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Compare and/or contrast Taosim and Confucianism and Shintoism concerning their concepts of the Creation of materialization of the Universe - Essay Example

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Religions exist probably as many centuries as the human race exists and are a natural result of cultural development of civilizations, an indispensable part of all stages of human development in general. In the empirical religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, Shinto,…
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Compare and/or contrast Taosim and Confucianism and Shintoism concerning their concepts of the Creation of materialization of the Universe
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Religions exist probably as many centuries as the human race exists and are a natural result of cultural development of civilizations, an indispensable part of all stages of human development in general. In the empirical religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, Shinto, Confucianism, some aspects of Hinduism), three of which are in the focus of this paper, the concept of God as the Creator of the Universe is denied or is incidental. Despite this similarity these religions still have significant differences in the matters of the Creation and objective reality.
Taoism, for example, with its concept of non-action, was traditionally opposed to Confucianism, which preached the necessity to serve diligently the emperor and community. This opposition was so deep that was even reflected in the works of eminent Jesuit missionaries. Matteo Ricci, who was in the close contact with the Confucian elite, rejected Taoism as a pagan practice. While his opponent, Michele Ruggieri, asserted similarity between the concepts of Tao and Logos. At the same time, there were schools of Taoism which studied the Buddhist treatises, the first of which was the school of Linbao. Ge Chaofu, its founder, adopted from Buddhists the elements of cosmology in a simplified form and the idea of ​​reincarnation in five worlds. The Taoists haven’t left the practices of achieving immortality, but improved its concept. They also adopted some principles of the Buddhist theory of rebirth which determined the doctrine of karma and retribution. Later Buddhist elements have become habitual to the Taoist school, which also adopted the Buddhist methods of meditation.
Shinto (from the Japanese “The Way of the Gods”) – is a religion that originated in early feudal Japan from a variety of tribal cults. The Holy Book of Shintoism is the Kojiki. Still, the religion has no canonical books. Unlike the other religions, Shintoism has no systematic dogma. Researchers have identified a number of the most characteristic features of Shinto. According to one, the Universe, all the things around, are the results of the Universe self-development: the Universe appeared by itself, it was good and perfect. The regulating force of existence comes from the Universe, not from a kind of a supreme deity, as in Christianity or Islam. Another doctrine emphasizes unity of the Universe, nature and man. In the Shinto worldview there is no division between animate and inanimate: for Shinto followers everything is living - animals and plants and things. The Shinto Pantheon has many gods and spirits. According to Shinto, man descended from one of the countless spirits.
The founder of Taoism is Lao-tzu. One of the fundamental sacred books of Taoism is the Dao De Jing, but along with it there are other canonical texts which number is large. At the heart of the Dao De Jing are the fundamental to the classical Chinese thought categories - Dao and De. Dao is somewhat similar with the God of Heaven, but it has been given a more abstract form. Dao is a sort of the law of life and cosmos, the universal unity of the world, divine Absolute. The Great Dao was not created, but everything comes from it. Everything comes back to Dao having made the life cycle. Dao is not only the prime cause of all things’ existence, but the final goal also, the end of objective reality. It is not possible to perceive Dao and express in words. Dao is not only the Absolute, but also the way everything should be in the Universe. All man who what to be happy should settle down to this way, try to learn the Great Dao and merge with it. According to Taoism, man is a microcosm and microcosm is eternal. Physical death means only that the spirit is separated from the body and it melts in macrocosm. Dao is inextricably linked with De. Dao is manifested in each individual through De. But this power should not be interpreted as an effort, but rather as an attempt to avoid any efforts and actions.
Confucianism, the teaching of the great Chinese thinker Kung-tzu (Confucius) is a synonym of rationalism, but at the same time it is deeply religious in form. Confucianism states that all the canons and constitutions are sanctified by the Heaven, which shows man the right way of conduct. According to Confucius views, the Universe is an orderly, harmonious and eternal principle. A man must find his place in this world harmony. And for this he must strive for perfection. A kind of the ideal should be the noble man (chun tzu). The main characteristics which are inherent to the noble man are sensuality, sense of duty, knowledge, moderation and confidence. Not being a religion in the fullest sense, Confucianism became more than just the religion. Confucianism is the foundation of the Chinese way of life, the quintessence of the Chinese civilization. For more than two thousand years Confucianism has shaped minds and feelings of the Chinese, influenced on their beliefs, psychology of behavior, thought, perception, their lifestyle.

References
 Bell, Daniel and Hahm Chaibong. Confucianism for the Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Robinet, Isabelle and Phyllis Brooks. Taoism: Growth of a Religion. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997. 
Satoshi, Ito, et al. Shinto, a Short History. London: Routledge Curzon, 2003. Read More
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