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C ONFUCIANISM • Introduction • Confucian Beliefs • Confucian Timeline • The Five Classics and

CONFUCIANISM

Introduction Confucian Beliefs Confucian Timeline The Five Classics and the Four Books of China

WHAT IS CONFUCIANISM?

a philosophy comprised of the teachings of Confucius, who lived around 551-479 BCE. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality,

correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines,

such as Legalism or Taoism during the Han

Dynasty (206 BC AD 220).

values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism or Taoism during the Han

WHO IS CONFUCIUS?

Chinese philosopher

government official, wandering from region to region within China

official, wandering from region to region within China  wandering teacher  The virtue he is

wandering teacher

The virtue he is most often remembered for is that

of filial piety, the belief that sons should respect

and be faithful to their fathers.

Confucius' thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism.

to their fathers.  Confucius' thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as

ANALECTS

Chinese, Lúnyǔ 論語, "ordered sayings" teachings of Confucius compiled by his followers.

describe several virtues that Confucius taught were

important for the ruler of China and Chinese society

in general.

this text may not have reached its final form until the 1st century BCE.

of China and Chinese society in general.  this text may not have reached its final

CONFUCIAN BELIEFS

The Five Main Confucian Virtues: The main way to become a person of moral quality is through

cultivation of five main Confucian virtues:

Humaneness - Chinese, "rén" compassion, benevolence.

Righteousness, Justice- Chinese, "yì"justice, morally right.

Ritual propriety- Chinese, "" the proper customs in social rituals and expectations.

Knowledge- Chinese, "zhì" understanding and familiarity with truths, facts, and/or

principles.

Integrity- Chinese, "xìn" adhering to moral character; honesty.

truths, facts, and/or principles.  Integrity- Chinese, "xìn" 信 adhering to moral character; honesty.

Self-cultivation: Self-cultivation is stressed in Confucianism. Great significance is placed on the

ability of each individual to learn, to become

educated, and to eventually become a moral and upstanding person.

Filial Piety: Another popular Confucian belief is that of filial piety. At its core, this concept teaches that

one’s body is a gift from his or her parents and it should thus be spared from harm whenever possible. Filial piety includes service to one’s

parents as well as one’s ruler. It also states that one

should strive to become established in the world and glorify his or her parents when doing so.

It also states that one should strive to become established in the world and glorify his

CONFUCIAN TIMELINE

Confucius established this ideology around 551-479 BCE.

Confucianism was expanded by Mencius (c. 372- 289 BCE) and other later scholars.

In 213 BCE, the First Emperor of China is said to

have ordered the burning of all literature

Confucian texts includedunrelated to medicine, divination, agriculture, and the history and government of his own dynasty. The following year, in 212 BCE, the First Emperor is recorded to have had more than 460 primarily Confucian scholars slaughtered due to their public criticism of his well-known cruelty.

have had more than 460 primarily Confucian scholars slaughtered due to their public criticism of his

Zhu Xi (1130-1200 CE) alters the Confucian canon, raising the Analects and three other texts to the status of canon. These texts become known as the “Four Books.”

Despite experiencing various periods of decline and revival, Confucianism remained extremely influential within the realm of Chinese politics from its conception up until the advent of Chinese

Communism in 1949.

influential within the realm of Chinese politics from its conception up until the advent of Chinese

THE FIVE CLASSICS AND THE FOUR BOOKS OF CHINA

The Classic of Poetry

The Classic of Documents

The Classic of the Rites

The Classic of Changes

The Spring and Autumn Annals

 The Classic of Documents  The Classic of the Rites  The Classic of Changes

Each of these texts has a prominent place in Chinese history, and several of them are utilized throughout a handful of different religions in East Asia. During the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE), Zhu Xi created a collection of Confucian canonical texts. This collection is called the "Four Books." The Mencius, named after its author, and the Analects are the two most prominent of the Four Books.

The other two, not technically “books,” are actually two chapters of the Liji: "Daxue" and "Zhongyong".

other two, not technically “books,” are actually two chapters of the Liji : "Daxue" and "Zhongyong".

QUICK OVERVIEW OF CONFUCIANISM

Type of Faith: Philosophy.

Name of deity: None.

Founder: Confucius.

Date founded: 5th century BCE.

Name of

Adherents: Confucians.

Number of

Adherents: Approximately 6 million.(China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, as well as

various territories settled

predominantly by Chinese people, such as Singapore)

Main belief: Practitioners

work to become a person of

moral quality.

Sacred Texts: The Five Classics and Four Books.

Origins: Confucianism can

be traced to the 5th century

BCE.

Locations: Primarily East Asia.

Place of Worship: None.

Sects: None.

be traced to the 5th century BCE.  Locations: Primarily East Asia.  Place of Worship: