The Mandate of Heaven Based on the Teachings of Confucius
The Chinese concept of the "Mandate of Heaven," was based on the
teachings of Confucius and further enhanced a century later by a man
named Mencius. Mencius added to the Confucian teachings by addressing
human nature and the right to govern. Previously, China had been ruled
by two divergent schools of thought. One was "selfish" religion in how
you could obtain happiness in an unsettled world by living a simple
life in harmony with nature.
Confucius taught that the improvement of society was the
responsibility of the rules, and that the quality of government
depended on the ruler's moral character. Confucius based his teachings
on the "Golden Rule." Do unto others as you would have them do unto
When Mencius came along, he added new dimensions to Confucian
thoughts. He believed that man was immediately good, and would lean
towards the good just as water runs downhill. Man could become corrupt
if he did not follow the path of goodness and picked up bad practices.
Mencius, and the "Mandate of Heaven," promoted the idea that good
rulers in China's past had been those who treated the people with
respect and kindness. Good rulers had based their dynasties on good
ethical principles. Thus, the citizens had been well cared for.
Mencius went father than Confucius by adding a new thought to the"
Mandate of Heaven." He believed that if a ruler was evil and did not
concern himself with the people's well-being, then people had the
right to rebel against the ruler, and even kill the rulers if
Mencius declared that, "Heaven hears as the people hear; Heaven sees
as the people see." He thought heaven was what sent the earthquakes,
droughts, or rebellions. The welfare of the people of China was the
main measuring rod for judging the government. Mencius believed that
all people were morally equal and that the ruler needed the consent of
his people. He hoped that a strong unifying leader could stop the wars
between regional areas and states from the Zhou period. Thus, if a
ruler lost the "Mandate of Heaven," the people had...