Ancient China of the 6th century BC was the cradle of philosophical thinking. The period was characterized by the establishment of such great philosophers as Lao-tzu and Confucius. As a result, two philosophies, which they taught, received a great popularity in China and attracted thousands of followers.
Lao-tzu and Taoism
Old Master is the translation for the Chinese name of a philosopher Lao-tzu. It is believed that he was the father of Taoism. Actually, there is not much information about the life of Lao-tzu and many scholars argue that such man did not exist at all.
Most of the information about his life was presented to people in a form of a legend. It says that Lao-tzu was born as a wise old man approximately in 604 BC. After that, the old master started working as a librarian, but his disappointment in the society made him leave his native town and settle down somewhere behind the Great Wall of China. It is believed that he lived somewhere near Tibet, but it is not known exactly.
We could have never known about the teachings of Lao-tzu, unless the gatekeeper of the Luoyang (city where the philosopher was born) asked him to write down his thoughts before he left forever. As a result, the old man agreed and in three days wrote a book, which became the basis of the philosophy of Taoism.
Tao is in the basis of the philosophy. Tao is characterized as the unknown force, which forms the universe and everything in it. Lao-tzu says that everything in this world is one entity, regardless of visual differences. The division between good and evil happens only because people tend to forget about the oneness of the Tao. Consequently, the role of Taoism is to remind all the people about the oneness. However, Taoism has a deeper meaning, as, according to the philosopher, spoken Tao loses its true nature. Real Tao can only be felt.
The philosophy of Taoism has not become less popular with time and it is still practiced by many people.
Confucius and Confucianism
Confucius was another prominent figure in China of the 6th Century. He was born in 551 BC and made his career as a politician first, serving as a government employee and then as an advisor. However, some years later, Confucius left his service to teach a group of students who wrote down his teachings, which became famous after philosopher’s death as Analects.
Compared to Taoism, Confucianism is more concentrated on people than on power ruling the universe. Confucius taught people to be humans by concentrating on different virtues that had to be practiced in different spheres of live, including family, state, community, etc.
Confucius managed to leave a great legacy to his ancestors in the form of Analects. Many sayings of the philosopher remain widely used nowadays, which only proves the wisdom that Confucius shared with his students.
Both teachings served as guides for many individuals and they are still widely practiced by many people.