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Confucianism, Daoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Confucianism and Traditional Chinese Medicine

The most significant influence of Confucianism on traditional Chinese medicine lies in its materialistic views and departing from superstitions.  These provided a favorable social environment for the development of medicine.  As an orthodox doctrine, it keeps traditional Chinese medicine away from religion or superstition.  Its positive outlook on life has made intellectuals in the past view medicine as an alternative way to build their morality and take vigorous interest in medical careers.  That's why traditional Chinese medicine has still been developing steadily, as well as ranking highly in ancient medicine systems worldwide.
Confucians in the Song Dynasty (960~1279) had a common goal: becoming either a qualified official or a practitioner.  Guided by this idea, many Confucians practiced traditional Chinese medicine, which improved the social status and influence of practitioners at that time.  The intellectual rational attitude assisted the gradual abandonment of sorcery in the wider application of medicine.  The stable, united social system advocated by Confucianism helped the protection and compilation of medical books.  For example, Xin Xiu Ben Cao (Newly Compiled Materia Medica of Tang) complied in the Tang Dynasty (618~A.D.907), and large-scale compilations of medical books in the Song Dynasty have been viewed beneficial to the development of medicine.
Taoistic Ideas and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Lao Zi (580~500 B.C.), a famous philosopher at the final stage of the Spring and Autumn Period (770~476B.C.), is the founder of Taoism.  His representative works is Lao Zi, which advocates a harmonious life spent following the rule of the universe.  This idea agrees with doctrines in ancient Chinese medicine, especially the health preserving doctrine represented by Huang Di Nei Jing (Huangdi's Canon of Medicine).
Zhuang Zi (369~286 B.C.) wrote Zhuang Zi.  He emphasized the natural objectivity of the universe and stated the importance of following the unchanging natural laws without excessive endeavor to manipulation. His ideas of preserving life and health had a great influence on Taoism.

Lao Zi
Taoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine
As a native religion grown in mainland China, Taoism originated from ancient witchcraft and immoral beliefs established in the Warring States Period (475~221 B.C.).  It advocated alchemy in order to seek longevity and immortal life.  
Taoism is related to the philosophy of Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi.  Preservation of health is combined with the idea of longevity.


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