Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism

China is not a country of religion but has many religious doctrines. "Popular religion” was formed on the base of three doctrines as follows: Confucianism which influences daily behavior, Taoism and Buddhism purification rituals.These three doctrines have also influenced the customs and traditions of the Chinese people.

Any Chinese society is based on principles derived from Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. These three schools of thought have influenced culture and life of the Chinese for over a thousand years and have even spread in neighboring countries. This gave rise to a mixture of philosophy and religions whose boundaries are not clear today.
A phrase defined well enough of the situation of these three doctrines in China states, “Confucianism is a rice shop (for the life of every day), Taoism is a pharmacy (for the ills of the body) and Buddhism is a store for the mind.”


Confucius, a Chinese philosopher and polymath who lived in VI-V century BC, was the origin of main ideas governing the life of Chinese people today. In his time, although he taught his thinking to more than 3,000 students, it was not recognized so died somewhat anonymous. He opened the doors of his teaching as a very young apprentice despite his origin or social status. He is often called the teacher of all students.
Not having written anything about himself, it was his students who took his words in the book Analects of Confucius and many other writings.
Confucius is based on the principles of benevolence (or humanity), "ren," self- governance by the "li" virtue, "yi," and harmony to dictate the rules of conduct in society. The key to his thought is to love your neighbor, to be in harmony with the world around us (by observing government and family religious rites and behavior seind'un group) and think before acting to find the best way to address the situation. All this is the hope of finding an ideal society. However, until now, this harmonious society has never been reached.
Five moral ties and govern everyday life include, parent-child relationships, teacher-student, brother-brother, husband-wife and friend - friend. The first member should take care of the other, which must respect and obey them. Thus, the Emperor must watch over his subjects have allegiance to them and parents raise children to have respect and obedience. Ancestor worship also plays an important role and it is customary to visit a grave to commemorate at least once a year, for Chinese Toussaint, the Qingming Festival.
It also focuses on achieving ideal society by sharing knowledge. Indeed, it is always possible to learn something from others, even if their status is lower than ours. So, “Walking with two people, I think my teacher among them. Not to be ashamed of his ignorance against other people, Confucius recommends studying the same status as everyone. According to him nobody is privileged and must work hard to succeed in education.
This is why he advocates the dukeju system, which emphasizes on imperial examinations. It is possible for anyone to reach the top of a bureaucracy to educating yourself and become a scholar. This election system of Chinese officials testing Confucian thought was formalized in 605 AD and lasted until the late Qing, circa 1905. However, already in the Han era,  these tests were applied.
His doctrine has its origins in reading 5 sacred writings before his birth texts which are as follows: the Book of Historical Documents, the Book of Odes, the Book of Changes, and the Book of Rites and Ceremonies: Book of Spring and Autumn Annals.
Principles dictated by Confucius were not applied until the time of Confucius. It took until the kingdom of Han to the first century BC. AD for his doctrine to be officially recognized. Once entered into the spirit of the people, these ideas remained the mainstay of everyday life and served as a model of behavior in society until 1912 (end of the Middle Kingdom). In the twelfth century, under the Song dynasty, the Analects of Confucius became the basic textbook for education and his doctrine was central to imperial examinations.


The founder of Taoism, Lao Tzu, is a figure with legendary gaits whose existence was often questioned. According to the writings, he lived in the sixth century BC, which was a few years before Confucius. Historian at the court, he would have decided to go into exile before the decadence and intrigue of nobles. On the way, a guard would have left the past in exchange for a little education. Laozi would have written the Daodejing (or Tao-Te-King is the book of the way and virtue), text only 5,000 Chinese characters which was the basis of all Taoist doctrine.
Taoism is based on the union of Yin and Yang, that is to say, the union of opposites to achieve harmony. Thus, the heavens and earth opposes, life and death but also all elements of the universe. To achieve peace and attain immortality, which is the quest of all Taoists they must find the right balance with "qi" inner strength. We must follow the “Tao” the Way, to arrive at the perfect harmony between man and nature. The main rule is to let go without thinking and not go against the flow to reach equilibrium. Indeed, we must follow the example of nature taking its course without forcing elements. By being passive and not trying to impose any rules we can reach the Way.
Once this state of passivity has no more preconceived ideas and opinions, so we can achieve immortality, we are available and carried away by the Way as a dead leaf in the Nature.
This doctrine has resulted in many currents. We found a philosophical Taoism mystics and peace to achieve harmony. Similarly, a popular religious Taoist appeared with deities and demons such as the famous Eight Immortals of Chinese mythology.
Taoist ideas are at the root of various scientific discoveries such as gunpowder and the traditional Chinese medicine, tai chi or feng shui.
Here are four monasteries sacred mountains of Taoism in China it is possible to visit with our tours:

Longhu Mountain in Jiangxi (Mount of Tiger and Dragon)
Mount Qingcheng in Chengdu
• Mount Qiyun in Anhui
Mount Wudangshan Hubei (originally Tai Chi and Kung Fu Wudang)

Although Confucianism and Taoism are two doctrines with a strong presence in China, they are contradictory in many ways. Already in the Analects of Confucius, Confucius valued men seeking to improve society while Taoists were described as men who thought it was impossible to improve society and prevented the ability for people to speak freely.


Buddhism appeared in India in fifth century BC. but it was not until the first century, under the Han dynasty, that it entered China through the Silk Road. To integrate into the country with its customs and the different beliefs, Buddhism considers ways of thinking and Chinese traditions to assimilate and be flexible. Instead of trying to impose Indian philosophical thought, Buddhism is adapted to the beliefs already present to create a new religion and philosophy.
The Mahayana Buddhism or Mahayana was the type of Buddhism that developed in China. This form of Buddhism opens the gates of nirvana anyone tried in their life to achieve something. The faithful spend their lives trying to reach merits such as bodhisattvas. Arhats are the disciples of Buddha who through their dedication access to nirvana until their death.
This religion has grown considerably since the third century. At the time of the Sui and Tang dynasties, Buddhism was influenced by other religions, whereas, it assimilated elements of Confucianism and Taoism. Filling gaps Confucian and Taoist doctrines and enriching Chinese civilization, Buddhism is considered the main religion of China.
Many schools of thought have emerged over the centuries. Thus, we find the Tiantai school, Huayan (or Avatamsaka), Jingtu (Pure Land), Faxiang, Zen and Tantric. Each provide a common education with distinctive features.
In China, Buddhism spread to Tibet in the seventh century. It quickly integrated into the local culture by combining with the local Bön faith. In the court, Tibetan Buddhism gained prominence but it was only under the Mongol dynasty Chinese sixteenth century that it took its current appearance with the introduction of the Dalai Lama, as the spiritual leader of Tibet.
In Tibetan Buddhism, many schools of thought are also present. The best known is that of the Yellow Hats, which belong to the Dalai Lama. However, there are also Red Hats and the Kagyu (sect that has passed information by oral traditions).
Here is a list of famous Buddhist monasteries and temples in China that you could visit to during  our tours:

The monasteries of the four sacred mountains of Buddhism:
1. Mount Wutai in Shanxi
2. Putuo Mountain in Zhejiang
3. Mount Emei in Sichuan
4. Mount Jiuhua in Anhui

The famous temples of ethnic Han (stream of the Great Vehicle):

- North:
Fayuan Temple in Beijing (the first temple in Beijing, the seat of Buddhist College and Library of China)
• Shuanglin Temple in Pingyao
Shanhua Temple in Datong
Xuankong Temple Hengyuan (hanging temple)
Temple Xibei Fogong to Yingxian (largest and oldest wooden pagoda in the world)
Binglingsi Temple in Linxia (Thousand Buddha Caves)
• Dafou Temple and Temple of Zhangye Matisi (Great Buddha, caves)
Dacien Temple in Xi'an (Big Wild Goose Pagoda)
Shaolin Temple and Baima Temple in Luoyang (the first Zen temple, originally Kung Fu, white horse, the first Buddhist temple in China)

- South:
Linggu Temple Nanjing
Hanshan Temple in Suzhou
• Yufou Temple and Jing'an Temple in Shanghai (Jade Buddha)
Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou and Jingci Temple Cave (peak flying from afar)
Tiantong Temple and Temple Ayuwang in Ningbo
Dafou Temple Leshan (Giant Buddha, the largest Buddha statue in the world)
Temple of Yuantong Kunming (Three Pagodas)

The six most important monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism sect of Yellow Hats:
Kumbum Monastery in Xining
Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Ganden Monastery in Lhasa
Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse
Labrang Monastery in Gansu

Other Lamaseries

Yonghe Temple in Beijing
Jokhang Monastery, Samye Monastery, Sakya Monastery, Monastery Pelchor Chode
Rongbuk Monastery in Tibet

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