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Lecture 15

01:840:211 Lecture 15: Confucianism and the Mengzi II

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Lecture 15: Confucianism and the Mengzi II CONFUCIAN SACRIFICIALRITUALS -According to ancient Chinese ideology, upon birth human beings are comprised of two spirits: – Hun (魂), a spirit from Heaven associated with yang (light/ masculine complimentary) energies - Po (魄), a spirit from Earth associated with yin (dark/ feminine complimentary) energies - Upon death the hun spirit ascends to Heaven, whereas the po spirit dissipates into the Earth - During traditional Confucian ritual sacrifices, the living invoke these spirits of the dead through music (for the hun) and wine (for the po), and then make a sacrificial oblation (e.g. of an ox, pig, and/or goat). - The aim of these sacrifices was to show reverence to Heaven, Earth, or to the dead, whether Kongzi himself or ancestors. The correct performance of sacrifice was also thought to promote the devestpment of virtue. -By the 1 century CE, Chinese emperors thndated that sacrifices to Confucius be undertaken in all educational institutions, and in the 7 century CE the emperor ordered that Confucian temples be constructed in all districts to house sacrifices, further expanding Confucianism as a state ritual cult - Note that in later neo-Confucianism, only the Emperor himself could sacrifice directly to Heaven. The cult of Heaven was officially restricted as a state cult REN, “GOODNESS” - The virtue of ren develops through the proper practice of li ritual. - Ren serves as the foundation for the cultivation of other Confucian virtues such as righteousness, loyalty, and faithfulness, etc. - Ren, like all Confucian virtues, is cultivated through appropriate ritual, especially through interpersonal hierarchical relationships, of which there are five, each composed ofyang(light, masculine, dominating)and yin (shade,feminine,submissive)oppositions: 1. Father and son 2. Ruler and subject 3. Husband and wife 4. Elder and younger brother Friend and friend -Ofthesethefather-sonrelationshipwasofutmostimportance,whichstressedmodesofproper ritual action within the family, especially filial piety (孝 xiao). - The performance of ritual and the development of ren and other virtues is characterized as a way of serving Heaven THE RECITIFICATION OF NAMES -According to Confucian doctrine, each member of society was thus obligated to a specific mode of comportment towards others that was mandated by their position in such hierarchical relationships. A king must rule his subjects benevolently, whereas subjects must show due respect and deference toward their (legitimate) sovereign -Kongzi and later Mencius proposed that the solution to ethical and political decay could be found in a program of reform they called “The Rectification of Names” (正名 zhengming), according to which each member of society should strive to act according to the ritual rules stipulated bythe title of their social role. To be deserving of the title, a king must act as an ideal “king,” a father as an ideal “father,” a wife as a “wife,” and so forth. Chaos is a symptom of the mismatch between names and social ritual (li) behavior MENGZI - Name means “
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