PHL237H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Filial Piety, Rites Of Zhou, Analects
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Classical Confucianism: 3 Phases
• First phase: Confucius, one of the ru, taught largest number of students (3000)
• Second Phase: From Zisi to Mencius
• Third Phase: Xunzi
Confucianism or Rujia 儒家
• Confucianism, in the West, means literally the school of thought and practice that was
founded by Confucius. In Chinese, it is called Rujia 儒家, a term first used by the Grand
Historian Sima Qian 司馬遷
• Those who served in Spring and Autumn as middle range officers working in the areas
of education and public rites. Later, they lost their office and earned their living as
teacher of rites and ritual coordinator. They taught the six arts: ritual, music, arching,
driving, writing and calculating.
• Kong Qiu 孔丘.“Confucius” is the Latinized name for Kong Fuzi 孔夫子(Master Kong).
Born in the state of Lu in a noble family that fled from the state of Sung, he was
orphaned at the age of three. Confucius’s early life was humble, while he made great
effort to learn
• a “ru” 儒 and founder of the Ru Jia 儒家, or School of Ru
• Confucius organized his teaching materials into six parts: Book of Poetry, Book of
Documents, Books of Rites, Book of Changes, Book of Music, Annals of Spring and
Autumn, later named the “Six Classics.” (Now only Five, Book of Music lost)
• His philosophy laid the philosophical foundation of li.
• “In the Book of Poetry there are three hundred poems. But the essence of them can be
covered in the phrase ‘have no depraved thoughts.”
The Analects (Lunyu 論語)
• Compiled conversations of Confucius with disciples and visitors recorded by his
disciples and their followers.
• “Zizhang asked about proper conduct. The Master replied, “Make good your words, and
be earnest and respectful in your deeds, …” …Zizhang wrote the words down on his
Confucius on himself
• When I was young, I was in humble circumstances, and therefore I acquired much
ability to do the simple thing of humble folk.
• At fifteen my mind was set on learning. At thirty I took my stand; at forty I came to be
free from perplexities; at fifty, I realized the Mandate of Heaven; at sixty, my ears are at
ease with whatever I heard; at seventy, I could follow my heart’s desires without
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overstepping the boundaries.(2.4)
Focus: Self and Many Others
• The Master said, “To learn, and at due times to practice what one has learned, is that
not also a pleasure? To have classmates/friends (peng 朋) come from afar, is it not also
a joy? To go unrecognized, yet without being embittered, is that not also to be a junzi?”
• The Master said, “ A young man is to be filial within his family and respectful outside.
He is to be earnest and faithful, overflowing in his love for people and intimate with
who are humane. If after such practice he has strength to spare, he may use it in the
study of culture.(1.6)
• a virtue of “being good to one’s parents” (善於父母為孝) or those who have raised one
up, so as to maintain a loving and respectful relation to them.
Reciprocity of love as internal reason of filial piety
• Zaiwo: If for three years the junzi doesn’t perform the rites and music, these will fall
into neglect. The old grain will have been exhausted; the new grain will have sprung up.
A year is enough.
• Confucius: If you feel at ease, then do it. But a junzi in mourning feels no pleasure in
eating, music and dwelling…Only when a child is three years old does it leave its
External: social function of filial piety
• You Zi said, “Among those who are filial and fraternal, rare are those inclined to offend
against their superiors. Among those who are yet disinclined to offend against their
superiors, never will any be inclined to create disorder. A Junzi (superior man) works on
the beginning/root. When the beginning/root is established, the Way is rising. Indeed,
filial piety and brotherly love are the root or humaneness!”
Confucius as Educator
1. Focus on world of living, not dead
“You are not yet able to serve people, how could you be able to serve ghosts and spirits?
You do not yet understand life, how could you possible understand death?”
2. Reviving the Past
“I transmit rather than innovate. I trust in and love the ancient ways”
3. Family‐centric values—ideas of filial piety, uprightness, loyalty
“Among my people, those whom we consider upright are different from this: fathers cov
er up for their sons, and sons cover up for their fathers
4. Rituals and Ritual Propriety (li 禮)—sincerity of emotion
“The child cannot leave the arms of its parents until it is three years old. This is why
mourning for three years is universally observed throughout the world.”
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