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Chinese Dynamic Mandate of Heaven

329 words 2 page(s)

In the Chinese culture of religious philosophy the Mandate of Heaven which originated during the Zhou Dynasty, determined by method of virtue whether an emperor was qualified to rule, as well, if obligations as emperor are not fulfilled he loses both the Mandate and rights as emperor. Four basic concepts define the Mandate. First, that heaven grants right to rule and that there is only one heaven; therefore, only one emperor at a given time. Additionally, virtue determines right to rule and that a single dynasty does not have a permanent right to rule.

Under the Mandate of Heaven, a ruler was determined to have lost the Mandate when certain elements applied such as peasant uprisings, invasion by foreign troops, even the natural elements of nature producing drought, famine, and floods leading to the uprisings aforementioned causing an interrelation of factors.

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To suggest that modern-day China emulates the assumed divine properties of emperors during the dynasties of Zhou to the final dynasty of Qing (1644-1911) would be a gross error. This conclusion based upon the tyrannical leadership causing societal unrest, hunger, and subjugation of the populace that does not represent that of a leadership; in fact, that is the precursor in losing the Mandate to a rebellious leader obtaining same by an unjust or incompetent ruler.

History of the Zhou Dynasty justified the overthrow of the Shang Dynasty using the Mandate ideal which implies that successors may arise and conquer based upon heavens approval in the victory. According to the concept of the Mandate countries such as Korea where the fear of losing same caused rulers to act responsibly; however, such is not evident under communist rule in present-day North Korea.

To draw stark comparisons of ancient rule under a dynasty and that of today is sufficient in stating that the antiquity of the former has suffered loss by the latter.

  • What is the Mandate of Heaven? Retrieved from: