Period of the Warring States (Huston Smith, 160):
A turbulent period of social unrest and continuous warfare. By Confucius’ time, the horror of surprise
attacks and sudden raids resulted in mass slaughters of 60, 000, 80, 00, and even 400,000.
Kung Fu-tzu / Confucius (551-479 BCE):
The first teacher of Confucianism, known in Chinese as Kongzi. Confucius is a Latinized form of Kung Fu-
tzu (literally: “Kung the Master”). Born in humble circumstances in the state of Lu, he was privileged in
having a good education. He married at 19 and divorced at 23. He started a school in his house and by
the time of his death he had trained about 3, 000 men. He died at the age of 72 while editing the
Realists / Han fei Tzu (Huston Smith, 164):
“In short, the Realists’ answer to the problem of social order was: laws with teeth in them.” In other
words, in the end it is brute force that rules. The only way to avoid universal violence in a society
composed of self-seeking individuals is to maintain an effective militia that stands ready to push people
back in line when they get out of order. There must be laws that state clearly what is and what is not
permitted. Moreover, the penalties for violating the law must be such that no one will dare to incur
them. Those who did what the state commanded were rewarded; those who did not were punished.
Their chief theorist: Han fei Tzu.
Mohism / Mo Tzu [Idealism] (Huston Smith 166):
Mohism is a social philosophy based on the universal application of familial love. It is known as Mohism
because its principal spokesperson or theorist is Mo Tzu or Mo Ti. His philosophy was that the solution
to China’s social problem was not force but universal love (chien ai).
Deliberate Tradition (Huston Smith, 172):
Confucius’ great project; it is based on the study of the classics. It requires attention first to maintain its
force in the face of the increased individualism that threatens to erode it. This Confucius regarded as
the main responsibility of education in its broadest sense. But, second, it requires that attention be
given to the content of that education” (172).
1. Jen (Huston Smith, 172) – names the ideal relationship that should exist between people.
Translated here as “human-heartedness.” According to Confucius, this was the best and most
important of the virtues – “the virtue of virtues”.
2. Chun tzu (Huston Smith, 173) – translated as the “Superior Person” and “Humanity-at-its-Best.”
Means gentleman or noble person – that is, what a person should try to be.
3. Li (Huston Smith, 174) – it has two meanings: propriety (the way things should be done) and
rite/ritual. a. Rectification of Names: Descriptive terms all have a normative component; requires
“the creation of a language in which key nouns carry the meanings they should carry if
life is to be well ordered.” The example “everyone is a student. He is really a student”
– it means that he follows the ideal of what a student should do.
b. The Five Constant Relationships: demonstrates the importance of family in
Confucianism. “It is vital to the health of society that these key relationships be rightly
i. Parent and Child – loving and reverential
ii. Husband and Wife – good and ‘listening’
iii. Elder sibling and junior sibling – gentle and respectful
iv. Elder friend and junior friend – considerate and deferential