How do the concept of yin-and yang help explain and apply to the two main Chinese religious traditions of Taoism and Confucianism?

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The yin-yang concept is central to both Taoism and Confucianism. Taoist concepts of yin-yang emphasize balance and the natural order of things. Devotees are taught to emulate the balance between masculine and feminine found in nature. In Taoist mythological texts, the sun is personified as masculine, and the moon as feminine. The Toa, or "way," is represented as yin: it corresponds to feminine, dark, and receptive energies. Traditionally, scholars have identified Confucianism with yang: it's a more hierarchical tradition that values law, duty and protocol. Many legends and myths point to this fundamental distinction between Confucianism and Taosim. There are tales of Confucious meeting with Lao Tzu (founder of Taoism) to debate the necessity and importance of law and protocol. Despite the basic differences between the two traditions, both traditions are respected throughout China and in other parts of the east Asia.