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Traditional Chinese Values Or Norms Religion Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Chinese traditional values influence not only the Chinese but also the world. China has been civilized for five thousands years ago. It regards to be one of the earliest counties in the world who become civilization. It has the great contribution to the world. In this long term development of China, there are numerous Chinese thought appeared. One of the most famous and longitude philosophy is Confucianism. It shapes the Chinese traditional value and also affected the Chinese deeply. The three Confucian who are Kongzi, Mengzi, and Xunzi, so called ‘Ru’, construct the mainstream of the Chinese thought. Confucianism is the principle of the Chinese morality. It is begins with Confucius, whose Chinese name was Kong Qiu and who lived from 551 to 479 B.C.E.

Confucian referred to Confucianism, the mainstream consciousness in ancient China, Since the Han period of history, Confucian becomes the vast majority of China’s official ideology. It is also the general mainstream of the Chinese ideological foundation. Confucianism in China, East Asia, and Southeast Asia and around the world has far-reaching impact. Such of this idea is founded by Confucius; Confucius was born in 551 B. C. in Changping Country of the Lu State. His name was Qiu and styled Zhongni. Confucius, the main points and comments, were compiled by revenue by his disciples of “The Analects of Confucius”.

According to the Confucius, its’ ethical teachings include the following values: Jen, Li, Hsiao, Yi, Xin, Chung where Jen is the central idea, Li, Hsiao, Yi, Xin, Chung , etc. for practice purposes. Confucian values covered different aspects. There are ethics, political thought, Heaven Thought, Educational Thought. All this values become the dominant religious in the feudal society. And today some of them still affected human’s thought. Here will list several of them showing the thought that taught by Confucius.

Let’s talk about the ethics part of Confucianism. Jen refers to the highest ideal of unifying the various ethical. It is also the highest standards of personal accomplishment. The definitions of Jen are multiple. Jen means people who are benevolent, Compassion among people. The connotations of benevolent are anti-aggression patriotism, filial piety, fraternal duty, loyalty, with respect and righteousness. Confucius emphasis on ‘Jen’ and this value influence Chinese people’s morality.

Historically speaking, our ancestors placed great emphasis on filial piety. According to Xue Er: The philosopher Zeng said, “Let there be a careful attention to perform the funeral rites to parents, and let them be followed when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice – then the virtue of the people will resume its proper excellence.” [1]

This means does not disgrace the name of the ancestors and always remember the teachings of their ancestors, carry forward the traditional virtues to the new generation. More than 2000 years ago, Zeng this remark, not only emphasis filial piety in the importance of propriety, but also tells of their ancestors to show filial piety that the right behavior.

Confucius attached great importance to etiquette. According to Wei Ling Gong: The Master said, “The superior man in everything considers righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the rules of propriety.” [2] Which means everything should be courtesy. Because Chinese are seriously affected by the Confucius that everything should need to be having etiquette.

‘Li’ means pay tribute to the known. It is the scope of morality and permeates people’s daily life which embodies the people’s moral values, determine the criteria of people’s contacts and guide people’s actions. Li is the essence of monarch and officials, hierarchy, high and low levels of equal status level is its core.

Beside, the other of the traditional Chinese value is that having new generation is the way to show filial piety. It is a very serious that if you did not have a children in the past. It will be perceived as the non filial piety .And today such of this thought still exist in the society.

Last but not the least, Traditional Chinese society is still patriarchal society, Confucianism has been the central idea of living in socio-cultural, women were not only shun the political level, the six kinds of human relations also showing the position of women is the lowest next-lun. Under the thought of the Confucius, Male are dominant the society. Male is superiority, Female seldom going to school. They should fallow the male’s words and respect them. The rule of them are when they are before marriage, they should obey their father. After their marriage, they should obey their hundred. When they are old, they should obey their son. In the way, it can see that as a wife depend on men and always with a man as the central purpose of life. A woman’s only virtue can be ignore.

The values listed above are only part of the Chinese traditional values. Chinese traditional cultures have enduring value. Lin YuTang says that ‘the Chinese people in real life, [3] Confucianism played a leading role and dominate the daily life of Chinese people.’ However, along with the influence of the western culture, now see that the crisis of Chinese culture, China’s traditional idea has been replaced by the concept of the West. Also the traditional moral value has been replaced by a modern market value. Materialist has achieved in a market economy then some of our values have been less important than before.

The most obvious changes are Chinese people towards nature. In ancient times, little is known about human nature, whenever lightning storm, people panic, overwhelmed, and only pray for God. They know that nature could do without human beings. Humanity has entered the scientific era, they willing to transformation and conquest of nature.[4] Initially, human view god is the biggest. Confucius fears that too much equipment and personnel caused by excessive division of labor will destroy the natural. However, such of this concept is less important now.

In order to break through a scarcity of resources, modern scientific technological transformation of nature also undermined the ecological. Humans create a more convenient and more prosperous life in expensive of the nature. Such of this thought is showed that Human does not respect nature as before. Nowadays, they think that human is the biggest in the world. It is due to the rapid technology development.

In the perspective of the structural functionalism, It considered that ‘society need o perform certain functions to maintain their existence. ‘ [5] Functional theorist perceived society as an organism and each part of the society should be functioned well in order to make the process of the society healthy. In this case as people no longer regard nature to be importance but the human is. They destroy nature, because to meet human needs. The population for food and daily needs are growing and upgrading. If you do not meet their needs, it will only bring out the malfunction of the society. Therefore, at the expense of human nature, the use of technology is to make the world’s smooth operation. So, the ‘natural thought’ is no longer important than before.

The second value, which now declining, is the status value because of the concept of equality. In the former Patriarchal society, women’s status decline, resulting in male superiority. Also it formed a ‘men outside the home, women inside the home’ idea. Confucianism advocates women should have the “three from the four virtues” However, such of this value have been declined. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, there were many Chinese reformers reform movement, which many put forward the concept of equality between the sexes. Position as it is to be an unprecedented increase.

In the perspective of the social conflict theorists, they perceived the material is the root of the conflict. People who own the majority of the material will have the power to change the value. The development of the feminist movement in modern China can be seen initial courage to challenge traditional female or more due to father and brother or husband’s encouragement and support. After a hundred years time, women in political, social participation, whether in China or other countries have significantly improved and achievement, Because of the female has own the power in these aspect so the value of ‘Male-dominated ‘ can be changed . In social conflict theory considered that the value change because of the gender conflict and the male get lose in this conflict.

The third one I would like to talk about which is the less significant of the etiquette. ‘LI’ is ever-present in a traditional society. “Book of Rites,” recorded in the ancient family rituals. For example, children should give greetings to their parents every morning. As we stress on the titles to our parents in order to show our respect to them. Today this trend has been change. Children even called the full name of their parents. Such of this change are affected by the western culture. The foreigner will call their parents’ name directly. From this aspect, we can see that the Traditional etiquette is no longer important

Regard of the symbolic interaction perspective, it focus on the interaction of the people. It focuses of the communication of each of the people. [6] In the view of this aspect the declining of the emphasis on etiquette is the result of the people interaction. Due to the influx of Western culture, Chinese people and the West have frequent contacts. Though the contact with them to learn Western manners. The Western people are less obsessed with etiquette. For example: Westerners like to address him by the name of their parents. As time goes by, such of this value become less emphasis due to the interaction of the western culture.

In conclusion, as it can be seen from the above examples, even if some of the values remained the hearts of Chinese people. For example: We will still obey our parents, to obey the teachings of elders. However, some values are no longer re-before-like influences our decision-making. Like mentioned above, we adapt the concept of destiny has been since the development of society, from a passive to an active. As before, we adapt to nature to survive, now we change it. Also, because the West’s culture shock, we do not re-used to the pursuit of etiquette. Moreover, because the concept of equality and women’s rights movement began. The male-dominated Confucian concept has been greatly lowered.

Ancient Confucianism far-reaching effects of traditional Chinese culture, since the Han Dynasty exclusive emphasis on Confucianism, the Confucian is convenient developed in China. It continued to affect the Chinese people. In Kuhnian’s words, nature science will change when the time pass. [7] It is the normal evolution of the society. Society is always progressing. If it continues using the old ideas, it will only impede economic and social development.


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