hindu and confucian doc (1)

February 5, 2023


Similarities and  Differences between the Hindu and Confucian Legal Traditions.

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Similarities and  Differences between the Hindu and Confucian Legal Traditions.


The two legal traditions share in the belief on how people live in the society. Hindu law is composed of religious, philosophical and social attributes that act as a guide to control the activities of people in the society. Gerry Ferguson,  Provocation (Extreme Emotional Disturbance), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd Edition, 2015, (accessed July 01, 2021), www.sciencedirect.com/topics/social-sciences/hindulaw. Confucian system of rites, likewise, determines how individuals should conduct themselves in day to day life. “Confucian holds one in contempt, either passively or actively, for failure to uphold the cardinal moral values of ren and yi,” Henry C. K. Liu, The Abduction of Modernity, 2003, (accessed July 01, 2021), http://large.standford.edu/history/kaist/references/confucius. In both traditions the main aim is to achieve a greater state of being by Individuals.

Another similarity is that in both traditions, there is a common believe or both teaches that fixed rules might cause an injustice. Confucianism, only the foreigners or social outcasts’ conduct are to be controlled by law. “Confucian code of rites (liji) is expected to be controlling document on civilized behavior, not law.” Henry C. K. Liu, The Abduction of Modernity, 2003, (accessed July 01, 2021), http://large.standford.edu/history/kaist/references/confucius. In the Confucian view, rule of law is applied only to those who have fallen beyond the bounds of civilized behavior. The civilized ought to observe proper rites. The tradition did not regard the law as an indispensable institution, rather was a last resort option when moral teachings failed.

In the Hindu legal tradition, dharma encompasses a wide range of human activities like mode of dressing and ritual purifications rather the law normally. Dharma in relation to law, places on every individuals the obligation to do what is right.  Hinduism aims to provide individual with moral compass to guide virtue and piety. 


The Hindu legal tradition aims to ensure equality and justice for all while the Confucian legal tradition offerd protection of inequality. In the latter, top priority was on the royal family members, officials, and nobles since they were not to be under the same punishment provided in the criminal code as would an ordinary citizen. The differencial treatment has remained as the most significant provision of the law codes until the last kingdom through the history. In the Hindu legal tradition, Rocher comments that, “when the Hindu lawbooks appeared to be unacceptable, they overruled them on the grounds of justice, equity and good conscience.” Therefore Hindu law, unlike the Confucian legal tradition ensures equality and justice. Lodo Rocher, Hindu Conception of Law, 29 Hastings L.J. 1283 (1978).

The second difference is that for Hindu legal tradition is spiritually based while Confucian system is family based. Hindu legal tradition originates from the Hinduism believe in one creator that is Buddha. For Confucian, there is no belief in particular being. It is secular in origin. H. Patrick Glenn,  Legal Traditons of the World; Sustainable diversity in Law, 5th edition, pg. 319, (accessed July 01, 2021), http://www.oxfordlawtrove.com. Confucianism uses the family as the basis of society and the relationship of the members of the family define the proper social and political behavior. Everyone has a duty to each member of the society. Chenglin Liu, Confucius and the Chinese Legal Tradition , 28 Mich. St. Int’l. L. Rev. 477(2020),  puts it this way;

“The Confucian tradition attached great importance to family values and responsibilities, but it often imposed unbearable burdens on family members. If a person commited one of the abominable crimes, such as treason or blasphemy, his relatives within nine degrees faced extermination by the death penalty or exile.”


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