China, India, and Japan Schools of thought Essay: Prominent Thinker Assignment
Write a 700- to 1400-word essay exploring various schools of thought from India, China, or Japan. Select one school of thought each from China, Japan, and India, and identify a prominent thinker from each.
• Describe each school of thought, setting forth the major principles of each school.
• Describe your selected thinker’s philosophies as applicable to his/her school of thought.
• Compare each school to the others from the region.
• Discuss which school of thought more closely aligns with your own world view and why.
China, India, and Japan are three prominent countries that are founded on nearly the same schools of thought. Schools of thoughts are comprised of people who share or shared a common view on a certain matter. Most schools of thought are based on inherent philosophies that led to the growth and development of the regions involved. The thoughts and ideas that were discussed in this period are known not only to have influenced the lifestyles of many Asian people of those days, but also has played a crucial roles in developing social consciousness in today’s society. The intellectual community of this time was typified by scholars who were mainly the state rulers’ advisors on matters pertaining to diplomacy, war, and government. This paper critically examines various thinkers and their philosophies from the three countries.
Confucianism was a major school of thought that dominated Japan and China in 551–479 BC (Tee, 2009). This school of thought originated as an ethical-sociopolitical teaching but later transformed to become metaphysical and cosmological component during the Han Dynasty. Popularity of Confucianism can be majorly attributed to the abandonment of legalism in china. The Chinese government also contributed largely in making this school famous and acceptable in the society up to the time the Three Principles of the People ideology was established. Humanism was the backbone of Confucianism. Humanism can be defined as the perception that human beings can be taught, improved, and perfected through the endeavor of the community but majorly via self creation and cultivation. This school of thought majorly focuses on virtue cultivation and maintenance of ethics. This implies that moral values are more important than a life of an individual as the former affect the entire society rather than a life of one member in any given community. Another point worth noting is that Confucianism is non-theistic and doesn’t associate its ideologies with any supernatural being. It is a humanistic ideology. Confucianism was based on the teachings on one Chinese teacher, philosopher, and also a politician called Confucius. The Confucius philosophy was founded on state and individual morality, social relationships correctness, as well as morality and justice. In a nutshell, the main principles of Confucius were cohesiveness in families, worship of ancestors, and respect amongst the junior and senior members of the society.
Buddhism is a school of thought that is prevalent in the country of India. It comprises of various religious beliefs, and it also embraces various traditions and practices that were founded by Buddha who had realized that happiness and suffering do not coexist and if happiness was to be cultivated, it was pertinent that suffering and cravings be ended because they were the major stumbling towards the attainment of human happiness. According to his teachings, there is a need to eliminate ignorance in the society which in turn would allow for the creation of a happy society.
There are various schools under Buddhism; a good example being Chan Buddhism which lays emphasis on the fact that long meditation results to ‘Rapid Truth Awakening’ and also an appropriate way of sending messages without words and phrases between disciplines and their masters. This school is more detailed and clear as compared to pure land Buddhism which emphasized on prayers rather than mediation.
Zen Buddhism is both a Chinese and Japanese school of thought whose major goal is the perfection of personhood. Zen philosophy attempts to exemplify non-discriminatory wisdom that advocates for meditation. Zen practitioners claim that meditation is an avenue of discovering vast knowledge and equality. This school of thought stands out from other ideologies in Japan as it is the only school of thought that is practical in real life situation since it also bring together the individuals and the nature together to form a strong society. (Woolf, 2005)
Confucianism is the school of thought that is aligned with my world. I believe in a humanistic society. I also believe in moral values. Moral values are the building blocks of any society and any society that is founded on other beliefs is bound to fall. Moral values are the principles that guide human beings in the society to act rightly and avoid evil because this is the only way they can attain happiness as well as human development. I believe that many of the challenges facing modern society could be wiped out if a strong system of moral values is entrenched in the society and embraced by all people
Moral values are increasingly being undermined in a society that believes that technology alone is enough to alleviate all human suffering (Imber, 2008). However, they remain the most important guide to human behavior and are vital to societal well being. Corruption, violence, and terror attacks racial discrimination and other values plaguing the modern generation would be non-existent in a society founded on strong moral values. Confucianism also advocates for continuous self improvement. Human beings are far from perfect and each day denotes a struggle towards becoming a better person in all spheres. This means that if each person in the society strives daily towards excellence, the whole society would reap the benefits attaining higher levels of development and producing individuals better suited at coping with the dynamic nature of the challenges that are bound to occur from time to time .Thus, I feel that Confucianism is more superior to other philosophies because of its emphasis on humanity and there is no greater resource on earth than human beings.
Imber, Jonathan B. (2008). Markets, morals & religion. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
Tee, Boon Chuan. (2009). Chindia : from political interface to spiritual dialogue. Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia: Malaysian Centre for Ethnic Studies, New Era College.
Woolf, Greg. (2005). Ancient civilizations : the illustrated guide to belief, mythology, and art. San Diego, Calif.: Thunder Bay Press.