The confucian moral and ritual theory and practice

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Philosophy

Document 1

In his teachings, the philosopher based his ideologies on a system of social and political philosophy passed on to a group of disciples, who later collected the teachings in a book referred to as the Analects. According to Confucius, his ideologies were not new innovation but were only a recapture of past experiences. People had left righteousness for wrong and it would be his sole responsibility to restore ethical ways of life. Contemporary historians think that the teachings of Confucius must have been revolutionary to an extent since when he died, Chinese government officials embarked on the destruction of his books by burning and persecuting Confucian scholars. Despite the sabotage and attempts to finish Confucianism, it was later acknowledged as one of the most influential state religions in China, lasting for many years as it influenced major development of the people.

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The rituals observed in daily life, according to the Chinese philosopher, helped shape relationships and social cohesion overall. When people engaged in quasi-religious activities such as the veneration of ancestors or based their communication on etiquette, certain mutual obligations were arising from members of the distinct social relationships involved that promoted the right social interaction. As such, observing the simple rules of socialism would promote harmony in a community, where people would live united in a just society. The need to follow rituals is highly emphasized in the social teachings of Confucianism. According to Confucius, people should respect ritual and look for nothing that demeans or defies ritual. According to the philosopher, the ruler would inherit the audacity to rule further from the Kingdom of Heaven by being a just ruler, free from injustice.

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In his thoughts, the political systems had failed since powerful people in leadership positions assumed roles they were not worth partaking. Paradoxically, every leader or person needed to be accountable for a particular role and position they assumed. Good governance, therefore, meant people effectively discharged their mandate as assigned to them within the political system. He stated, ''Good government consists in the ruler being a ruler, the minister being a minister, the father being a father, and the son being a son. The commitment to study and transmission of ancient classics is a distinct feature associated with Confucianism and which separates it from other traditions. As a celebrated sage, the influence Confucius had in passing knowledge about the traditional Chinese culture is unmatched.

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As a result of his influence, many scholars emerged and took over the spread of Confucius doctrines through writing and word of mouth, gaining recognition across different spheres. Through further learning, Confucianism has challenged the threat of persecution and suppression to maintain a reputation as one of the most recognized state religions (Yao and Hsin-chung 29). According to the teachings of Confucius, an educated community would be free from exploitation, oppression and other unfair dealings (Confucius teachings 1). The Canonical Book of Songs enriched with an array of beautiful poems formed a credible background to moral education, according to the Confucian theory. In conclusion, the ideologies of Confucianism are confounded on the principles of morality and well being. While growing up, Confucius experienced many challenges arising from poor leadership that did not obey the fundamental rules of humanity.

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