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Confucius, Taoist and Shinto Concepts

Request your assistance answering the following questions. Please provide references, if you use references to develop your answers.

1. Choose one of the Analects of Confucius to discuss.
Why did you find it compelling? Share a personal example where you have found it to be true.

2. Explain the Taoist concepts of ancestor worship and the "yin and the yang". How are these concepts if at all, related or unrelated to western religious ideas?

3. What are the central ideas in Shinto about who or what God is? What role does the Islands of Japan have in Shinto? How did Shinto shape the Japanese concept of war in WW II?

Solution Preview

Please see response attached, which is also presented below. I hope this helps and take care.

RESPONSE:

Let's take a closer look at this interesting set of questions and religious beliefs.

1. Choose one of the Analects of Confucius to discuss. Why did you find it compelling? Share a personal example where you have found it to be true.

I am wondering if you have researched or did some reading of some of the Analects of Confucius. If not, click on http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CHPHIL/ANALECTS.HTM and read some of them.

a. Choose one of the Analects of Confucius to discuss.

I find the following one compelling, mostly because it is similar to the Golden rule in Christian bible "do onto others as you would have them do onto you".

XV.23: Tzu-kung asked, saying, "Is there one world which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" The Master said, "Is not reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." (5)

In this above Analects, Tzu-kung asks the question about what "world" should guide and rule our behaviour in life. Although it appears he is looking for some grand theory or revelation using the word 'world', the Master simplifies the rule greatly by appealing to the rule of reciprocity. If you do not want it done to you, then do not do it to others either. This is the simplicity of rule of practice for all one's life.

b. Share a personal example where you have found it to be true.

There are many examples to consider. For example, many give to charity with the idea that if they were living in need, they would want help from others. It acts as a motivator to help the poor. Conversely, then, and in line with the thinking of the above Analects, is that you would NOT refuse to give to poor, because you would not want that done to you if you were poor and in need.

Another example would be that a person would NOT cheat, steal or lie to others, as we would not want that done to us. Sometimes, for example, if someone has hurt you, you might feel like getting even by hurting them back, but if this Analects come to mind, it would act as motivator to not act on your first though. You would instead decide NOT to get even, because you would not want that to be done to you.

Can you think of personal examples? Or, after your readings, perhaps you find another of the Analects more compelling.

Also see http://classics.mit.edu/Confucius/analects.html.

2. Explain the Taoist concepts of ancestor worship and the "yin and the yang". How are these concepts if at all, related or unrelated to western religious ideas?

a. The ideology of Ancestor Worship: The ancient Chinese believed that after death, the soul would continue to live as a spirit. In a patriarchal society in which blood ties were the primary social bonds, respect for ancestors necessarily expressed itself through ancestor worship.

Ethical Function of Heaven Worship and Respect for Ancestors: During the 2nd millennium B.C.E. the Chinese appear to have practiced forms of ancestor worship. They also employed oracle bones to elicit communications from spirits or gods. Both trends--ancestor worship and the fascination with determining the possible course of future events remained part of the Chinese religious structure through the ages, and incorporated into the Taoism religion e.g., practiced augury and sooth saying. Then, the rulers of China considered their ancestors' spirits to be in Heaven serving God2, or in an intimate relationship with God. Therefore, when offering sacrifices to God and Heaven, they also offered sacrifices to their ancestors. The integration of the worship of Heaven and God with the worship of ancestral spirits is called 'Worship of Heaven and Ancestors' 3. Ancestor worship strengthened people' s traditional ethical consciousness, as ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses a compelling Analects of Confucius and then explains why it is compelling and where it is found to be true through an effective personal example. The Taoist concepts of ancestor worship and the "yin and the yang"are then explained, and explored in terms of relatedness to western religious ideas. In relation to the Shinto religion, this solution also explains the central ideas about who or what God is, the role of the Islands of Japan in Shinto and how Shinto shaped the Japanese concept of war in WW II.

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