Research paper: Confucianism Influences in the Han Dynasty

Published under category: Essay Writing Tips | 2015-06-03 04:14:05 UTC

Context: History of China

Departure herald painting

Departure Herald: A painting from the fifteenth century China.

Kon Fuzi (Confucius) and his influence on China is an item of study in many western universities. There are many thesis papers and dissertations on the effects of Confucianism on China. Such papers are important since Confucianism the Han dynasty has influenced the politics and socio economic landscape of modern china. You can have your essays on Confucianism or paper on Han dynasty completed by writing experts here. You can also have any other custom paper writing help from this assignment writing website. We can help do your paper. Read on about Confucianism and Han dynasty.

The growing authority of Confucius and the influence of Confucianism during the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.-220 A.D) is indisputable. Confucianism had significant influences on the Han dynasty evident in various aspects. For example, during the Han dynasty, a number of hagiographies of the life of Confucius appeared. In the event of the burning of the books of burial of scholars, the Han rulers had to commission scholars in the Han to reconstruct the classical texts of China’s heritage. Texts containing sayings of the teachers of the one hundred schools, including the analects of Confucius, were still in a very fluid form. For instance, the imitation of analects by Yang Xiong during the Han dynasty, known as model sayings, contained many references to Confucius. The elevation of the authority of Confucius was not exclusively a result of texts in circulation containing his sayings, but also because of the growing belief that he was more than an earthly sage, and was referred as a heavenly teacher. Confucianism was recognized as the official state religion in the Han dynasty, especially in the second century B.C.E, where even sacrifices to Confucius were then introduced, as Dong Zhongshu for example, effectively promoted Confucianism.

The Temple of Confucius

The temple of Confucius, Jiangyin

During the Han dynasty, four main Confucian books were canonized and became the core education and culture in China. Despite the strong influence of Buddhism and Daoism, Confucian ethics had the strongest influence on the moral fabric of the Han dynasty. Further, during the Han dynasty, Confucius was presented as possessing nominal insight and enjoying a special relationship with heaven. His physical appearance was likened to the sage-kings of the past and understood to be an emblem of his sage-hood. In the Mengzi, already Mencius made use of the popular belief that a great sage comes forth at the end of every 500 years to rule China. This made Mencius refer to Confucius as a master for his generation, suggesting that he had been neglected at the time by the corrupt rulers of the era. Actually, the Han dynasty exhumed some texts and presented them as esoteric and secret teachings of Confucianism. Moreover, in the development of the Han dynasty, beliefs were held that its rulers were instantiating the chizhi, what was known as the red governance. The red governance was instantiated in a five phase system because they believed it possessed the mandate of heaven to rule. Therefore, Confucius gave the knowledge and power of the chizhi to the Han rulers. The circulation of a number of sayings collections and pieces of the teachings of Confucius created a very open dialog on the spiritual alternatives for citizens of the Han dynasty.

In the period of Dong Zhong-shu (195-115 B.C.), the ruler wrote a significant work known as ‘Spring and Autumn Annals’ which made Confucianism the state doctrine. The Han rulers welcomed Confucianism as the state ideology. Dong had great influence during his time and for several hundred years, and he actually set the base for neo-Confucianism (Perkins 103). Moreover, during the Han dynasty, Emperor Wu made Confucianism the orthodox doctrine of Chinese society. Throughout the dynasty, Confucianism was recognized as the Han State Cult, actually adopting religious and ceremonial elements. The scholars of the Han dynasty also established an imperial bureaucracy from a centralized government after reading Confucian material. As indicated, Confucianism influenced the Han dynasty more during the era of Dong who was a key figure in influencing the emperor for example to accept the ideology of Confucius. Actually, emperor Wudi proclaimed Confucianism an official state cult. In implication then, Dong contributed significantly in helping the proliferation of Confucius political thought that lay the foundation of imperial bureaucracy and Confucius concepts of ethics. Conversely, it is almost proverbial truism that what allegedly enjoyed ideological triumph in Han was Confucianism.

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