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Humanities LibreTexts

5.1: Confucianism: Introduction

  • Page ID
    23237
  • For those who wish to listen to information on the world’s religions here is a listing of PODCASTS on RELIGIONS by Cynthia Eller.

    If you have iTunes on your computer just click and you will be led to the listings.
    http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=117762189&s=143441

    Here is a link to the site for the textbook REVEALING WORLD RELIGIONS related to which these podcasts were made.http://thinkingstrings.com/Product/WR/index.html  

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    The Philosopher Confucius   551-479 B.C. was a scholar and a teacher and a great thinker. He was of a tradition that studied the previous great works.  He was one of the “literati”.  He studied and reflected on and taught the “literature” at the center of Chinese culture in its formative period.  He consolidated the ancient texts and contributed commentaries upon them.  He spoke about and answered questions about the most serious matters of concern to human beings.   Confucianism is humanism, a philosophy or attitude that is concerned with human beings,  their achievements and interests, rather than with the abstract beings and problems of theology. In Confucianism man is the center of the universe: man cannot live alone, but with other human beings. For human beings, the ultimate goal is individual happiness. The necessary condition to achieve happiness is through peace. To obtain peace, Confucius discovered human relations consisting of the five relationships which are based on love and duties. War has to be abolished; and the Great Unity of the world should be developed. 

    The tradition which developed following his work and teachings came to bear his name.  He did not express any desire to create a way of life but his influence was so great that it could not be ignored of forgotten.    The tradition which developed is usually considered as a religion in as much as it does exhibit the characteristics of a religion, although there are many raised in the West who have doubts about calling Confucianism a “religion” because t does not have a deity or deities that feature prominently in the tradition.  On the other hand it does convey clearly what matters most and and it does hold the focus on humanity and basic human virtues as being of “ultimate concern” and thus has an idea or concept of an Absolute which serves as bedrock belief for an entire way of life.

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