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Lecture 3

RELIGST 1B06 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Karl Jaspers, Axial Age, Analects

Religious Studies
Course Code
Philippa Carter

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Jan 14 - Religion and Authority in China
Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism
The Axial Age
oMuch criticized term coined by Karl Jaspers to describe certain
civilizations between 800 and 200 BCE
oDuring this period human societies &ourished in India, China, the
Near East and Greece
oIt is during these centuries we *nd the origins of in&uential ideas
and philosophies- many of which have come to be known as
Three Important Religious Figures
oLaozi (Lao Tzu)
Although Gautama was born in India, all three have had an
enormous impact on Chinese culture and civilization
Lauzi and Confucius
oLauzi and Confucius are legendary *gures who lived during the 6th
century BCE
oIdeas and concepts attributed to them have been very important in
Chinese civilization
oLaozi is credited as the founder of Daoism (Taoism) and the alleged
author of the Tao-te-Ching
oConfucius is the founder of Confucianism and the author of the
Taoist Concepts
oTao - the'Way', the one underlying constant in the eternal &ux of the
world., the ultimate truth of existence
oTe - 'Virtue', the characteristics of something/someone as well as
moral power or force. A description of something's inherent quaity
as well as its moral sense.
oWu wei - going with the &ow, non-resistance, not doing, non-
intervention. existing in a way that does not upset the balance.
oYin yang - balance- twin principles that maintain the balance of the
universe despite the constant &ux. ie. light/dark, dry/wet,
male/female, etc.
oUnderlying all this movement and transformation is the Tao which
never changes and is the unifying principle
Emphasis on living harmoniously with others and in nature
To practice Te is to follow the way
Daoism is the Yin to Confucius' Yang
Te refers primarily to appropriate conduct towards others
Jen- important virtue having to do with being fully human: kindness,
humaneness, benevolence, regard for others
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