maintain ones religious followings.

Confucianism

Confucianism, a religion that redefines individual morality and ethics,was started by K’ung Fu Tzu. He was born in 551 BC and his preaching was mostly on exercise of political powers, morality and ethics regarding an individual. The Confucian ethical teachings state a few values like “Li”, “Hsiao”, “Yi”, “Xin”, “Jen” and “Chung”.

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Li defines rituals, etiquette and propriety. Hsiao states the definition of love. Xin and Yi respect the values of honesty, trustworthiness and righteousness respectively. While Chung preaches about loyalty to the country, Jen deals with humanness and benevolence towards every life form which is the highest Confucian virtue.

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by Tristan Perry