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Mount Allison University
Religious Studies
RELG 1681
Sam Borsman

Confucianism  the book of Confucius' sayings often begins with "Confucius says"  the term "Confucianism" can be misleading: o in Asia, called "The way of the scholars" o very little focus on "salvation," "revelation," or "other-worldly" goals o practical focus on social and political ethics o not a "religion" that one begins to exclusively:  rather, contains political and social thinking that was adopted by East Asian Buddhists, Daoists, etc  Confucius (551-479 BCE) was born and lived during the Spring and Autumn period of the Zhou Dynasty o old social order was breaking down, China was divided into independent states vying for power o return to old value would create a harmonious society  Confucius traveled from state to state, giving political advice to rulers o when this failed, he focused on educating scholars who, he hoped, would be able to pass it on to their leaders  Confucius believed that the disorder and chaos of his times was the reult of lack of respect for tradition, particularly the traditions of the early Zhoi kings o an important concept linked to tradition is li translated in English as "rites" "rituals" "etiquette" "propriety" o li includes religious rituals (ie. sacrifices to Heaven, ancestor veneration, funerals, music) but it also includes social and political etiquette o a king cannot rule without mastery of and respect for li o while rulers and the people must follow forrect forms of li, this is not blind obedience to tradition o respect for li must be governed by ren, translated into English as "benevolence" or "human heartedness"  li without ren, ritual without proper human emotion and intention, is empty "If a person lacks benevolence, what is the value of performing rituals?" - The Analects 3:3  a good ruler is a role model for the people- should embody benevolence and compassion, has thoroughly mastered all the forms of social etiquette o the ruler follows li and embodies ren and the people will follow him willingly o a cultural and moral role-model o ideally, there is no need for coercion or intimidation or the people  Confucius believed that respect for tradition and empathy for people were virtues that a
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