Daoism and Confucianism in TCM

Besides some aspects such as demon or ancestral medicine, the roots of Chinese medicine practiced today developed approximately around 500 to 200 after the turn of the eras. After Zhou Dynasty the social and political structure of China collapsed. During the Warring States Period statesmen and philosophers were concerned with the question how to acquire happiness and well-being for both state and individual. Kongzi [Confucius] and Lao Zi, founders of Daoism and Confucianism, outlined two different paths on that quest, that both shaped Chinese thought as a whole as well as Chinese medicine up to the present moment.
Confucianism saw man’s salvation in the safeness of social structure. Hereinafter the individual is part of and tightly integrated into a system, finding both esteem and personal happiness in the fulfillment of his social role. Daoism, however, regarded the individual as part of a larger system, the course of the world, heaven and earth. In such a way detached from Confucianism’s earthly obligations, manners, customs and rituals, the individual finds happiness in merging with cosmos, in melting into Shen, cosmic mind. […]

Even though these views regarding man are quite opposite, they both have their place in Chinese history as well as in Chinese medicine[. …] The Daoist ideas in some sections of Suwen [Huangdi Neijing, part 1] (such as the concept of longevity, chapter 1) are supplemented by very Confucian ideas of man as a microcosm of the state with ministers and officials (such as chapter 8). Lorenzen 2000, 219


Lorenzen, Udo. 2000. Die Wandlungsphasen Der Traditionellen Chinesischen Medizin: Wasser. 5 Wasser. München: Müller & Steinicke.