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Neo-Confucianism was developed as a response to Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Due to the mystical and superstitious influence of Daoism and Buddhism on a huge portion of Confucianism, neo-Confucianism set out to generate a more rationalist and secular version of Confucianism. Chu Hsi, who is believed to be the first pioneer of neo-Confucianism, wanted a belief system that played more on an ethical philosophy then spiritual development or religious enlightenment. Dunyi accomplished this by completely abandoning the mystical characteristics that Confucianism had originally adopted from Daoism and Buddhism, thus creating neo-Confucianism. However, despite rejecting Daoism and Buddhism beliefs, neo-Confucianism still borrowed terminology and concepts from the two spiritual paths.
The greatest characteristic of neo-Confucianism was the total rejection Taoism and Buddhism, which contained beliefs that were prevalent in Confucianism. The main principle of neo-Confucianism, which can be categorized as rationalistic and humanistic, is that “it was up to man to create a harmonious relationship between the universe and the individual (Craig 552).” Furthermore, there were also two primary schools of thought: Cheng-Zhu and Yangmingism. Cheng-Zhu school taught that human nature is good, but is not considered to be pure unless action is taken to purify one’s life. Yangmingism taught that the best place for an individual to seek is within themselves, as opposed to an outside force or deity. The most noticeable impact of neo-Confucianism on Chinese civilization was that it was established as state ideology, bumping Buddhism out of place as the dominant
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