During superior or being obedient to one’s family.
During the time in which Hinduism and
Buddhism were the over-ruling religions in China, Confucianism was being born.
Confucius, the founder, was born September 28th 551BC. He grew up in
extreme poverty. Although his family was poor and could not afford good
schooling or supplies, Confucius still excelled in his education. There are few
records about his childhood. A Chinese teacher, editor, philosopher and
politician were what he grew up to be. Three main questions about Confucianism
are: how was it founded, what Confucianism is and how it affected society.
In the same way that Jesus Christ was
not the founder of Christianity, Confucius was not the founder of Confucianism.
Confucius lived in an era of a psychological crisis in China. He believed China
was being run by dishonest and rude people. Even though Traditional ways faded
away, it did not subside their plausible likelihood to return. Moral values and
or ethics were what he thought China needed to change back to. In his own
opinion, these old morals were the only to get China back in order. For the
admirable civilization of the Western Zhou Dynasty, Confucius work greatly. He
saw himself as a conservationist responsible for the ongoing nature of cultural
values and the conventional foundations of social structure. At the age of
fifty-six, Confucius left China to find another feudal state to accept his new
way of life. Confucianism uses old ethics and practices which entirely make up
Because Confucius felt China was being
run by vulgar people, he wanted to start using the old ethics to return them to
order. Some of the basic guidelines included: a king should lead by example,
inspiring good behavior in the townspeople and fathers should display higher
moral value to inspire their family. Majority of the rules of Confucianism
where about following the example supplied by the superior or being obedient to
one’s family. Other than these simple guidelines there was also the ethics.
They were tremendously important to the religion. The ethics were described as
humanistic and were organized into five constants. These five constants
consisted of: Rén (humaneness), Yi (righteousness), Lî (proper), Zhi
(knowledge) and Xin (integrity). Humaneness is considered the essence of being
a human, enriched by heaven. “Do not do to others as you would not wish done to
yourself”, is the focus of Rén. Right incorporates the entirety of human
interaction between humanity, human objects, and nature. Within the discussions
of Li, topics such as: learning, tea drinking, titles, mourning and governance
appeared. When concerning loyalty, Confucius did not say “might makes right”,
but rather your superior shall be obeyed because of his morally correct
behaviour or thought process. Loyalty does not equal subservience to authority.
Another important aspect that is not part of the five constants is Xiáo (Filial
Piety). Filial Piety is the virtue of respect for one’s family and ancestors.
It focuses on being good to one’s parents, including: taking care core of them
and enroll in good conduct. Xiáo also means: to not be rebellious, show love,
respect, support and mourn for your family’s sickness or death. Returning to
these old practices effected the society greatly.
had many effects on Chinese society. During his travels to different regions,
Confucius became a respected teacher. Ideas were passed down by his students.
His ideas and thoughts were collected into a book called The Analects. The book
mostly likely took around thirty to fifty years to write. The unstructured
formality of the analects led to scholars believing it was written by many
authors, not just one. If someone did not know The Analects, they were considered
uneducated. For two-thousand years The Analects were the focus of Chinese
education. The book was the foundation for Chinese education up until the communist
take-over. Confucianism and The Analects were disapproved by the government.
Despite the new government, Confucianism was still an important part of Chinese
society. Because it was so rooted into their culture, it still plays a major
part in their lives. Some of the ethics are still used today.