Sample Essay On Aspects Of Confucianism In Early Modern (~1600-~1800) Asia
Many people are of the opinion that current laws in Korea were imported from the West and borrow heavily from continental Europe law. There is a collective agreement that the traditional Korean law and legal practices are practically of no influential use. The discontinuity between current and traditional rules gives credence to this school of thought. The Westerners view the Asians philosophy as mystical and consider their opinion as rational. The situation gets more complicated because the Korean law contradicts the Western law in philosophical and traditional dimensions. Modern historians have varied views and publications on the influence of Confucianism on thinkers of early modern period. There are both good and adverse impacts of Confucianism in Korea, Vietnam, as well as China. Positive influences have been helpful in nation building in the mentioned countries while negative influences lead to the derailment of development.
Confucianism holds the belief that a community can be perfect if people living within the community conduct themselves in a good and mature way. Confucianism has undergone various transformations over time; however, the Chinese followed the ideology for more than two millennia (Chan and Adler 161). The Choson dynasty society utilized both the Chinese idea of rewarding Confucianism and the Korean tradition of upholding social hierarchy. This led to a society that was largely divided along hierarchical lines, and the justification was Confucianism.
Confucius came into being in 551 BCE and by this time China had been a civilization with vivid political structures for about 1500 years or possibly longer than that ( Jur 75). Confucius and his peers mostly referred to sage-kings who were alive two to four hundred years before the birth of Confucius. The sage-kings were responsible for bringing the culture of civilization and governance to China; they equally initiated farming and flood control in the same country. Modern scholars hold the argument that sage-kings were the early rulers around whom significant supernatural legacies were built or historical gods who got reinvented as ancient leaders of the old past. Confucius and the generation of his time held the belief that sage-kings were phenomenal leaders and were responsible for the Chinese civilization.
Hong Lianglii is a Chinese scholar that was born in Changzhou in the lower Yangzi valley in 1746 and died in 1809. He was assigned to small government positions and projects and used his remedial time to study local history, government administration, and geography (Chan. and Adler 173). The scholar has writings that illuminate his concerns about the problems that arise due to the success of a stable rule in a maturing society. The problem during Hong’s timeline was because of an increasingly corrupt and lethargic government. One of the scholar’s most notable achievements was his quest in fulfilling the Confucian ideology; the traits that enhanced his stature as a reformist in his hometown.
The Confucian teaching has its fundamental foundation in five relationships. The relationships are like the ones between children and their parents, rulers and ministers, husband and wife, older and younger siblings, as well as between friends (Chan. and Adler 151). During the early days, it was perilous publicly to give opinions that were offensive Confucian norms. However, Adam Schall was bold enough to allude to the fact that only one man and woman (Adam and Eve) were created as the ancestors of all humanity. This is contrary to the teachings that say that the Qing dynasty is an offshoot Judea.
The rulers and nobles during the early days were aristocrats who had prestige and power courtesy of successful hunting, warfares, and sacrificial rituals offered to their ancestors (Lee 3). The three characteristics set nobles apart from commoners. The central feature of noble families was the ownership of estates, temples, and military forces. Peasants and farmers worked on the estates of the nobles and were equally called to serve in the army service. During this period, elites were defined by war prowess while manhood was defined by courage in military affairs as well as honor. The nobles had the obligation to take vengeance on any person who attempted to challenge their honor. The nobles were very keen on the family name, courage, honor, and sacrifices to their founding ancestors of their lineage.
In conclusion, neo- Confucianism has had a significant influence on East Asian thinkers of the early modern period to the current time on many issues such as governance and society. In the early days, the nobles were considered superior and acted in that manner too. The commoners and farmers were treated as secondary citizens due to their lack of financial and military prowess. Confucianism has had a significant impact and influence on modern day governance and sociology China, Korea, and Vietnam. Confucianism, as discussed above, has both positive and negative effects depending on the system of implementation used or adopted by a particular society. Consequently, there is still much to learn from Confucianism so that its positive aspects can be harnessed to improve the society in many ways.
Chongko, Choi, Jur. Traditional Legal Thoughts in Korea. Journal of Korean Law. 2003; 3(1): 75-106. Print.
Rainey, Lee D. Confucius & Confucianism: The Essentials. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.
Wing-tsit Chan. and Joseph Adler. Introduction to Asian Civilizations; Sources of Chinese Tradition Vol. 2; Sources of Chinese Tradition / compiled by Wm. Theodore de Bary, Vol. 2. New York, NY: Columbia UP, 2000. Print.