Although the interpretation might be negative and positive, it is not how we actually depict these two aspects. They represent a balance and are interdependent (cannot exist without each other). These two are like a cause and effect.
3. How could the hexagrams of the I Ching (The Book of Changes) be viewed as means of divination? How could they be seen as having personality and wisdom of their own? Note the editorial work of the Confucianism. – Chinese sought the future in the patterns of the shell of the tortoise or in stalks of grains. The shell of the tortoise was sought to be especially in tune with the rhythms of the universe because of the long life of its inhabitant. – With the casting of coins or stalks of a plant, certain patterns emerge. By identifying these patterns, a prediction is made. When casting the coins, they each represented a trigram that when put together you would compare it to your hexagram number. Each hexagram number had a different reading (they were kind of their own version of a fortune cookie). The readings were a form of divination in the way that they each had separate readings about actions to take in the future. They had a personality and wisdom of their own in a sense that each hexagram had a different reading and action to follow. They each had a different fortune.
4. Why did the decline of the feudal system in ancient China set the stage for both Taoism and Confucianism?
– When the feudal system began to breakdown, each school chose a different belief to kind of explain what was happening at that time with the government. Within these schools Taoism and Confucianism developed each with different beliefs on how the government should run and how the people should be run.
5. Contrast the view of the best government as it is revealed in the Tao Te Ching and in the teachings of Confucius. – Confucianism: feudal system was wanted. They seem to have believed that although the gods existed and worship and rituals were of value in bringing people together, these things were of secondary importance to an equitable social order. They strongly believed in government and that society needed an elaborate structure, reinforced by etiquette in order to be effective. – Tao Te Ching: This book was written as a polemic against the Confucians and Legalist who wished for either an idealized form of feudalism or some strong central government. They wanted little to do with government, none if possible.
The theme of the book was that all human achievements were folly, especially elaborate government. This book was written by Lao-Tzu in 6th century B.C.E because the gate keeper tried to persuade him to turn back (Hankao Pass) and not leave China. When the gate keeper failed to persuade him he asked him to at least write a book about his teachings (the book took him about 3 days and was made up of 5000 characters).
8. What political difficulties do religions face in China today?
– The government only tolerates religious organizations that are willing to accept strict regulations. They have to be free of foreign influence and they must accept government censorship of religious writings and guidance in the selections of clergy, and limit religious activities and approved locations.