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Ancient China


History >> Ancient China

Three major religions or philosophies shaped many of the ideas and history of Ancient China. They are called the three ways and include Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.


Taoism was founded during the Zhou Dynasty in the 6th century by Lao-Tzu. Lao-Tzu wrote down his beliefs and philosophy in a book called the Tao Te Ching.
Lau Tzu founder of Taoism
Lao-Tsu by Unknown

Taoism believes that people should be one with nature and that all living things have a universal force flowing through them. Taoists didn't believe in a lot of rules or government. In this way they were very different from the followers of Confucius.

The idea of Yin and Yang comes from Taoism. They believed that everything in nature has two balancing forces called Yin and Yang. These forces can be thought of as dark and light, cold and hot, male and female. These opposing forces are always equal and balanced.


Not long after Lao-Tzu founded Taoism, Confucius was born in 551 BC. Confucius was a philosopher and thinker. Confucius came up with ways that people should behave and live. He didn't write these down, but his followers did.

Confucius' teachings focus on treating others with respect, politeness, and fairness. He thought that honor and morality were important qualities. He also said that family was important and honoring one's relatives was required. Unlike Taoists, followers of Confucius believed in a strong organized government.

Portrait of Confucius
Confucius by Unknown

Confucius is famous today for his many sayings. Here are a few of them: Buddhism

Buddhism was based on the teachings of Buddha. Buddha was born in Nepal, just south of China, in 563 BC. Buddhism spread throughout much of India and China. Buddhists believe in a "rebirth" of the self. They also believe that the cycle of rebirth is complete once a person lives a proper life. At this point the person's soul would enter nirvana.

Buddhists also believe in a concept called Karma. Karma says that all actions have consequences. So actions you take today will come back in the future to help you (or hurt you) depending on whether your actions were good or bad.


For more information on the civilization of Ancient China:

Timeline of Ancient China
Geography of Ancient China
Silk Road
The Great Wall
Forbidden City
Terracotta Army
The Grand Canal
Battle of Red Cliffs
Opium Wars
Inventions of Ancient China
Glossary and Terms

Major Dynasties
Xia Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
Han Dynasty
Period of Disunion
Sui Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
Song Dyanasty
Yuan Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
Qing Dynasty

Daily Life in Ancient China
Numbers and Colors
Legend of Silk
Chinese Calendar
Civil Service
Chinese Art
Entertainment and Games

Kangxi Emperor
Genghis Khan
Kublai Khan
Marco Polo
Puyi (The Last Emperor)
Emperor Qin
Emperor Taizong
Sun Tzu
Empress Wu
Zheng He
Emperors of China

Works Cited

History >> Ancient China

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