History’s Meaning of the Mandate of Heaven – Part 2/5

In the last few years, China has revived some of the old Confucian traditions that were stopped during the Cultural Revolution.

Today, actors reenact the ancient traditions for tourists and many of the tourists are Chinese, who are rediscovering roots not seen since 1949.

The Chinese Communists believed they could do away with the old traditions and replace them with something new.

However, just when they thought they had shaken it, it appears that the past has found a way of returning.

The ancient Chinese believed that earth, nature and the cosmos were part of a harmonious natural order, the Tao or Path.


The search for the right path, Taoism, is the second-great stream of Chinese thought — a natural mysticism beside the natural common sense of Confucius, which wasn’t an alternative, but the other half of a necessary life balance.

Western culture sees nature in terms of control and exploitation. However, to the Chinese, it is the source of all harmony and balance.

The little Taoist Temple on the top of sacred Taishan Mountain was wrecked during the Cultural Revolution. Now, it has been rebuilt and real Taoist monks and nuns returned in 1985 to live there and be committed to the old ways.

More than two thousand years ago, after the Silk Road opened, the Chinese gained the wisdom of the Buddha.

To the Chinese, the Western concept of God was foreign, but Buddhism, with its atheistic and democratic message and deep care for ritual was different.

Buddhism was the third-great stream making up the current of Chinese civilization.

Along with Confucian wisdom and Taoist mysticism, it was believed that these three philosophies contained the essential ideas of civilization and without them, life would be unbalanced.

Return to History of the Mandate of Heaven – Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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2 Responses to History’s Meaning of the Mandate of Heaven – Part 2/5

  1. […] the family—not the government—and in the family, the people learn the meaning behind the Mandate of Heaven and the value of a merit based […]

  2. […] difference may be explained by China’s concept of the Mandate of Heaven, which says that heaven would bless the authority of a just ruler, as defined by the Five Confucian […]

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