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Confucianism is developed from the teachings of Confucius and his disciples. Confucius attempted to add a moral dimension to many accepted ideas, beliefs, and social categories. For Confucius, "Dao" meant the "moral Way". He believed that a virtuous life would bring people into harmony with the "way". Confucius promoted his own concepts of what proper moral behaviour should be.

Confucian ethical teachings:
Jen is the keynote of Confucian ethics. Jen variously translated as "love", "goodness", "humanity", and "human-heartedness". It is the highest Confucian virtue which represents human qualities at their best. In human relations, Jen is manifested in Chung , faithfulness to oneself and others. Other important Confucian virtues include:
De : virtue and good manners.
Hsiao : love within the family, such as love of parents for their children and of children for their parents.
Li : includes ritual, propriety, etiquette, etc.
Shu : altruism which means do not do to others what you do not want other done to yourself.
Wen : peace.
Xin : honesty and trustworthiness.
Yi : righteousness.
zhi : wisdom.

The Five Relationships:
The Five Relationships are the basis of all social connections between persons. They are parents and children, husband and wife, elder brother and younger brother, ruler and subject and friend and friend. In each of the relationships, the superior member (parents, husband, etc.) has the duty of benevolence and care for the subordinate member (children, wife, etc.). The subordinate member has the duty of obedience. The only exception might be the relationship between friend and friend, which may actually involve equality. Unless, one is older than the other, which would turn it into a relationship like that between older and younger brother. With this system, the ideas of loyalty, truthfulness and filial piety can achieve a peaceful and ordered society.

Yin and Yang:
The Yin is conceived of as earth, dark, negative and feminine, Yang is conceived of as heaven, light, positive and musculine. They complement one another. The concept of yin-yang is associated in Chinese thought with the idea of the five elements (Wu hsing)--metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. These ideas are belief of interdependence between the world of nature and human events. Yin and Yang symbolize harmony.

Principles of Confucianism:
The principles of Confucianism are contained in the nine ancient Chinese works handed down by Confucius and his followers.These writings can be divided into two groups: the Four Books and Five Classics. These were assembled by Chu Hsi (1130-1200 CE) during the Sung dynasty.

The Si Shu (Four Books) contain the sayings of Confucius and Mencius and commentaries by followers on their teachings. They are the Lun Yu, Chung Yung, Ta Hsueh and Meng Tzu. The Lun Yu (Analects) is a collection of maxims by Confucius that form the basis of his moral and political philosophy.
The Chung Yung (The Doctrine of the Mean) and Ta Hsueh (The Great Learning) contain some of Confucius's philosophical utterances arranged with comments and explainations by his disciples.
The Meng Tzu (Book of Mencius) is the writings of Meng Tzu (371-289BCE) He was one of Confucius's great followers who traveled from state to state conversing with the government rulers.

The Wu Jing (Five Classics) were originated before the time of Confucius, were works from the Zhou Dynasty. The Five Classics consist of the Yi Jing, Shu Jing, Shi Jing, Li Jing, and Chun Chiu. These are the classics which centuries of Chinese scholars studied to gain the coveted position of government official.

The Yi Jing (Classic of Changes) was used for foretelling the future. It was an oracle used to analyze situations and to decide the proper course of action. The Yi Jing contained 64 hexagrams which each represented a certain stage in the circle of the universe. The concept is the universe moving in cycles. The Chinese would apply the idea of cycles to their concepts of time, life, and people. Life was cycle, moving upwards from birth to peak and then declining into death. The rule of dynasties moved in cycles too. As a result, everything is related to each other.

The Shu Jing (Classic of History) is a collection of ancient documents and political science in Chinese history. History is regarded as a way for humanity to reflect on past events and learn from them. The Shu Jing also introduces the concept of the Mandate of Heaven that Heaven chooses who is worthy to rule according to virtue. If a ruler is lacking in virtue, it is acceptable for a more virtuous dynasty to rise and take over.

The Shi Jing (Classic of Poetry) is the earliest literary tradition of China. It is a collection of songs and poetry from imperial poets and farming peasants. The songs ranged from political protests to love poems to drinking songs but in the Confucian tradition many are the illustrations of people's feeling towards the government.

The Li Jing (Classic of Rites) deals with the principles of conduct. It stems from Confucius's near-obsession with ritual. Ritual is the central to Confucianism. The Classic of Rites regulates interpersonal relationships--civil behaviour. According to Confucius, ritual was important because it was what separated humans from animals. It reinforced the concept of universal order, the social hierarchy, and the order of the state.

The Chun Chiu (Classic and Autumn Annals) is a chronicle of major historical events compiled by Confucius himself from his home state of Lu between the years of 782 BC and 481 BC.

Resources: Dr. Meredith Sprunger -,5716,13508+asmbly_id,00.html

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