What are Belief Systems?

Throughout early civilizations, belief systems were the key to peace and harmony among countries. A belief system is an established, orderly way that groups or individuals look at religious faith or philosophical principles. Each country had its own way of living whether it was passed on in a different form, or it was invented from a member of society. The main religions/belief systems accounted for over 9,000 years and all the way to the late times of B.C.E. These were Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, and Legalism. They all were different ways to gain the same result: Peace in their time and to keep everyone and everything in order how it should be. Each way was based on the ideas of their rulers and how those rulers viewed the society around them. Two of the main five are Buddhism and Confucianism. Buddhism was the main religion throughout India for thousands of years. It also moved into China when the teachings started to fade and more belief systems started to form.

Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama who was known as ruler or “”Buddha””. The Buddha’s job was to rule over people and use the governmental way of life. That was making sure each person did their own individual job and did it to their best ability. The goal in this grand scheme was to achieve “”Nirvana”” or a state of peace among yourself. Buddhism taught that Earth was created by man’s thoughts, not by gods as they did not believe in any. Buddhism also taught that the only way to achieve personal and full enlightenment was through meditation. All people were created equal and men and women had the same rights. There was no hierarchy as seen in Hinduism with the caste system. This was shown throughout politics from the fact that anyone could become the Buddha.

It did not matter your age or gender, if you have found enlightenment, you can be the Buddha. One example of this was Kwan Yin, a female Buddha that found Nirvana through meditation and was worthy of the title. This helped in society because it gave people equal rights and the ability to do their duty to achieve fulfillment in life. This religion had 3 main focuses that everyone had to follow and helped them stay in line: Maya was the belief that earth is how someone perceives himself, Karma was the belief that everything you did had consequences which helped people stay in line, and Dharma showed that everyone in life had their own duty that was needed to be accomplished. Buddhism helped the Indian society based on these things. Confucianism was the main chinese belief system at the time. This system showed everyone that followed there was no need for strict laws as long as everyone did their job. Confucianism believed people were good unlike Legalism which thought people were bad. Confucianism was founded by the philosopher Confucius who believed that if everyone lived in peace and harmony and was responsible for themselves, they could live without punishments. This belief system was shown throughout society by the five key relationships among those that followed him. They were Father to Son, Husband to Wife, Ruler to Subject, Elder to Younger, Friend to Friend. The most important was Father to Son because it showed all the lessons a son needs to learn. They showed that males had more of a role than females as they couldn’t even own land.

Males did most of the work while females helped around the house and did some of the easier/boring jobs. It was shown through Politics based on the Mandate of Heaven. This was a working rule that said anyone could be the ruler of China as long as they filled out their duties and did not mess up. If they did what they needed to do they could stay in power until something was done wrong and when that happens, someone else goes into power. If they did not fill out their duties there were no second chances and you couldn’t be in power again. Confucianism was ruled throughout China in these ways. Religions and belief systems are important. They help everyone in a society work in their own way under one rule. They keep everyone in line and cause less a chance of a rebellion or an overthrow if everyone is pleased. These belief systems helped people achieve the best they could do in their lifetime. They were powerful and helpful ways of life which is proven because they stayed a way of life back in ancient civilization times and even partially today. They opposed other ways that could have been even more helpful if not the same amount. Each way was equally effective in their society based on the time and the ruler. Each system thrived because everyone did their jobs in society and if that was all they had to do, it made the rulers’ lives easier and made the way of life thrive even more. In conclusion, belief systems were a crucial and helpful part of ancient civilizations and how they functioned.

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