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Confucianism is an ethical and philosophical system of human conduct founded by K'ung Fu Tzu (551-479 BC), also known as Confucius. Confucius was a political theorist and philosopher with comparative influence in the East to that of Socrates in the West. Being an educator, the process of education was of great importance to Confucius and in it he saw a path to public service. Serving in many different government posts, such as the Minister of Public Works, he eventually ended up as Minister of Crime in Lu, China.

During his 12-year self-imposed exile he gained many students of his teachings, returning to Lu at 67 and living until the age of 72.

The Four Books (Sishu)

Canonized in 1190 AD by the Neo-Confucian philosopher Zhu Xi, these books became the great Chinese classic known as Sishu ("Four Books"). Eventually exorcising an intense influence so much so that between 1313 to 1905 AD the books were used for civil service examinations.

The Four Books are as follows:

  1. The Great Learning. A chapter from the Classic of Rites.
  2. The Doctrine of the Mean. A chapter from the Classic of Rites.
  3. The Analects of Confucius.
  4. The Mencius. Conversations between Mencius and some contemporary kings.

The Book of Rites, Classic of Rites, the Record of Rites, Liki, or Li Ch'i is one of the Chinese Five Classics of the Confucian canon.

Great Learning

Doctrine of the Mean

Analects of Confucius (Lunyu)

The Lunyu or one of the four ancient Chinese Confucius texts and in English means, "The Analects of Confucius." The Lunyu are a record of the words and acts of Confucius and his closest followers.


The Five Classics

Classic of Changes

Classic of Poetry

Classic of Rites

Classic of History

Spring and Autumn Annals

See Also

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External Links