The 3 belief systems- Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism- though paradoxical, shaped Chinese political thought and culture for centuries. Confucianism emphasized respect, filial piety, and submission to one's master whereas Daoism encouraged people to be like water, desire nothing and enjoy the art of uselessness. Buddhism was not a philosophy but a foreign religion that heavily influenced China and its cultural sphere- Korea, Japan and East Asia- in culture, art, and medicine.
The following resources are great for helping students understand the complex and often contradictory belief systems of China.
1. Handouts: "The 3 Beliefs of China and Guided Reading Questions"- brief introduction to Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism
2. Power Point "Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism" and Handout: "Who Said It- Laozi, Buddha, or Confucius?"- students read a series of quotes and 1. interpret their meaning and 2. guess who said it
3. Handout: "The Tao of Pooh Activity"
4. Handout: "Confucianism and Tasoism or 'Teacher and the Student'"
5. Handout: Brain Teaser- "Alicia"- Alicia comes across a situation in which she can take several courses of action. What would Buddha, Laozi, and Confucius tell her to do?
6. Activity/Cumulative Project: 3 Ways of Thought Poster Activity
Alia Klein."3 Beliefs of China". September 2007. Lesson Plan.