Texts 1 - 41
Texts 42 - 82
Texts 83 -
Texts 124 -
Texts 165 -
Texts 206 -
Texts 247 -
Texts 288 -
Texts 329 -
Texts 370 -
Texts 411 -
Texts 452 -
Texts 493 -
Texts 534 -
Texts 575 -
Texts 616 -
Texts 657 -
Texts 698 -
Texts 739 -
Texts 780 -
The Doctrine of the Mean
The Great Learning
Humor and fun
Holy Confucian Analects
Analects of Confucius, written in twenty chapters, is thought to
be a composition of the late Spring and Autumn Period. It is
undoubtedly the most influential text in East Asian intellectual
history, collecting maxims and short discussions between
Confucius and his disciples. Many of them take sense in an
historically well-defined context. It is within this work that
most of the basic framework regarding Confucian values such as
humaneness, righteousness, filial piety, and propriety is
interpretation of Confucianism has generally been considered the
orthodox version by subsequent Chinese philosophers, especially
the Neo-Confucians of the Song dynasty. Mencius (also spelled
Mengzi or Meng-tzu), a book of his conversations with kings of
the time, is one of the Four books which form the core of
orthodox Confucian thinking. In contrast to the sayings of
Confucius which are short and self-contained, Mencius consists
of long dialogues with extensive prose.
Doctrine of the Mean
The Doctrine of
the Mean is one of the Four Books, part of the confucean
canonical scriptures. Like the Great Learning, it is now part of
the Records of Rites. It is said to be a composition by
Confucius' grandson Kong Ji, called Zisi. The purpose of this
small 23 chapter book is to demonstrate the usefulness of a
golden way to gain perfect virtue. If focuses on the "way" (dao)
that is prescribed by a heavenly mandate not only to the ruler
but to everyone.
The Great Learning
The Great Learning
is the first of the Four books which were selected by Zhu Xi in
the Song Dynasty as a foundational introduction to Confucianism.
It was originally one chapter in Li Ji (the Classic of Rites).
The book consists of a short main text, attributed to Confucius
and nine commentaries chapters by Zeng Zi, one of Confucius'
disciples. Its importance is illustrated by Zeng Zi's foreward
that this is the gateway of learning. The Great Learning is
significant because it expresses many themes of Chinese
philosophy and political thinking has therefore been extremely
influential both in classical and modern Chinese thought
tradition and way of life propagated by Confucius in the 6th-5th
century BC and followed by the Chinese for more than two
Though not organized as a religion, it has deeply influenced
East Asian spiritual and political life in a comparable manner.
The core idea is ren ("humaneness," "benevolence"), signifying
excellent character in accord with li (ritual norms), zhong
(loyalty to one's true nature), shu (reciprocity), and xiao
(filial piety). Together these constitute de (virtue).
Mencius, Xunzi, and others sustained Confucianism, but it was
not influential until Dong Zhongshu emerged in the 2nd century
BC. Confucianism was then recognized as the Han state cult, and
the Five Classics became the core of education. In spite of the
influence of Taoism and Buddhism, Confucian ethics have had the
strongest influence on the moral fabric of Chinese society.
A revival of Confucian thought in the 11th century resulted in
Neo-Confucianism, a major influence in Korea during the Choson
dynasty and in Japan during the Edo period.
water symbol - Though this worldview [confucianism] is
recognized as one of the eleven main living religions, it has no
standard symbol or icon representing its belief system. Quite
often, though, this Chinese ideogram for water is utilized. It
represents the 'source of life' in Chinese philosophy.
Confucius (traditionally 551 BCE-479 BCE) was a famous thinker
and social philosopher of China, whose teachings have deeply
influenced East Asia for centuries.
Living in the Spring and Autumn period (a time when feudal
states fought against each other), he was convinced of his
ability to restore the world's order, and failed. After much
travelling around China to promote his ideas among rulers, he
eventually became involved in teaching disciples.
His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality,
correctness of social relationships, and justice and sincerity.
These values gained prominence in China after being chosen among
other doctrines such as Legalism or Taoism during the Han
dynasty. Used since then as the imperial orthodoxy, Confucius'
thoughts have been developed into a vast and complete
philosophical system known in the west as Confucianism.
Mencius (most accepted dates: 372-289 BCE; other possible dates:
385 BC/302 BCE), also known by his birth name Meng Ke or Ko, was
born in the State of Zou, now forming the territory of the
county-level city of Zoucheng, Shandong province, only thirty
kilometres (eighteen miles) south of Qufu, Confucius'
He was an itinerant Chinese philosopher and sage, and one of the
principal interpreters of Confucianism. Like Confucius,
according to legend, he travelled China for forty years to offer
advice to rulers for reform.