There for specific behaviours. The virtues and systems

There are clear influences of chinese political philosophy on the chinese conception of the supernatural. These influences can be seen in the legalist ideals and systems of rewards and punishments resonating through the tales of the supernatural. The acceptance of local spirits and deities as well as varied local rituals all considered under the same supernatural system like with the thunder ritual also shows the clear influence of Taoist philosophies and the moral values in Confucian philosophy like the virtue of filial piety are clearly embodied in “The Quest of Mulian” as well as later legends of the White Snake. In comparing Chinese and Indian philosophies alongside the history of buddhist hell, the influence of chinese philosophies on the conceptions of buddhist hell become apparent.The influences of these philosophies on the supernatural can possibly explain some of the differences in system of thought compared to the western conceptions. Legalism is a school of Chinese philosophy that gained popularity during the Warring States period (475–221 BCE) and then again during the Qin dynasty (227-201 BCE). The three main principles of Legalism are the strict application of universal laws, the application of accountability and “wuxian” or the ruling ideology of “showing nothing”, and the manipulation of political purchase.  Under the framework of legalism, human beings are thought to be inherently selfish and short-sighted. Humans are viewed to be more inclined to do wrong than right because they are motivated entirely by self interest. Therefore to achieve social order and harmony despite this, Legalism advocated for strong state control and absolute obedience to authority maintained by a system of universal laws that rigidly prescribed rewards and punishments for specific behaviours. The virtues and systems employed by legalism, the idealized conceptions of rewards and punishments, can be recognized in prominent stories and accounts of the supernatural. The strength of government, its laws and systems of reward and punishment, are thought to be directly correspondent to the state of the country supernatural and otherwise. Anomalies and supernatural occurrences within an empire are viewed to be a consequence of the strength of the rule and rulers. Gen Bao accounts various instances of these thoughts in his collected work “In Search of the Supernatural: The Written Record”. In chapter 6 on a section titled “The Loss of Sacred Mountains”, Gen Bao quotes Chin-t’eng is saying, ” “The Chin-t’eng” chapter of the Book of History says: “When mountains move, the ruler is not using virtuous officials, and men of sage abilities do not flourish. Positions and pay are drawing such men to the princelings and reward and reproof are no longer in the king’s control. Feudal lords have increased so greatly there is no salvation from them: this is when the dynasty faces change, and the reign name will alter.””The influence of legalism on the attitudes expressed are easy to see. The supernatural calamity of the movement of mountains is a direct result of the failure to adhere to legalist ideals.  Similar to the influence of legalism on thoughts of the supernatural, Confucian values are also clearly represented in supernatural stories. Confucianism is a philosophy based on the teachings of Confucius, established in the 6th-5th century BCE.  Unlike legalism, which believes that social order is achieved through a strong government and its laws, Confucianism believes that it is social order which precedes strong government. Under the Confucian system of thought, the health of the state is a result of the health of the individuals within it. Thus individual values and ethics are emphasized with greater importance than in Legalism, where emphasis was placed on laws and governance. The three essential values taught by Confucianism are Filial Piety, Humaneness, and Ritual. Filial Piety(respect for one’s parents), can be argued to be the most fundamental of the Confucian values, and is viewed to be the starting point of virtue. The Analects aptly describes Filial Piety with appropriate emphasis explaining “Few of those who are filial sons and respectful brothers will show disrespect to superiors, and there has never been a man who is respectful to superiors and yet creates disorder. A superior man is devoted to the fundamental. When the root is firmly established, the moral law will grow. Filial piety and brotherly respect are the root of humanity.”The Confucian value of Filial Piety is emphasized in various mythologies popular in chinese history, like the legend of “The Quest of Mulian” as well as later retellings of the White Snake. Mulian, a virtuous monk, seeks the help of the Buddha to rescue his mother, who has been condemned to the lowest and most painful purgatory in karmic retribution for her transgressions. The Mulian’s devotion to his mother clearly emphasized the Confucian value of filial piety. The Quest of Mulian is especially significant in the emphasis of Confucian values, due to its nature of being a tale told in regards to Buddhism. The stories’ intersection of a mythological tale in buddhism with social philosophies of china, could be thought to establish that Buddhism does not undermine Confucian values, demonstrating a intentioned account to why Confucian philosophies would be championed by texts on religious and supernatural. The inclusion of Filial Piety as a theme to the story can be seen to help ingrain Buddhism as a chinese religion. The influence of Chinese philosophy on Buddhism can also be seen in a comparative analysis of Chinese and Indian philosophies alongside the historical development of the Buddhist conceptions of hell. Specifically taking the early conceptions of buddhist hell and the philosophies prevalent in India at the time, and comparing the two with the conceptions buddhist hell in chinese stories, we can see how the philosophies of the cultures at the time are reflected in the stories on the supernatural. Early Buddhism introduces the character of King Yama, who goes from being a god overseeing the heavens, to being a deity who decides the fate of the deceased. Buddhism embodies the strong desire for justice to be reconciled in the afterlife, staying inline with the philosophical notion of karma. Although the early conception of Buddhist Hell did have a King, it was not until around 100CE with the spread of Mahayana Buddhism into China, that we see the tradition of depicting hell as a bureaucratic series of courts overseen by magistrates dates back to the. The envisionment of the kings and courts as bureaucratic, appears to be inspired by the institutions of imperial Chinese government, and the philosophical principles within them. Strong Confucian moral element pervade the courts of Hell, much like the Chinese imperial bureaucracy of the time. Lapses of Confucian decency, and lapses of filial piety in particular, tend to be the main causes of one’s punishment. Stories such as the Quest of Mulian provide an excellent example to show this influence, as the story is originally found as an Indian myth in the Indian epic the “Mahabarata”. This story develops as a way to reconcile Buddhism with chinese ideas and philosophies in order to aid buddhism’s adoption in China. The version of the story that becomes prevalent in China during the Tang dynasty has a larger focus on Filial emotion, as well an evolution of the government present in the depiction of hell. Mythology and popular stories tend to reflect the prevailing philosophies and virtues of the time they are written in. By tracking how these stories and mythologies change and develop over time, we can understand why certain values were emphasized. We can also view the relationships and influences that philosophies and ideologies had on each other in their interaction through the development of prevailing mythology.