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Confucianism by Munira Seylaa


I have chosen to write about Confucianism and I first heard of it in one of the lectures. It was not entirely discussed into details so I had to research and find out more about it myself. When I first heard of Confucianism i thought the root word of this word is ‘confuse.’ Then I researched about it and I found out that confuse is a Latin word and so does Confucius and this is the name that the western people have given to the Chinese philosopher. But the correct translation of Confucius is written as Kong Qui in Chinese.

Confucianism is the moral and religious system of China. Its origins go back to the Analects. The teachings were based on Confucius teachings, and to ancient commentaries, including that of Mencius.

In its early form Confucianism was primarily a system of ethical precepts for the proper management of society. It portrayed man as essentially a social creature who is bound to his fellows by jen, a term often rendered as “humanity,” or “human-kind-ness.” Jen is expressed through the five relations—sovereign and subject, parent and child, elder and younger brother, husband and wife, and friend and friend. Of these, the filial relation is usually stressed.

The relations are made to function smoothly by an exact adherence to li, which denotes a combination of etiquette and ritual. In some of these relations a person may be superior to some and inferior to others. If a person in a subordinate status wishes to be properly treated that person must—applying a principle similar to the Golden Rule—treat his or her own inferiors with propriety. However, correct conduct, proceeds not through compulsion, but through a sense of virtue inculcated by observing suitable models of deportment. The ruler, as the moral exemplar of the whole state, must be irreproachable, but a strong obligation to be virtuous rests upon all.

The early philosophers recognized that the epochal “great commonwealth,” the union of mankind under ethical rule, would take a long time to achieve, but believed that it might be constantly advanced by practicing the “rectification of names.” This is the critical examination of the degree to which the behaviour of a functionary or an institution corresponds to its name; thus, the title of king should not be applied to one who exacts excessive taxes, and the criticism of the undeserving claimant should force him to reform.

Basically, teachings of Confucianism stress the importance of education for moral development of the individual so that the state can be governed by moral virtue rather than by the use of coercive laws. It is also taught that Confucians should live their lives according to the 5 Virtues. The Five Virtues are; bivalence and humanity, honesty and uprightness, knowledge, faithfulness and integrity, and correct behavior  These five virtues created a basis in which each disciple had to try and live his/her lives accordingly in order to live a healthy life in harmony.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

Munira Seylaa 🙂

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