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Ancient China - Index

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Major Philosophies of Ancient China


Founded by Lao-Tzu – 570 BC

“Harmony” from Tao Te Ching

Embracing the Way, you become embraced;
Breathing gently, you become newborn;
Clearing your mind, you become clear;
Nurturing your children, you become impartial;
Opening your heart, you become accepted;
Accepting the world, you embrace the Way.

Bearing and nurturing,
Creating but not owning,
Giving without demanding,
This is harmony.

  • Order and harmony from nature; Yin and Yang
  • Follow the Tao (the Way)
  • Don’t seek useless things or create argument
  • Pull back from the world of humans
  • Clear your mind and connect with nature
  • “Tao Te Ching” is the most important text


Founded by Kongfuzi (Confucius) – 551 BC

Confucian proverbs from Lun Yu

To know, is to know that you know nothing.

That is the meaning of true knowledge.

The superior man is modest in his speech but exceeds in his actions.

The gentleman is at peace without being arrogant. The petty man is arrogant without being at peace.

  • Six Relationships – correct relationships between
    • ruler and subjects
    • parent and child
    • teacher and student
    • elder and younger brother
    • husband and wife
    • friend and friend
  • Treat others as you would be treated
  • Ruler as father, subjects as obedient family
  • Polite, respectful behavior
  • Learning is important

School of Law / Legalism

Founded by Han Fei Zi and Li Si – 250 BC

  • Became the basis for Qin and Han government
  • Emphasizes law and order and a strong government


  • Humans are naturally selfish
  • The only way to preserve social order is through discipline and law enforcement
  • The government must be powerful to provide for the welfare of the people
  • Still used in China today •• Freewalt Family •• Search •• Terms of Use

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