Discussion questions for Daoism and Confucianism

1. Explain the concept of Yin and Yang. What does the visual image of Yin/Yang represent? How are its components related to each other? How does this relationship express fundamental Daoist thought?

2. What is the basic difference between Philosophical Daoism (in the Daodejing and Zhuangzi) and Religious Daoism (neo-Daoism)? What are their characteristics and aims?

3. Explain the concept of de in Daoism.

4. Who was Zhuangzi and what were the characteristics of his writings?

5. What is the Mandate of Heaven? How is it obtained? How was it used in Chinese history?

6. What are some of the differences between Confucianism and Daoism?

7. Based on archeological finds, what are some of the characteristics of Neolithic Chinese religions?

8. How do you characterize "Dao" in Daoism?

9. Why do people say Confucianism is not a religion?

10. What is traditional Chinese medicine? On what principles does it rely?

11. Do Confucians and Daoists believe in God?

12. What is humanity for Confucius?

13. What is propriety for Confucius?

14. What is filial piety for Confucius?

15. Why is the rectification of names important to Confucius?

16. What is Laozi's view on beauty? What is his view on rituals?

17. What is wu-wei? What tradition finds it important?

18. Describe Daoist cosmology.

19. What is qi (ch'i)? How is qi important to Daoists? What is Qigong?

20. Briefly characterize "The Three Teachings" of China.

21. What is the Yijing (I-Ching) and how is it used?

22. What is the five-element theory? How does it relate to yin/yang, Daoism, and traditional Chinese medicine?

23. In Chinese religions symbolism, what does the circle and square represent (as found on coins and jade items)?

24. How might the mask motif in Neolithic Chinese pottery be related to Daoist ideas of nature and instincts?