In What Major Ways Did Confucian Philosophy Manifest Itself in Chinese Society During the Ming and Qing Dynasty

2983 Words Nov 19th, 2011 12 Pages
1. In what major ways did Confucian philosophy manifest itself in Chinese society during the Ming and/or Qing dynasties?

It is clear from examining the philosophical thought and social trends during both the Qing and Ming dynasties that Confucian thought and ideology had a profound effect on Chinese society and moral values during that period.

Confucian philosophy is an ethical and philosophical thinking system thought to have been developed from the teachings of Kong Fuzi, known as Confucius who lived between 551–478 BC in China. [1]The essence of Confucianism is that the human mind can be cultivated through virtue and moral perfection. Confucianism has had tremendous influence on Chinese history and culture as well as other East Asian
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This branch of Neo-Confucianism was known as ‘The School of principle’. Although his works were written during the Song Dynasty, by the time of the Ming and Qing dynasty, they had been adopted as key text for the imperial examinations which meant that most of the educated men of that period would have a high of understanding of his thought. [11]One of Zhu Xi’s most famous books was the book ‘family rituals’ where he offered advice on many rituals including how to conduct weddings, funerals, family ceremonies, and the veneration of ancestors.[12] Zhu Xi was also known for implementing Buddhist thought into his philosophy. He argued for a Buddhist sense of high moral and also argued that one should engage in both academic and philosophical pursuits.[13]

The other branch of neo-Confucianism advocated by Wang-Yang Ming was known as the school of mind which was founded by Ch'eng Hao (1032-1085). [14] Although this school of thought also believed that the material world was built from a single immaterial principle, the difference was that this principle existed solely in the human mind. Wang-Yang Ming believed that the principle of the universe is equivalent to the human mind and that the practice of humanity, referred to as ‘jen’ unifies man with the universe. Wang-Yang Ming expanded on this saying that innate knowledge can manifest the original mind that is equivalent to the universe.[15] The innate knowledge, in his opinion, represented the