Confucianism
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Confucianism. Religion or philosophy?. Background: (700-221 BCE) Warring States Period. Political, economic and social chaos. Sun Tzu- wrote “Art of War” (544-496 BCE). Confucius. 552?-479 BCE K’ung Fu-tzu, Master Kung Wanted to be political advisor Little known of life.

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Confucianism

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Confucianism

Religion or philosophy?


Background: (700-221 BCE) Warring States Period

  • Political, economic and social chaos

Sun Tzu- wrote “Art of War” (544-496 BCE)


Confucius

  • 552?-479 BCE

  • K’ung Fu-tzu, Master Kung

  • Wanted to be political advisor

  • Little known of life


Learning from the past

“I am a transmitter, not an innovator; I believe in antiquity and love the ancients.”


Writings

  • Analects: central teachings

    • Basis for exams, 125 BCE

    • Scholar officials needed to know them

    • Confucianism supreme


Teachings

  • “Not to do to others what you would not have them do to you.” (Analects 15:23)

  • Human relationships

  • Reciprocity, neighborliness


Negative Golden Rule

  • Is there a difference between the golden rule and the negative golden rule?


“Five Relationships”

Ruler <-----> Subject

Father <-----> Son

Husband <-----> Wife

Older brother <-----> Younger brother

Friend <-----> Friend

*Mutual care, but respect for elders


Jen (ren)

  • “Goodness”

  • “Benevolence”

  • “Humanity”

  • “Human-heartedness”

Why do you think this is one of the most important ideas in Confucianism?


Family

  • Family relationships teach you about all relationships


Li

  • “Ritual”

  • “Training in virtue, avoid evil”

  • “Proper behavior”

  • Example: honor heaven and ancestors


Question

How can li mean “proper behavior” and “ritual”? What does that imply?


Heaven

  • Supreme deity

  • Lord on high

  • Sacrifices made to heaven

Temple of Heaven, Beijing


Li cont.

  • Ancestral cult

    • honor ancestors

  • Family ritual

    • Capping: 15-20 yrs old; gets hat, gown and formal name

    • Marriage

    • Funerary rites

Chinese wedding


Governmental Ideas

  • Leadership by example

  • People are good

  • Gov’t for happiness, not control

  • Scholar officials are to lead gov’t

  • Ideal society needs no laws (how possible?)

School built to study Confucianism


Additional teachings

  • Virtue above nobility

  • Education over military


Confucius’ tomb


Mencius (371-289 BCE) and Hsun-tzu (289-238)

  • Students of Confucius

  • Systematized his teachings

Mencius

Hsun-tzu


What do you think? Is Confucianism a religion?

  • Write down two reasons why it should be categorized as a religion and two reasons why it should not be?


What does Smith say?

  • If religion= “a way of life around people’s concerns,” yes.

  • If religion= “a concern to align humanity with the transcendental ground of its existence,” mostly.


Smith review, cont.

  • Heaven= ancestors

  • “Though the spirits should not be neglected, people should come first.”

  • Don’t worry about heaven until this world is good- “One world at a time.”

  • Obligations to present family more important than to ancestors.

  • Once worked on being here, can work on uniting with Heaven.


Plato’s Republic

  • “Until either philosophers become kings or those now called kings and regents become genuine philosophers, so that political power and philosophy coincide and the many natures that now enter exclusively on one or the other are constrained from so doing, there will be no end to the evils, dear Glaucon, for cities nor, I think, for the human race, and this regime we’ve gone through in words will never grow into possibility and see the light of the sun.”


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