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Confucianism LEWIS HODOUS THE Confucian group has had a continuous history for about twenty-five centuries. For almost twenty centuries it has been the ruling group. During these years the Chinese built up and held together the largest social-political structure in history. While many forces cooperated in this process Confucianism was the formative one. Today at Chu-fu the descendants of Confucius are carrying on the cult to their great ancestor and the great teacher of China. According to Y. C. Yang all Chinese are basically Confucianists with a leaning toward Buddhism and Taoism. Confucianism is a modern term coined by the Catholic missionaries . The Chinese employ the term Ju-chia, literati, meaning the followers of the teaching of Confucius which was inherited from the sages of antiquity, embodied in the classics, interpreted by the commentators and philosophers, and now is in process of adjustment to the modern world. Confucius (551-479 B.C.) lived in an age when the feudal system and its institutions were dying and a new China was emerging. He was of humble origin. Up to the age of thirty-five he was unknown. He studied the ancient governments and ceremonies and established a school in which he trained a few disciples . In the latter half of his life he visited different states seeking an opportunity to put his teaching into practice, but the rulers of these states were too much occupied in holding their insecure positions to pay much attention to him. The China of his day consisted of a number of states under the Chou emperor. In the early years of the dynasty, when the royal prestige was high, the emperor was able to settle quarrels between claimants for political power in the various states. But after 800 B.C. the authority of the ruler was disregarded by the vassals. Strife and confusion followed. The strong conquered I CONFUCIANISM and absorbed the weak. The cement which held the feudal social order was cracking and disintegrating. In this situation three problems emerged. One was the prob­ lem of the source of sovereign authority. The answer of Con­ fucius to this problem was that sovereign authority roots in the mandate of Heaven. The second problem was that of the le­ gality or constitutionality of political power in the several states. Increasingly this was claimed! by several aspirants. The solution of Confucius was the restoration of the waning authority of the Chou emperor as ruler and as priest. The third difficulty was the growing confusion in the social order. To meet this Con­ fucius advocated loyalty to Heaven, to the Chou emperor, filial piety, but especially the education of rulers of character and ability. The most important contribution of Confucius was the train­ ing of disciples, who, with their successors, collected the preConfucian works, edited, and interpreted them. They also com­ piled the sayings of Confucius and Mencius and produced the Great Learning and the Doctrine of the Mean as well as nu­ merous other works. During the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) the Five Classics were assembled.1 In A.D. 252 they were engraved on stone tablets in the capital, thus providing a stand­ ard authoritative text. Later to the Five Classics were added the Four Books. 2 The two collections constitute the bible of Confucianism. COSMOLOGY Confucius left open several problems. One was that of cos­ mology. In the latter part of the fourth century B.C. the yin1 The Five Classics include: The Book of Changes, Yih Ching; The Book of Poetry, Shih Ching; The Book of History, Shu Ching; The Book of Rites, Li Chi; and Spring and Autumn, Chun Chiu. They may be found in The Chinese Classics, by James Legge. Oxford, 18931895 . 2 See Analects of Confucius, by W. E. Soothill. World's Classics, τ 937'> Analects of Confucius, by Arthur Waley London, 1938; Mencius, by L. A. Lyall. London, 1932; The Great Learning and The Mean-in­ action, by E. R. Hughes. Dent, 1942. 2 LEWIS HODOUS yang theory was formulated, and the Confucianists adopted it. According to Chu Hsi, who flourished in the thirteenth Christian century and is reckoned as the greatest Neo-Confucianist scholar, the universe and every particle in it are composed of two principles which are coeternal, infinite, distinct, but inseparable . Li, the psychic principle, is the principle of movement comparable to the elan vitale of Bergson. Chi is the material principle which gives the Li a point of contact. The two...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400877638
Related ISBN
9780691623238
MARC Record
OCLC
967589483
Pages
396
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-05
Language
English
Open Access
No
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