If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:8:56

Video transcript

in previous videos we've talked about some of the major schools of thought that emerged at the end of the Jo dynasty especially as we start to enter the warring States Period the famous hundred schools of thought and most prominent amongst them is Confucianism started or based on the teachings of Confucius who lived around 2,500 years ago and it was all about how does a society live in harmony Confucianism was based on a lot of teachings that were already part of Chinese culture and Confucius one could say put them together but put them together in a contextual way and made them more relevant and you can see on this diagram Confucianism was really focused on the ethical but Confucius himself tried to apply some of his teachings into the more practical realm now out of that hundred schools of thought you also have Taoism that we talked about in other videos now Taoism is really based on this idea of the Dao or the way and we could do many videos on Taoism but it's this idea of letting go and you can even think of it as going with the flow and the simplicity a return to nature freeing yourself from desires and it was definitely more philosophical and more focused on the spiritual than Confucianism now in other videos we talk about legalism which was a key part of the Qin Dynasty which was the first real imperial dynasty china is named after the qin dynasty but was fairly harsh it was really this idea that hey human beings really need strong leadership sometimes harsh leadership in order for society to actually work now the school of thought that we have here up at top Buddhism is interesting because it did not emerge from that hundred schools of thought period that we get at the end of the Zhuo dynasty Buddhism emerges in India at around the same time roughly 2,500 years ago with the teachings of Buddha a Hindu prince we lived in northeast India southern Nepal and his teachings are in some ways you could almost view as a reformation of Hinduism at the time a return to the idea that someone through meditation through realization can become one with at least in Buddhism the emptiness Nirvana can escape from clinging to desires of this non reality that we think we live in and we've talked about in previous videos how the Qin Dynasty was really based on this legalist philosophy but the Han Dynasty is considered the Golden Age of China now under the Han Dynasty Confucianism really took hold and became the dominant philosophical structure of China and to some degree would stay that way now at the end of the Han Dynasty China goes into a chaotic period for several hundred years until we get to the sixth century when the Sui dynasty is able to finally reunify China for the most part and in that interim Confucianism starts to give way to some degree to both Taoism and Buddhism these things that are more focused on the spiritual areas where Confucianism was not as interested and what's interesting about Buddhism even though it started in India famously Ashoka and the third century BCE really becomes a patron of Buddhism and even send missionaries out to spread it and it comes to China via Central Asia and Southeast Asia it really takes on a uniquely Chinese nature as it enters China really it eventually evolves into Mahayana Buddhism and under the tongue dynasty which is considered one of the high points of Chinese civilization Buddhism is really able to take hold especially in the early cong dynasty however as we get into the late Tang Dynasty Buddhism starts to get some pushback and even gets persecuted to some degree people arguing that hey Buddhism is it's a foreign belief system in some ways it's not concerned enough with social cohesion it's all about the individual through meditation trying to separate themselves from reality becoming one with the emptiness and so around at the same time someone argue in reaction to the strength of Buddhism you have a movement known as neo-confucianism taking the central ideas of Confucius but using some frameworks and terminology from Taoism and Buddhism and there were many neo-confucian philosophers that began to emerge in the late Tang Dynasty but it's really considered the Song Dynasty where neo-confucianism really takes hold and the most famous of the neo-confucian philosophers sometimes ranked second to Confucius himself in terms of influence on Chinese philosophy is juicy he lived from 11:30 to 1200 and he's most known for his one could say curation of Confucian texts he famously curated the four books Analects of Confucius mencius or dementias by mencius great learning doctrine of the mean written by Confucian followers this curation of Confucian thought shortly after Jude sees life it becomes the bedrock of the Chinese education system in the civil service examinations as we go through the Wan Ming and Qing dynasties all the way to the early 20th century now he also wrote books on tradition and rituals which are in some ways very Confucian because they're focused on the practical they're focused on the family they're focused on social cohesion but he also dabbled in the more spiritual wrote extensively about notions of Tai Chi which is really a Taoist or even a pre Taoist idea thinking about what is the fundamental nature of the universe and the Tai Chi itself is the great ultimate sometimes represented by the yin-yang symbol really this is showing Tai Chi divided into this dualistic nature between yin and yang how at the center of each or the extreme of each they become the other he writes about Chi this life force or energy and once again these are ideas he takes from a Taoism but a neo-confucian thought there's this idea of you shouldn't just detach yourself from physical reality you should study it there's an order there's a logic to the universe that could be understood and because of the influence of the neo-confucians especially their focus on belief in the order and logic of the universe it's no coincidence that the Sung dynasty saw some of the major technological advancements not just of China but of the world advancements that really put China at the technological forefront remember Europe at this time is in the Middle Ages the Middle East is under the Golden Age of Islamists but it's really the Chinese who are pushing the envelope here I just get a flavor of some of Juicy's writing original mind is principle as derived from Tai Chi in itself unmoved and perfectly good while physical nature on the other hand is principle mixed with material force Chi it is the aroused state involving both good and evil the two nature's however are always interfused one the substance and the other function so once again even though he was Confucian he was a Confucian philosopher this is very Taoist in nature and even this notion of talking about original mind is principal in itself unmoved and perfectly good this feels very Buddhist or even Hindu in its thinking now one could debate whether it was to what degree it was influenced by Buddhism it is a very central idea that all of reality all of sentience is emergent from this Atman from this Brahman from this original mind emerges from the emptiness but what makes it neo-confucian is beyond the metaphysical beyond the philosophical they bring it down to reality they bring it down to practical concerns how does this affect how one governs how does this affect how one should learn how does this affect how one should be in social harmony with those around them