Confucianism

Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a way of life. Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BCE), who considered himself a recodifier and retransmitter of the theology and values inherited from the Shang (c. 1600–1046 BCE) and Zhou dynasties (c. 1046–256 BCE). In the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), Confucian approaches edged out the “proto-Taoist” Huang–Lao as the official ideology, while the emperors mixed both with the realist techniques of legalism.

 

A Confucian revival began during the Tang dynasty (618–907). In the late Tang, Confucianism developed in response to Buddhism and Taoism and was reformulated as Neo-Confucianism. This reinvigorated form was adopted as the basis of the imperial exams and the core philosophy of the scholar official class in the Song dynasty (960–1297). The abolition of the examination system in 1905 marked the end of official Confucianism. The intellectuals of the New Culture Movement of the early twentieth century blamed Confucianism for China’s weaknesses. They searched for new doctrines to replace Confucian teachings; some of these new ideologies include the “Three Principles of the People” with the establishment of the Republic of China, and then Maoism under the People’s Republic of China. In the late twentieth century Confucian work ethic has been credited with the rise of the East Asian economy.

Four Books and Five Classics

Four Books and Five Classics

Four Books and Five Classics The Four Books and Five Classics (四書五經; Sìshū Wǔjīng) are the authoritative books of Confucianism in China written before 300 BC. Four Books The Four Books (四書; Sìshū) are Chinese classic texts illustrating the core value and belief systems in Confucianism. They were selected by Zhu Xi in the Song dynasty to serve as general introduction to Confucian thought,...

Confucius, Philosopher of the Chinese, or, Chinese Knowledge Explained in Latin, compiled by Philippe Couplet and three other Jesuits and printed at Paris in 1687.

Chinese Rites Controversy

Chinese Rites Controversy The Chinese Rites controversy was a dispute among Roman Catholic missionaries over the religiosity of Confucianism and Chinese rituals during the 17th and 18th centuries. The debate centered over whether Chinese ritual practices of honoring family ancestors and other formal Confucian and Chinese imperial rites qualified as...

Wang Xizhi watching geese

Confucius, Mencius and Xun-zi

Confucius, Mencius and Xun-zi Shang, Zhou and the Classics As education and literacy spread in China and scholars became influential as ministers of rulers, philosophers also began to flourish. In the late sixth century BC two of the greatest philosophers of all time emerged in China – Lao-zi, the founder...

confucius

Sagely Wisdom in Confucianism

Sagely Wisdom in Confucianism I. Introduction Though Westerners may count Chinese Confucianism as a religion, some are skeptical that Confucianism is indeed religious, while others see in Confucianism a kind of ethical humanism. Huston Smith noted the Chinese proverb that as a people the Chinese admit to being extraordinarily flatfooted,1...

New Confucianism

What Is New Confucianism? New Confucianism (新儒家; xīn rú jiā) is an intellectual movement of Confucianism that began in the early 20th century in Republican China, and further developed in post-Mao era contemporary China. It is deeply influenced by, but not identical with, the neo-Confucianism of the Song and Ming dynasties. It...

The Analects of Confucius, from Östasiatiska Museet, Stockholm

The Analects

The Analects The Analects (論語; Lúnyǔ; literally “Selected Sayings”, also known as the Analects of Confucius, is an ancient Chinese book composed of a collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries, traditionally believed to have been compiled and written by Confucius’s followers. It is believed to have been written...

Neo-Confucianism

What is Neo-Confucianism? Neo-Confucianism (宋明理學; Sòng-Míng lǐxué, often shortened to lixue 理學) is a moral, ethical, and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, and originated with Han Yu and Li Ao (772–841) in the Tang Dynasty, and became prominent during the Song and Ming dynasties. Neo-Confucianism could have been an attempt to create...

Confucius

Li (Confucianism)

Li in Confucianism Li (礼, 禮, lǐ) is a classical Chinese word which is commonly used in Chinese philosophy, particularly within Confucianism. Li does not encompass a definitive object but rather a somewhat abstract idea and, as such, is translated in a number of different ways. Wing-tsit Chan explains that li originally meant...

Ren (Confucianism)

Ren (Confucianism) Ren (仁) is the Confucian virtue denoting the good feeling a virtuous human experiences when being altruistic. Ren is exemplified by a normal adult’s protective feelings for children. It is considered the outward expression of Confucian ideals. Yan Hui, one of the Four Sages, once asked his master to describe the rules of ren....

Confucianism

Confucianism

Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a way of life. Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BCE), who considered himself a recodifier...

A symbolic tomb of Min Ziqian, with two ancient-looking bixi turtles

Disciples of Confucius

Disciples of Confucius According to Sima Qian, Confucius said: “The disciples who received my instructions, and could themselves comprehend them, were seventy-seven individuals. They were all scholars of extraordinary ability.” It was traditionally believed that Confucius had three thousand students, but that only 72 mastered what he taught. The following is a list...

Confucius Sage The Chinese People Wax Music

Confucius

Confucius Confucius was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. His followers competed successfully with many other schools during the Hundred Schools of...

Doctrine of The Mean

Doctrine of The Mean The Doctrine of the Mean or Zhongyong is both a doctrine of Confucianism and also the title of one of the Four Books of Confucian philosophy. The text is attributed to Zisi or Kong Ji, the only grandson of Confucius. It was published as a chapter in the Classic...

Confucius

Who is Confucius?

Who is Confucius? Confucius was born around the year 551 BC in China, in a very humble environment. It is said that he was orphaned as a small boy, since there is no records of his parents. While he was growing up China was in despair with warfare and corruption...

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