Hundred Schools of Thought

Era Information
Time: 770 B.C.-256B.C.
Location of Capital:Disunity of the country
Emperors: Five hegemony in Spring and Autumn, Seven Kings in Warring States
Replaced by: Qin Dynasty

Spring and Autumn period's map, map of Spring and Autumn PeriodThe Hundred Schools of Thought is a general abbreviation of various academic and ideological genres and their representative figures. Philosophers refer to Confucius and Mencius, and Xun Zi of Confucian School, Lao Zi of Taoism, and Han Feizi of School of Law. The Hundred Schools mean different schools of thoughts and ideas. After West Han Dynasty, Philosophers after Spring and Autumn can be summarized as disciples of Confucian School, Taoism, School of Yin-yang, School of Law, School of Ming, Mohism, School of Zong and Heng, Shool of Za, School of Nong (agriculture), as well as School of Xiaoshuo (novel). Except School of Xiaoshuo, the others are generally known as Ten Genres and Nine Schools. The most important include Confucian School, Taoism, School of Yin-yang, School of Law, School of Ming, and Mohism.

Ironware of Spring and Autumn PeriodConfucian School: is one of the most important schools of thought in the Warring States. It admires Confucius as its master and has the Six Skills as its standards. This school emphasizes liyue (civilized and enlightened behavior) and renyi (benevolent and upright character), advocates zhongshu (loyalty and catholicity) and golden mean, and upholds dezhi (rule by moral education) and renzheng (enlightened governance). It focuses on moral and ethnic education as well as self-cultivation of character. Confucian School values the function of education very much. It holds that the development of education and less punishment is a necessity to national stability and happy life. It believes that everyone should receive education and enlightenment so that the whole nation would become civilized and its people have high morality. On politics, this school proposes that the head of the country should govern his nation with rites and morality. It also suggests the recovery of Zhouli Thought which is considered as an ideal way of implementing politics. In the period of Warring States, the School of Confucius was divided into eight genres, the most important of which were school of Mencius and Xun Zi.

Taoism: Like Confucian School, Taoism is one of the most schools of thought in the Warring States period and it is also called the School of Morality. This school takes the ideas of Taoism as its theoretical basis, and use Taoism to explain the nature, the source, and composition and the changes of the earth. It believes everything in the nature appears automatically and there is no god or immortal that has the power of control anything. Therefore it advocates that we should let everything as what it is, follow what is going to happen, live without desire, and cultivate heart calmly. People should take an amiable and reasonable way to persuade others rather than resorting to force. On politics, this school upholds ruling a nation with enlightenment instead of military force. After Lao Zi, Taoism developed into several groups and the most famous four are School of Zhuang Zi, Yang Zhu, Song Yin, and Huang Lao.

The use of animal force Mohism: The theoretical basis of this school is benevolent to and benefiting all. It suggests that people should love others as love themselves; as long as people in the country can love each other, they can benefit each other in communication. In terms of political governance, Mohism upholds co-existence and harmonization rather than exclusion; on economic development, it emphasizes consolidation and preservation; on thought, it believes the existence of and worships God. At the same time, this school proposes Feiming, which means people should survive and prosper through hard work and efforts. Mohism has strict regulations and secret organizations. Its members are mostly from the middle and lower social classes. It is said all of them are very capable, and courageous enough to anneal their characters. When Mo Di died, Mohism developed into genres. In the late period of Warring States, they evolved into two: one emphasized Ideology, Logistics, Math, Optics, and Mechanics, and was therefore called Late Mohism; the other turned into the paladins in Qin and Han Dynasties.