Discuss: to explain how Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism influenced the shaping of Chinese medical thought, in detail, including examples, and related information.
Relative influence: degree of effects of each philosophy on shaping TCM theories.
Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism: The three main philosophies in China
Chinese Medical thought: The foundation of ancient Chinese beliefs or philosophies that formed the TCM theory that we study today.

This subject aims to introduce the students to the historical and philosophical foundations of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). I will be able to acquire knowledge of the historical events and foundations of the traditional Chinese medicine philosophies by exploring and discussing philosophies such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism in the evolution of the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that we study today.

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It is important to discuss the three main philosophies that affected greatly on the development of TCM today. It is also important to explain the backgrounds, and beliefs of each philosophy and how these helped to shape the theory taught today. I will also state any conflict occurred in the development of the theory.


Political reformer
Social and ethical philosophy
Social rituals (li)
humaneness (ren)
all virtue
Not a religion
Social values
Master Kong (Confucius, 551 ~ 479 BCE)
Zhou Dynasty (1121 BC – 249AD)
Concept of Jen (Superior man): perfectibility of man
Song Dynasty (960-1279)
Zhu Xi
imperial civil service exams
Negation Roswell for the good of the family
Family unity
gratitude for elders,
family honor
protection and compilation of medical books


Tao Te Ching
Tao means the Way
orientates and connects everything together
natural occurrence
Ziran (of its own)
Three Jewels
harmony with the Tao
Jing (essence)
Qi (vital life)
Shen (soul)
Lao Zi (580-500BC)
harmonious life
maintaining good health and life
good mental health
inner peace
Huang Di Nei Jing (Huangdi’s Canon of Medicine)
Zhuang Zi (369~286 B.C.)
natural objectivity and laws
Warring States Period (475~221 B.C.)
longevity and immortal life
law of earth
law of heaven
laws of tao
essence of nature
aim of immortalising human life


originate from ancient India
Western Regions
Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.)
Arrived in China in year 2 BC
Laozu cult
vital energy
reducing desire
preserving nature
desire restriction
Jin (265 – 420) dynasty
Tang (618 – 907) dynasty
Buddhist medicine
jinzhen bazhang shu
escape from illness and death
protecting all living things
moral rules
Sun Simiao
Dayi Jingcheng (Virtues of Great Physicians)
holistic approach
body, mind and spirit
breathing control
therapeutic practice
process of healing
the “Enlightened One”
Four Noble Truths
The Noble Eight Fold Path
The Five Precepts

I will state that I will be writing about the three important philosophies that influenced the TCM theory that we study today. Then I will briefly explain each of 3 philosophies with a short background and main beliefs. I will also state the information about Chinese medicine history.
Historical Event: Important historical backgrounds during Zhou dynasty, Han dynasty and other relevant periods that are significant to TCM evolution. And the history of Chinese Medicine.
Confucianism – Zhou dynasty, Origin, main belief, aim, and how they influenced TCM,
Taoism – Origin, main belief, aims and how did they influence TCM.
Buddhism – Han dynasty, Origin, main belief, aim, and How they influenced TCM, Quote includes: The Buddha says, “I am like a good physician who knows how to cure the illness and prescribe the right medicine.”
I will conclude my essay by restating the main points from the essay question, state any common belief of three philosophies, and how they are harmonised to shape the TCM theory today.