What You Need to Know about Writing a Compare and Contrast Confucianism and Taoism Essay
When faced with such a vast subject, you could write hundreds of pages about it. Depending on the instructions you have been given, you might have to limit the number of pages you write. At the same time, you will be expected to discuss both complicated topics effectively. How do you achieve this?
First, you must understand the most basic facts about both these terms. Both Confucianism and Taoism have an aspect of philosophy as well as a religion, but each of them represents different ways of thinking and implementing behavioral codes. These two philosophies are two sides of the same coin.
There are many other differences between the two, including:
While Taoism emphasizes on belief in nature and dealing with life in a natural manner, Confucianism is based on human conduct as opposed to religion and belief in God.
Taoism focuses majorly on nature; Confucianism is focused on improving society.
Taoism was founded by Lao Tzu; Confucianism was founded by Kong Qui.
The goal of Taoism is to have a balanced life; that of Confucianism is to create harmony in the society.
- The status of women in society
Taoism holds women as respected members of society; Confucianism takes women to be inferior to men.
Taoism has holidays on the Chinese New Year, ancestor day and the three-day festival of the dead while Confucianism has holidays on the first two days as well as Teacher Day.
With these differences in mind, you have a brief idea of what to include in your compare and contrast essay. This, however, is just a tip of the iceberg. There is much more you need to know in order to write a good quality compare and contrast essay.
Tips to Help You When Writing a Compare and Contrast Confucianism and Taoism Essay
Although a few differences are listed above, you might desire to have more in your essay. How do you go about this? One way is by making a Venn diagram having overlapping circles; one for each item you are representing. The section in the middle is for the characteristics that the two items have in common. Look at a simple example below that compares two pizza restaurants:
While generating these points, constantly keep in mind the purpose of writing this essay and use points that best achieve this purpose.
Regarding Confucianism and Taoism, ask yourself: what are these philosophies about? Did they originate from a particular historical period? Who was behind their creation and their goals? How broad are they in terms of scope? Among other questions.
Once you have a long enough list of differences and similarities, go through it to select only the most relevant which you will include in your paper. It is also important to have in mind that some relevant points may not be interesting enough to be added to your paper.
Pay extra attention to your thesis. The thesis of a compare and contrast essay holds extra importance because it guides the writer throughout the entire essay.
While writing your paper, you have many options on how to organize your content. For example, you could state everything you know about Confucianism followed by everything you know about Taoism. A better method is to have each point of comparison or contrast in its own paragraph.
In order to effectively guide your reader through your points, you have to be very mindful of the language you use. Be sure to make use of cues such as: while, despite, in comparison to, however, still, on the contrary, yet, although, nevertheless, regardless, on the one hand, even though…
These words will make it clear that you are making a comparison.
Armed with this knowledge and extra tips, you are now ready to begin writing your compare and contrast Confucianism and Taoism essay. Always remember that organization and the use of certain cue words are important for the success of this essay.
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Confucianism And Taoism Essay
Confucianism and Daoism are two influential schools of thoughts that have existed in ancient China around the 6th century BCE. The former, led by the politician and philosopher Confucius, proposed that humans live in society according to a set of predefined rules and that they transform society through political action. Whereas the latter, led by the philosopher Lao-Tzu, promoted the idea of inaction; people should go with the flow instead of taking action to control their lives and dominate their surroundings. Although, at first glance Daoism and Confucianism seem to be two opposing philosophies, a more in depth analysis of two of their key ideas –filial piety and education—reveals that they do share some similarities.
Both Confucianism and Taoism seem to have opposing views on the subject of filial piety. In The Analects, Confucius urges us not only to serve our parents, but also to obey and respect them under all circumstances. However, in the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu wrote: “When there is no peace in the family, filial piety begins” (no. 18). What does he mean by that? One possible, or probably the most obvious, interpretation of this statement is that filial piety cannot exist without conflicts in the family. Such interpretation would indeed be in complete opposition to Confucius’ view on the matter. However, since conflict implies action, that interpretation would also contradict the inaction principle of Taoism. Lao is definitely not encouraging conflicts in the family.
The right explanation of Lao Tzu’s view on filial piety takes into account the concept of nature which is one of the core principles of Taoism. What Lao is really saying in the statement is that any form of filial piety that begins only after a conflict has occurred in a family is essentially going against the true nature of what it means to be filial. It is rather considered as an action to correct a situation: action that is not coming naturally from the heart. If natural filial piety were expressed in the family from the very beginning, conflict would have no means to arise. Thus, filial piety exists naturally and so should it be expressed.
Confucius also recognizes that filial piety should be expressed naturally. According to Confucius, being filial to our parents is the utmost expression of respect. This is an essential element in obtaining the title of Chun-Tzu, or noble person. However, filial piety is not a one-way street. Parents are also filial to their children and to their parents. Both parent and child have a natural position and responsibility within the family; therefore natural filial piety is reciprocal. It is through recognizing and practicing filial piety in the family that a person will know how to act outside of the family. For in the Confucian tradition, it is realized that filial piety also exists between all beings. This is evident in the Confucian Golden Rule: "Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you” (Book XV). As in Taoist...
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