As I watched the movie Kung Fu Panda 2, I saw many examples of Daoism and Confucianism, as well as a few examples of Legalism. This movie is about a panda named Po, who strives to protect the Valley of Peace with his friends and Master Shifu. As Po and his friends try to accomplish this, a dangerous villain named Lord Shen stands in the way by creating a secret weapon to destroy kung fu and to conquer China. In order to defeat the new enemy, Po must must recall his past and his family and find his inner peace and dao. Some examples of Daoism that I saw were yin and yang, dao, wu-wei, and p'u. Some examples I saw of Confucianism were junzi, Five Great Relationships, Five Virtues, ren, li, filial piety, and guanxi. The characters' actions and personalities are shaped by these aspects of Daoism and Confucianism, and Po is successful because he is able to find his dao and achieve wu-wei.
THE TAO OF PO AND THE LEGACY OF DAOISM
This picture shows Po and Lord Shen face to face, and they represent yin and yang. For instance, Po is kind and good in the movie Kung Fu Panda 2, while Lord Shen is mean and bad. This shows that good has to balance bad, and this would be an example of yin and yang. A quote from the Soothsayer in the movie, "What had brought color and joy, could also bring darkness and destruction," also states that balance is important in the universe, which is yin and yang. Throughout the film, this balance is evident because bad events are followed by good ones. For example, when Lord Shen thinks he has defeated Po and his friends, Po stands up, fights back, and saves the city.
This is an image of Master Shifu finding inner peace and returning to himself. Master Shifu is going with the flow of life and being natural, and this is an example of wu-wei. While Master Shifu is doing the action of wu-wei, he is returning to his dao, or his "path." Also, it is important not to rush and to just be in the moment, and that is what Master Shifu is accomplishing. "The most important time is now," said the Soothsayer. This quote means that one should not think ahead and should go with the flow of nature and have wu-wei. On the other hand, the background of the image shows Po not going with the flow of life. Po needs to find his inner peace (wu-wei) and his dao, which is his "way" or "path."
In this picture from the movie, Po is doing the action of wu-wei by letting go of his past, and he is finding his dao and inner peace. For example, Po is going with the flow of life by not thinking ahead, and when Po had to fight Lord Shen, he wasn't nervous and he didn't rush. Po is following his dao or "path" by trying to defeat Lord Shen and by bringing peace to the city. The Soothsayer says to Po, "Stop fighting, let it flow," and Po listens. This quote also sounds like something Laozi, the creator of Daoism, would say. Another thing that I picked up on during the movie is Po's name. "Po" sounds like "P'u," which means "uncarved block." "Uncarved block" is being pure and natural, and that is what Master Shifu told Po he needs to strive to be. Po is being simple minded by being clueless when Master Shifu was talking to him about how to find his dao and by being clueless about not knowing how to do the moves of kung fu.
THE LEGACY OF PRE-CONFUCIANISM AND CONFUCIANISM
This image demonstrates pre-Confucianism because the Soothsayer, the goat, is predicting the future for Lord Shen, the peacock. The Soothsayer predicted for Shen that "if he continued down this dark path, he would be defeated by a warrior of black and white." This portrays the legacy of oracle bones because the Soothsayer is predicting the future, like oracle bones would. An event from the prequel to this movie that relates to pre-Confucianism is the way Po was chosen to be dragon warrior. Oogway, who was the creator of kung fu and the developer of the dragon warrior legend, chose Po to be dragon warrior. This relates to tianming, which is the "mandate of heaven," or veneration of ancestors because Po was given the right to be dragon warrior from an ancestor, and this is the advice or guidance that ancestors give to their family that is still alive.
This is a picture of Po hugging his father, Mr. Ping. This represents the legacy of Confucianism because Po is showing honor and care towards his family, so this relates to filial piety. Having ren, which is human heartedness, and li, which is good behavior, is very important in Confucianism. Po demonstrates this by treating people kindly and by honoring his family because they are important. Also, Po is a representing a junzi because he is an “exemplary person,” whose influence and behavior has the power to change society and make it better. People look up to him because he is a good role model. Also, this image relates to part of the Five Great Relationships. The Five Great Relationships are ruler and subject, parent and child, husband and wife, elder brother and younger brother, and friend and friend, and this image demonstrates the relationship of parent to child. Also, in the movie, the ruler and subject and friend and friend relationships are represented in Master Shifu to Po and Po to Tigress or the Furious Five. Finally, Tigress teaches herself how to do kung fu, which is an example of self-cultivation because she is educating herself.
This image shows the Furious Five, Po's five close friends who are kung fu warriors and protect the Valley of Peace. Po and his friends have good relationships, and Po shows kindness towards his friends, which can be considered guanxi and ren. Also, Po and his friends' roles in society are to be the dragon warriors and to protect the city. This can be considered rectification of names/titles. Finally, Po and his friends obtain the Five Virtues, which are human heartedness, prosperity, justice, wisdom, and faithfulness.
THE LEGACY OF LEGALISM
This is a picture of the peacock, Lord Shen. Lord Shen demonstrates Legalism because when Po and his friends are disobeying the laws of the city, Shen tries to kill them. This relates to the idea that the people must follow the rules, or else there will be harsh punishments. Also, Legalists believe that one should attack problems, instead of ignoring them, which can relate to the idea of Lord Shen wanting to destroy Po and his friends right away, instead of just ignoring the problem.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WHY A FUTURE STUDENT SHOULD CHOOSE THIS EXPERIENCE
A future student should choose this experience because it was very interesting to learn how Daoism, Confucianism, and Legalism are still talked about today. As shown above, there are many examples of legacy in this movie, and I learned that the legacy of Daoism, Confucianism, and Legalism can be used today in movies and in everyday life. I think that this is a great movie to watch because there were many connections to class, especially the vocabulary words, in the movie, and it was very interesting to learn even more about the legacy of Daoism, Confucianism, and Legalism. Therefore, I would definitely recommend this experience to future 8th graders doing this project or to people that want to learn more about Daoism and Confucianism.