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Influence of Religions on Politics in Ancient China (Essay Sample)


Although Buddhism, Legalism and Daoism are religions in ancient China, they have different influences on rulers and their decisions on policy making to rule a dynasty


The Influence of Religions on Politics in Ancient China
The Influence of Buddhism, Legalism, and Daoism on Politics of China
Culture has been a great part of China. It defines the way of life, guides decision-making process and defines the way of life of the Chinese people. Influencing culture is religion. Ancient China has transitioned through various religions across different dynasties. Daoism, Confucius, Legalism, Buddhism, Christianity and Taoism constituent some of the dominant religious affiliations of the Chinese people. With the diversity in religious beliefs and dynasties in ancient China, this paper seeks to evaluate the influence of Daoism, Buddhism, and Legalism on China's rulers and policies.
Legalism was an administrative form of a ruling in which leaders such as Xun Zi believed that man was innately evil and selfish. The goodness of man would only be attained through education and one's status. Moreover, legalism from the word itself indicates control or authoritarian approach to life issues. During the 233 B.C., the legalists dignified the state and focused on material and martial prowess way above commoners' welfare. The influence of legalism during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) led to the formation of the Emperor as the central governing unit of the state.[Mark, Emily. 2016. Religion in Ancient China. (April 21).]
During the legalist rule, China experienced war (warring states era) as the rulers sought to expand the Chinese territory. Also, the legalism spirit of power influenced the continual attack and reign of leaders in other regions. Brutal policies took effect that was characterized by rigid punishments. Legalism's elements of governance included power and position (Shih), administrative techniques and methods (Shu) and comprehensive system of laws (Fa). Legalism transformed China's political arena, but it was short lived. The Han Dynasty that took over after the death of the first emperor-initiated Confucianism. However, the Han rulers were Confucians but governed by legalist principles.[Watkins, Thayer. 2018. Legalism and the Legalists of Ancient China. (April).]
Consequently, Daoism came into play at the end of the Han Dynasty (25-220 AD). Daoism emphasized on nature as the basis of morality rather than human beings. According to Daoist teachings, man is to seek the Dao (the way). Leaders such as Laozi sought to minimiz

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