RLG100Y1 Lecture Notes - Religion In China

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23 Mar 2011
Reading: Ch. 9 “Chinese Religions,” pp. 467-498
March 23
, 2011.
3 Observations of Confucianism
1.Idea that there are 5 basic relationships in society
B/w parent and child, b/w husband and wife, b/w elder sibling and younger
sibling, b/w citizen and state (r uler and rul ed), b/w one friend and another friend
Each member of this relationship ha particular obligations, duties and privileges in
relation to other
If each member fulfills role with sincerity, then this goes to building an overall
harmonious family and s ociety
In each relationship, there is a dominant member and a receptive/subject member,
e.g. king and subjects
The onus is on the dominant figure to conduct himself with much greater
benevolence and empathy in relation to the younger, the idea is that it will inspire
a similar kind of response in the junior member of the relationship
Therefore cycle that propagates itself again in a harmonious fas hion
Society is hierarchically structured and each element of the hierarchy in
relationship with the other has its own role
Relationships are reciprocal
Meaning human heartedness
Captures the idea of how to be truly human
How to actualize ones self and become the ideal human in conduct
Concept of moral perfec tion
One can be a true sage, with exceptional wisdom
Heaven and earth work in an orderly way, e.g. seasons follow each other
How to follow orderly way in human relationships?
Achieve through practice of Li, meaning ritual
Confusion idea of ritual is that you conduct yourself in the world at all times in a
kind of conscious, r itualized fas hion
Confusion idea over time evolves extensive list of acts that should be performed of
how each individual should conduct his/herself in every situation
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