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The Basic Tenets of Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, and Daoist Philosophy



Among the Eastern or Oriental Philosophies are Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. Hinduism has started 4,000 years ago and is considered by many scholars as the world’s oldest religion. It is not just a single religion but considered as a family of religions and way of life because it embraces many different religions. The basic doctrine of Hinduism regards the presence of continuous cycle of life, death, reincarnation, and karma. The cycle of life or reincarnation can only be ended once the soul of person becomes one with the absolute soul. Hence, the believer’s goal is to achieve the salvation. This can be done by meditation and by doing good deeds in the physical world.



Buddhism is a faith that was founded by Siddhartha Gautama “Buddha” more than 2,000 years ago in India. Teachings of Buddhism does not include the acknowledgement of one supreme god or deity. Instead, followers believe on achieving inner peace and wisdom called Enlightenment. Once the enlightenment is reached, the followers are said to have experienced the nirvana. Morality, meditation, and wisdom are keys to reaching the nirvana. The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism are considered the most essential in this religion. These include the (1) pain is experienced by all beings, (2) pain is caused by desires, (3) abandoning desires removes sufferings and pains; and (4) to stop pain, the follower must have the Eightfold Path.



Confucianism is a system of thought and behavior founded by the great Confucius in China. Its teachings revolve on the belief that human beings are fundamentally good, and teachable, improvable, and perfectible through personal and communal endeavor, and by means of self-cultivation. Cultivation of virtue in a morally oriented world is what Confucianism gives focus on. Among the beliefs of Confucianism is the so-called Silver Rule of Behavior which states that what you do not wish to choose for yourself, never impose it to someone else. The five virtues are also emphasized in this philosophy. These are helpfulness, empathy, and kind nature (Jen), rightness, duty as guardians of nature and humanity (Yi), right conduct, appropriateness, and outward expression to demonstrate the inner attitude (Li), wise thinking (Chih), and trustworthiness and faithfulness (Hsin). The five relationships must also be maintained in a morally oriented world: father-son, ruler-citizen, husband-wife, older brother-younger brother, and friends’ relationships.


Daoism is an indigenous religion-philosophical tradition originated in China more 2,000 years ago which emphasizes harmony with the natural, balanced order of the universe. Daoism primarily belief is on the practice of doing nothing that conflicts with the natural order of the universe. A Daoist person naturally cultivates a sense of naturalness to avoid struggles, pains, and chaos. Daoism places great value in life. It does not focus on life after death, but on health and longevity by living a simple life and having inner peace. The important Taoist principles are inaction, simplicity and living in harmony with nature. Daoist philosophical principle rested on a belief in the law of unity of the two opposite forces: yin and yang.


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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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