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Ch 4: World Religion: Confucianism

About This Chapter

Watch online video lessons and learn about the teachings of Master Kung, Mencius, Hsun-tzu and more. Take advantage of the short quizzes that accompany each lesson to track your progress.

World Religion: Confucianism - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Explore this belief system's basic tenets and follow Confucianism's development, from its origins in the 6th century BCE to the contributions of neo-Confucian thinkers, such as Chu Hsi and Wang Yang-ming. You can also learn how Confucianism became China's state religion during the Han Dynasty and chart its eventual decline. Lessons in this chapter are designed to teach you how to:

  • Describe Confucianism's five relationships
  • Identify the significance of Jen, Li and Te
  • Compare and contrast schools of Confucian thought
  • Explain the influence of Confucianism on Chinese government
  • Discuss the practice of Confucianism in Korea and Japan

Video Objectives
The Founding of Confucianism: Overview & Influence Get a short biography of Master Kung and explore Confucianism's tie to the decline of Chinese feudalism.
Jen, Li and the Five Relationships of Confucianism Explain the concept of Jen and Li and list the five relationships of Confucianism.
Te: The Ethics and Rituals of Confucianism Describe Confucianism as a code of conduct.
The Ancestor Cult and the Dual Soul Discuss ancestor worship and the concept of the dual soul. Define po and hun.
Mencius Teachings and the Mandate of Heaven Examine the life and teachings of Mencius. Explore his belief that earthly rulers are mediators between heaven and their people.
Teachings of Hsun-tzu and the Evils of Man Survey the teachings of Hsun-tzu and outline his disagreement with the teachings of Mencius and Confucius.
Tung Chung-shu: Confucianism in the Han Dynasty Study the teachings of Tung Chung-shu during the era in which Confucianism becomes part of the state orthodox religion.
Neo-Confucianism, Chu Hsi vs. Wang Yang-ming Consider the teachings of Chu Hsi and the replacement of the Five Classics with the Four Books. Examine the introduction of tai-chi into the practice of Confucianism.
The Decline of Confucianism and the Republic of China Summarize how Confucianism lost its place as the orthodox state religion of China.
The Confucianism of Japan and Korea Discover the ways in which Confucianism manifests itself in these countries.
Confucianism and Women Assess how gender roles play out in Confucianism.

11 Lessons in Chapter 4: World Religion: Confucianism
The Founding of Confucianism: Overview & Influence

1. The Founding of Confucianism: Overview & Influence

This lesson will explain the origins of Confucianism by highlighting the life and times of Master Kung, known today as Confucius. In doing so, it will focus on feudalism in China as well as the principle of jen.

Jen, Li, and the Five Relationships of Confucianism

2. Jen, Li, and the Five Relationships of Confucianism

This lesson will focus on Confucianism's concepts of Jen and Li. In doing so, it will highlight how the religion is often seen as a code of conduct or an ethical system. It will also explain the Five Key Relationships of Confucianism.

Te: The Ethics and Rituals of Confucianism

3. Te: The Ethics and Rituals of Confucianism

This lesson will seek to explain Confucianism's virtue of Te as it pertains to rulers. In doing so, it will explore the origins of Confucianism while also highlighting the ritual of filial piety and the concept of Chun-tzu.

The Ancestor Cult and the Dual Soul

4. The Ancestor Cult and the Dual Soul

This lesson will explain filial piety and its relationship to ancestor veneration. In doing so, it will highlight the Po and Hun of Confucianism's dual soul, while also discussing the funeral rites that accompany this belief.

Mencius Teachings and the Mandate of Heaven

5. Mencius Teachings and the Mandate of Heaven

This lesson will focus on the ancient Confucius philosopher known as Mencius. In doing so, it will highlight the idealized form of Confucianism, the concept of Jen and the political theory known as the Mandate of Heaven.

Teachings of Hsun-tzu and the Evils of Man

6. Teachings of Hsun-tzu and the Evils of Man

This lesson will focus on the teachings of Hsun-tzu. In doing so, it will explore how his philosophies on the nature of man differ from those of Confucius and Mencius. It will also highlight the concepts of Jen and Li.

Tung Chung-shu: Confucianism in the Han Dynasty

7. Tung Chung-shu: Confucianism in the Han Dynasty

This lesson will focus on the life of Tung Chung-shu. In doing so, it will explain his role in elevating Confucianism to the forefront of the Han Dynasty. It will also explain the concept of Jen and the emperor as Son of Heaven.

Neo-Confucianism, Chu Hsi vs. Wang Yang-ming

8. Neo-Confucianism, Chu Hsi vs. Wang Yang-ming

This lesson will seek to explain the philosophies of Neo-Confucianism. In doing so, it will highlight the theories of Chu-Hsi and Wang Yang-ming. It will also explain the origins of the Four Books and the principle of the Great Ultimate.

The Decline of Confucianism and the Republic of China

9. The Decline of Confucianism and the Republic of China

This lesson will focus on the decline of Confucianism within the Republic of China. In doing so, it will highlight the concepts of Jen and filial piety. It will also explore the role of and the influence of the Three Principles of the People.

The Confucianism of Japan and Korea

10. The Confucianism of Japan and Korea

This lesson will focus on the Confucianism of Korea and Japan. In doing so, it will highlight the importance of the Five Key Relationships and filial piety. It will also explore the role feudalism played in the development of Japanese Confucianism.

Confucianism and Women

11. Confucianism and Women

This lesson will discuss the role and position of women in ancient Confucianism. In doing so, it will explore the writings of the Analects for Women while also defining the terms cult of chastity and patriarchal society.

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