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Compare Buddhism and Confucianism

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In this essay, two world religions will be compared to see how similar and/or how different they are; these two religions are Confucianism and Buddhism. Confucianism speaks about the wise thoughts that Confucius came across throughout his life. Buddhism speaks about how to acquire great knowledge throughout life

Confucianism was founded by a Chinese man, but Buddhism was founded by an Indian man. These quick comparisons show how the religions differ, but more detailed comparisons will be seen throughout the essay. The origins and founders of these two religions are quite similar, which will be explained in this paragraph.

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Chinese religions are traditionally divided into the three teachings of Confucianism (Rujiao), Daoism (Daojiao), and Buddhism (Fojiao). Because Chinese cultural patterns (wen) were disseminated, primarily in the form of writing, throughout East Asia, these three teachings spread to Korea, Japan, and parts of Southeast Asia. Confucians (ru) were scholars who took as their principal task the administration and maintenance of an ordered society, which they hoped to achieve by remaining active participants in it (zaijia). Buddhists lived as monks and nuns in monastic communities (saṄgha), renouncing the world (chujia) behind walls and gates to free themselves and others from the bondage of the cycle of life and death (saṂsĀra). Over the course of two millennia of close interaction in China, Confucians and Buddhists clashed on issues ranging from bowing to the emperor and one's parents to the foreign ancestry and routines of the Buddhist faith. Even so, indigenous Chinese Buddhist doctrines and practices stimulated developments within the late-imperial Confucian renaissance known in Western scholarship as neo-Confucianism. The history of interaction between Confucianism and Buddhism in China is the history of Chinese Buddhism in the public and social sphere

Because Confucian teachings were initially transmitted to Korea and Japan principally by Buddhist monks, successful, separate, and local Confucian traditions did not develop in Japan or Korea until the neo-Confucian era; the relationship between Buddhism and Confucianism that developed in China is representative of wider trends throughout the East Asian region.

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Buddhists festivals provide a chance to celebrate and express appreciation and devotion to Buddha. The way they carry out celebrations and the dates of the festivals vary from country to country and between traditions (UWS Multifaith Chaplaincy). The lunar calendar is used by most Buddhists. In Mahayan Buddhists countries, Buddha day is viewed as the most significant festival and it commemorates the birth and enlightenment of Buddha. It is celebrated in May on the first day of the full moon, however, in a leap year, it is celebrated in June. In Theravada countries, it is referred to as Wesak day. During the Buddha day, water is poured on Buddha’s shoulders to remind the Buddhists of the need for purification of the heart and mind. As a sign of respect, offerings of foodstuffs to the monks and offerings of flowers and incense for the shrines are done . The Confucians hold the Qufu International Confucius Culture Festival annually between the 26th September and the 28th of September at the hometown of Confucius. Celebrations include the grand festival of worshipping Confucius and performances at the Confucius temple and Confucius cemetery. They are usually accompanied by ancient dance and music (). These festivals commemorate the famous philosopher, Confucius; have introduced the Chinese Culture to the entire world. The Daoists also observe many festivals. On the ninth day of the first month of the lunar calendar, they celebrate the birthday of the Jade Emperor, with prearranged rituals and offerings. They have other festivals such as the Three Primes festival, the Upper Prime Festival and the Middle Prime Festival . People always view Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism as the three well organized religions in China. However, most people always see Confucianism as heading the three religions

Many Confucianism ethical ideas were absorbed in Daoism as it developed. It is considered that Daoism rituals and scriptures benefited from the presence of Buddhism. The three revolution groups had a number of rituals, festivals to commemorate the birthdays of the founders .

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In the final analysis, since the beginning of time man has looked for spiritual enlightenment and pathways to explain life. Whether it is the desire to better one's future, the idea that one must atone for the past or something in between, members of society are constantly seeking and challenging spiritual faiths to determine if they are right for them. For those who follow the Buddhist faith there are many similarities that can be found with it and the teachings of Chinese spiritual leader Confucius. A large part of any spiritual teaching is the moral and ethical views that it promotes

Both pathways have an ethical system that is clearly designed to help the follower lead a more pure life. While there are differences in the two systems the ethics of each one provide similar outcomes if they are followed. For one to understand the similarities and differences between Buddhism and the teachings of Confucius one needs to understand the basics of the pathways themselves.

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Berkshire Encyclopedia of China. Daoism religion. China: Berkshire Publishing Group LLC, 2009.

Hong Kong Tourism Board. "Events and Festivals." 12 September 2013. Hong Kong asia's World City. 12 September 2013 .

UWS Multifaith Chaplaincy. "What do you know about Buddhism?" University of Western Sydney (2008): 1-2.

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