Confucianism n : the teachings of Confucius emphasizing love for humanity; high value given to learning and to devotion to family (including ancestors); peace; justice; influenced the traditional culture of China
- The philosophy and teaching of Confucius.
Confucianism () is an ancient Chinese ethical and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of the early Chinese philosopher Confucius (Kong Fuzi/K'ung-fu-tzu, lit. "Master Kung"). It focuses on human morality and good deeds. Confucianism is a complex system of moral, social, political, philosophical, and quasi-religious thought that has had tremendous influence on the culture and history of East Asia. Some consider it to be the state religion of East Asian countries because of governmental promotion of Confucian values.
The cultures most strongly influenced by Confucianism include those of China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and Vietnam, as well as various territories settled predominantly by Chinese people.
HistoryConfucianism was chosen by Han Wudi (141 B.C. - 86 B. C.) for use as a political system to govern the Chinese state. Despite its loss of influence during the Tang Dynasty, Confucian doctrine remained a mainstream Chinese orthodoxy for two millennia until the 20th century and it still in most part of china, when it was attacked by radical Chinese thinkers as a vanguard of a pre-modern system and an obstacle to China's modernization, eventually culminating in its repression during the Cultural Revolution in the People's Republic of China. Since the end of the Cultural Revolution, Confucianism has been revived in mainland China, and both interest in and debate about Confucianism have surged.
Confucianism as passed down to the 19th and 20th centuries derives primarily from the school of the Neo-Confucians, led by Zhu Xi, who gave Confucianism renewed vigor in the Song and later dynasties. Neo-Confucianism combined Taoist and Buddhist ideas with existing Confucian ideas to create a more complete metaphysics than had ever existed before. At the same time, many forms of Confucianism have historically declared themselves opposed to the Buddhist and Taoist belief systems.
Confucius (551 BCE – 479 BCE) was a sage and social philosopher of China whose teachings have deeply influenced East Asia, including China, Korea, and Japan for two thousand five hundred years. The relationship between Confucianism and Confucius himself, however, is tenuous. Confucius' ideas were not accepted during his lifetime and he frequently bemoaned the fact that he remained unemployed by any of the feudal lords.
As with many other prominent figures such as Jesus, Socrates, and Buddha, Confucius did not leave any writings to put forward his ideas. Instead, only texts with recollections by his disciples and their students are available. This factor is further complicated by the "Burning of the Books and Burying of the Scholars", a massive suppression of dissenting thought during the Qin Dynasty, more than two centuries after Confucius' death.
However, we can sketch out Confucius' ideas from the fragments that remain. Confucius was a man of letters who worried about the troubled times in which he lived. He went from place to place trying to spread his political ideas and influence to the many kings contending for supremacy in China.
In the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (772 BCE–221 BCE), the reigning king of the Zhou gradually became a mere figurehead. In this power vacuum, the rulers of small states began to vie with one another for military and political dominance. Deeply persuaded of the need for his mission — "If right principles prevailed through the empire, there would be no need for me to change its state" Analects XVIII, 6 — Confucius tirelessly promoted the virtues of ancient illustrious sages such as the Duke of Zhou. Confucius tried to amass sufficient political power to found a new dynasty, as when he planned to accept an invitation from a rebel to "make a Zhou dynasty in the East" (Analects XV, 5). As the common saying that Confucius was a "king without a crown" indicates, however, he never gained the opportunity to apply his ideas. He was expelled from states many times and eventually returned to his homeland to spend the last part of his life teaching. The Analects of Confucius, the closest primary source we have for his thoughts, relates his sayings and discussions with rulers and disciples in short passages. There is considerable debate over how to interpret the Analects.
Unlike most European and American philosophers, Confucius did not rely on deductive reasoning to convince his listeners. Instead, he used figures of rhetoric such as analogy and aphorism to explain his ideas. Most of the time these techniques were highly contextualized. For these reasons, European and American readers might find his philosophy muddled or unclear. However, Confucius claimed that he sought "a unity all pervading" (Analects XV, 3) and that there was "one single thread binding my way together." ([op. cit. IV, 15]). The first occurrences of a real Confucian system may have been created by his disciples or by their disciples. During the philosophically fertile period of the Hundred Schools of Thought, great early figures of Confucianism such as Mencius and Xun Zi (not to be confused with Sun Zi) developed Confucianism into an ethical and political doctrine. Both had to fight contemporary ideas and gain the ruler's confidence through argumentation and reasoning. Mencius gave Confucianism a fuller explanation of human nature, of what is needed for good government, of what morality is, and founded his idealist doctrine on the claim that human nature is good. Xun Zi opposed many of Mencius' ideas, and built a structured system upon the idea that human nature is bad and had to be educated and exposed to the rites, before being able to express their goodness for the people. Some of Xun Zi's disciples, such as Han Feizi and Li Si, became Legalists (a kind of law-based early totalitarianism, quite distant from virtue-based Confucianism) and conceived the state system that allowed Qin Shi Huang to unify China under the strong state control of every human activity. The culmination of Confucius' dream of unification and peace in China can therefore be argued to have come from Legalism, a school of thought almost diametrically opposed to his reliance on rites and virtue.
The spread of ConfucianismConfucianism survived its suppression during the Qin Dynasty partly thanks to the discovery of a trove of Confucian classics hidden in the walls of a scholar's house. After the Qin, the new Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) approved of Confucian doctrine and sponsored Confucian scholars, eventually making Confucianism the official state philosophy (see Emperor Wu of Han). Study of the Confucian classics became the basis of the government examination system and the core of the educational curriculum. No serious attempt to replace Confucianism arose until it was ejected from schools by government after the Republic of China was founded in 1912 and afterwards there were debates on it for about 15 years until the Nationalist Government was established in Nanking.
After its reformulation as Neo-Confucianism by Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming and the other Neo-Confucians, Confucianism also became accepted as state philosophies in Korea. Korea of the Joseon Dynasty has been termed a "Confucian state." http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-35013
Under the Chinese domination, Confucianism had yet to gain a position in the Vietnamese society http://www.vietnamembassy-usa.org/learn_about_vietnam/culture/beliefs_and_religions/. However, Confucianism permeated Vietnamese life after Vietnam gained independence from China in 939 http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/religions.htm#conf. As in China, an intellectual elite developed, and the principles of obedience and respect for education and authority were instilled throughout society.
In Hanoi in 1070, the establishment of the Van Mieu, a temple of learning dedicated to Confucius, marked the emergence of Confucianism as a cult. Like China, Confucianism in Vietnam reached a peak during the 15th century. Due to the need of constructing a unified nation, a centralized administration and a social order, Confucianism took the place of Buddhism to become the leading philosophy under the Le Dynasty. Confucianism took root deep into the social and political structure, the system of education and examinations and the circle of Confucian scholars gradually dominated social and moral life.
"Lead the people with administrative injunctions and put them in their place with penal law, and they will avoid punishments but will be without a sense of shame. Lead them with excellence and put them in their place through roles and ritual practices, and in addition to developing a sense of shame, they will order themselves harmoniously." (Analects II, 3)
The above explains an essential difference between legalism and ritualism and points to a key difference between European / American and East Asian societies. Confucius argues that under law, external authorities administer punishments after illegal actions, so people generally behave well without understanding reasons why they should; where as with ritual, patterns of behavior are internalized and exert their influence before actions are taken, so people behave properly because they fear shame and want to avoid losing face. In this sense, "rite" () is an ideal form of social norm.
The Chinese character for "rites" previously had the religious meaning of "sacrifice". Its Confucian meaning ranges from politeness and propriety to the understanding of each person's correct place in society. Externally, ritual is used to distinguish between people; their usage allows people to know at all times who is the younger and who the elder, who is the guest and who the host and so forth. Internally, they indicate to people their duty amongst others and what to expect from them.
Internalization is the main process in ritual. Formalized behavior becomes progressively internalized, desires are channeled and personal cultivation becomes the mark of social correctness. Though this idea conflicts with the common saying that "the cowl does not make the monk", in Confucianism sincerity is what enables behavior to be absorbed by individuals. Obeying ritual with sincerity makes ritual the most powerful way to cultivate oneself. Thus, "Respectfulness, without the Rites, becomes laborious bustle; carefulness, without the Rites, become timidity; boldness, without the Rites, becomes insubordination; straightforwardness, without the Rites, becomes rudeness" (Analects VIII, 2).
Ritual can be seen as a means to find the balance between opposing qualities that might otherwise lead to conflict.
Ritual divides people into categories and builds hierarchical relationships through protocols and ceremonies, assigning everyone a place in society and a form of behavior. Music that seems to have played a significant role in Confucius' life is given as an exception as it transcends such boundaries, 'unifying the hearts'.
Although the Analects promotes ritual heavily, Confucius himself often behaved otherwise; for example, when he cried at his preferred disciple's death, or when he met a fiendish princess (VI, 28). Later more rigid ritualisms who forgot that ritual is "more than presents of jade and silk" (XVII, 12) strayed from their master's position.
"To govern by virtue, let us compare it to the North Star: it stays in its place, while the myriad stars wait upon it." (Analects II, 1)
Another key Confucian concept is that in order to govern others one must first govern oneself. When developed sufficiently, the king's personal virtue spreads beneficent influence throughout the kingdom. This idea is developed further in the Great Learning and is tightly linked with the Taoist concept of wu wei (): the less the king does, the more that is done. By being the "calm centre" around which the kingdom turns, the king allows everything to function smoothly and avoids having to tamper with the individual parts of the whole.
This idea may be traced back to early shamanistic beliefs, such as that the king () being the axle between the sky, human beings and the Earth. The character itself shows the three levels of the universe, united by a single line. Another complementary view is that this idea may have been used by ministers and counsellors to deter aristocratic whims that would otherwise be to the detriment of the population.
"In teaching, there should be no distinction of classes." (Analects XV, 39)
Although Confucius claimed that he never invented anything but was only transmitting ancient knowledge (see Analects VII, 1), he did produce a number of new ideas. Many European and American admirers such as Voltaire and H. G. Creel point to the (then) revolutionary idea of replacing the nobility of blood with one of virtue. Jūnzǐ (君子), which had meant "noble man" before Confucius' work, slowly assumed a new connotation in the course of his writings, rather as "gentleman" did in English. A virtuous plebeian who cultivates his qualities can be a "gentleman", while a shameless son of the king is only a "small man". That he allowed students of different classes to be his disciples is a clear demonstration that he fought against the feudal structures in Chinese society.
Another new idea, that of meritocracy, led to the introduction of the Imperial examination system in China. This system allowed anyone who passed an examination to become a government officer, a position which would bring wealth and honor to the whole family. The Chinese examination system seems to have been started in 165 BCE, when certain candidates for public office were called to the Chinese capital for examination of their moral excellence by the emperor. Over the following centuries the system grew until finally almost anyone who wished to become an official had to prove his worth by passing written government examinations.
Confucius praised those kings who left their kingdoms to those apparently most qualified rather than to their elder sons. His achievement was the setting up of a school that produced statesmen with a strong sense of state and duty, known as 儒家 (). During the Warring States Period and the early Han dynasty, China grew greatly and the need for a solid and centralized corporation of government officers able to read and write administrative papers arose. As a result, Confucianism was promoted and the men it produced became an effective counter to the remaining landowner aristocrats otherwise threatening the unity of the state.
Since then Confucianism has been used as a kind of "state religion", with authoritarianism, legitimism, paternalism, and submission to authority used as political tools to rule China. Most emperors used a mix of legalism and Confucianism as their ruling doctrine, often with the latter embellishing the former.
Themes in Confucian thoughtA simple way to appreciate Confucian thought is to consider it as being based on varying levels of honesty. In practice, the elements of Confucianism accumulated over time and matured into the following forms:
RitualIn Confucianism the term "ritual" was soon extended to include secular ceremonial behavior before being used to refer to the propriety or politeness which colors everyday life. Rituals were codified and treated as a comprehensive system of norms. Confucius himself tried to revive the etiquette of earlier dynasties. After his death, people regarded him as a great authority on ritual behaviors.
It is important to note that "ritual" has a different meaning in the context of Confucianism, especially today, from its context in many religions. In Confucianism, the acts that people tend to carry out in every day life are considered ritual. Rituals are not necessarily regimented or arbitrary practices, but the routines that people often undergo knowingly or unknowingly through out their lives. Shaping the rituals in a way that leads to a content and healthy society, and to content and healthy people, is one purpose of Confucian philosophy.
RelationshipsOne theme central to Confucianism is that of relationships, and the differing duties arising from the different status one held in relation to others. Individuals are held to simultaneously stand in different degrees of relationship with different people, namely, as a junior in relation to their parents and elders, and as a senior in relation to their younger siblings, students, and others. While juniors are considered in Confucianism to owe strong duties of reverence and service to their seniors, seniors also have duties of benevolence and concern toward juniors. This theme consistently manifests itself in many aspects of East Asian cultures even to this day, with extensive filial duties on the part of children toward parents and elders, and great concern of parents toward their children.
Social harmony -- the great goal of Confucianism -- thus results partly from every individual knowing his or her place in the social order and playing his or her part well. When Duke Jing of Qi asked about government, by which he meant proper administration so as to bring social harmony, Confucius replied,
"There is government, when the prince is prince, and the minister is minister; when the father is father, and the son is son." (Analects XII, 11, tr. Legge).
Filial piety"Filial piety" () is considered among the greatest of virtues and must be shown towards both the living and the dead (ancestors). The term "filial", meaning "of a child", denotes the respect that a child, originally a son, should show to his parents. This relationship was extended by analogy to a series of five relationships ():
- Sovereign to subject
- Parent to child
- Husband to wife
- Elder to younger sibling
- Friend to friend (The members of this relationship are equal to one another)
Specific duties were prescribed to each of the participants in these sets of relationships. Such duties were also extended to the dead, where the living stood as sons to their deceased family. This led to the veneration of ancestors.
In time filial piety was also built into the Chinese legal system: a criminal would be punished more harshly if the culprit had committed the crime against a parent, while fathers often exercised enormous power over their children. Much the same was true of other unequal relationships.
The main source of our knowledge of the importance of filial piety is The Book of Filial Piety, a work attributed to Confucius and his son but almost certainly written in the third century BCE. Filial piety has continued to play a central role in Confucian thinking to the present day.
LoyaltyLoyalty () is the equivalent of filial piety on a different plane. It was particularly relevant for the social class, to which most of Confucius' students belonged, because the only way for an ambitious young scholar to make his way in the Confucian Chinese world was to enter a ruler's civil service. Like filial piety, however, loyalty was often subverted by the autocratic regimes of China. Confucius had advocated a sensitivity to the realpolitik of the class relations that existed in his time; he did not propose that "might makes right", but that a superior who had received the "Mandate of Heaven" (see below) should be obeyed because of his moral rectitude.
In later ages, however, emphasis was placed more on the obligations of the ruled to the ruler, and less on the ruler's obligations to the ruled.
Loyalty was also an extension of one's duties to friends, family, and spouse. Loyalty to one's leader came first, then to one's family, then to one's spouse, and lastly to one's friends. Loyalty was considered one of the greater human virtues.
HumanityConfucius was concerned with people's individual development, which he maintained took place within the context of human relationships. Ritual and filial piety are the ways in which one should act towards others from an underlying attitude of humaneness. Confucius' concept of humaneness () is probably best expressed in the Confucian version of the (Ethic of reciprocity) Golden Rule: "What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others;".
Rén also has a political dimension. If the ruler lacks rén, Confucianism holds, it will be difficult if not impossible for his subjects to behave humanely. Rén is the basis of Confucian political theory: it presupposes an autocratic ruler, exhorted to refrain from acting inhumanely towards his subjects. An inhumane ruler runs the risk of losing the "Mandate of Heaven", the right to rule. Such a mandateless ruler need not be obeyed. But a ruler who reigns humanely and takes care of the people is to be obeyed strictly, for the benevolence of his dominion shows that he has been mandated by heaven. Confucius himself had little to say on the will of the people, but his leading follower Mencius did state on one occasion that the people's opinion on certain weighty matters should be polled.
The gentlemanThe term "Jūnzǐ" () is crucial to classical Confucianism. The ideal of a "gentleman" or "perfect man" is that for which Confucianism exhorts all people to strive. A succinct description of the "perfect man" is one who "combines the qualities of saint, scholar, and gentleman" (CE). In modern times the masculine translation in English is also traditional and is still frequently used. A hereditary elitism was bound up with the concept, and gentlemen were expected to act as moral guides to the rest of society.
They were to:
- cultivate themselves morally;
- show filial piety and loyalty where these are due;
- cultivate humanity, or benevolence.
The great exemplar of the perfect gentleman is Confucius himself. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of his life was that he was never awarded the high official position which he desired, from which he wished to demonstrate the general well-being that would ensue if humane persons ruled and administered the state.
The opposite of the Jūnzǐ was the Xiǎorén (). The character 小 in this context means petty in mind and heart, narrowly self-interested, greedy, superficial, or materialistic.
Promotion of corruptionLike some other political philosophies, Confucianism is reluctant to employ laws. In a society where relationships are considered more important than the laws themselves, if no other power forces government officers to take the common interest into consideration, corruption and nepotism may arise. As government officers' salary was often far lower than the minimum required to raise a family, Chinese society was frequently affected by those problems. Even if some means to control and reduce corruption and nepotism have been successfully used in China, Confucianism is criticized for not providing such a means itself.
''Another new idea, that of meritocracy, led to the introduction of the Imperial examination system in China. This system allowed anyone who passed an examination to become a government officer, a position which would bring wealth and honor to the whole family.''
Was there a Confucianism?One of the many problems in discussing the history of Confucianism is the question of what Confucianism is. Confucianism can be understood roughly as "the stream of individuals, claiming Master Kong to be the Greatest Master". It also represents "the social group following moral, political, and philosophical doctrine of what was considered, at a given time, as the orthodox understanding of Confucius". In this definition, this "group" can be identified during specific dynastic periods when self-declared Confucians debated with others supporting different doctrines, such as during the Han and Tang dynasties. During periods of Confucian hegemony, such as the Song, Ming and Qing dynasties, it can be identified roughly with the social class of government officials.
However, the reality of these groupings is questioned by some. In his book, Manufacturing Confucianism, Lionel Jensen claims that our modern image of Confucius and Confucianism, which is that of a wise symbol of learning and a state-sponsored quasi-religion, did not exist in China from time immemorial, but was manufactured by European Jesuits, as a "translation" of the ancient indigenous traditions, known as "Ru Jia", in order to portray Chinese society to Europeans. The notion of Confucianism was then borrowed back by the Chinese, who used it for their own purposes.
Therefore, we could define Confucianism as "any system of thinking that has, at its foundations, the works that are regarded as the 'Confucian classics', which was the corpus used in the Imperial examination system". Even this definition runs into problems because this corpus was subject to changes and additions. Neo-Confucianism, for instance, valorized the Great Learning and the Zhong Yong in this corpus, because their themes are close to those of Taoism and Buddhism.
Is Confucianism a "religion?"Most religions can be defined as having a set God or group of gods, an organized priesthood, a belief in a life after death, and organized traditions, thus it is debatable whether Confucianism should be called a true "religion". While it prescribes a great deal of ritual, little of it could be construed as worship or meditation in a formal sense. However, Tian is sacred to many Confucians. Confucius occasionally made statements about the existence of other-worldly beings that sound distinctly agnostic and humanistic to European and American ears. Thus, Confucianism is often considered a secular ethical tradition and not a "religion." It is best described as a philosophy with special rituals and beliefs.
Its effect on Chinese and other East Asian societies and cultures has been immense and parallels the effects of religious movements, seen in other cultures. Those who follow the teachings of Confucius say that they are comforted by it. It includes a great deal of ritual and, in its Neo-Confucian formulation, gives a comprehensive explanation of the world, of human nature, etc. Moreover, religions in Chinese culture are not mutually exclusive entities — each tradition is free to find its specific niche, its field of specialization. One can practice religions such as Taoism, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Jainism, Islam, Shinto, Buddhism, or Zoroastrianism and still profess Confucian beliefs.
Although Confucianism may include ancestor worship, sacrifice to ancestral spirits and an abstract celestial deity, and the deification of ancient kings and even Confucius himself, all these features can be traced back to non-Confucian Chinese beliefs established long before Confucius and, in this respect, make it difficult to claim that such rituals make Confucianism a religion.
Generally speaking, Confucianism is not considered a religion by Chinese or other East Asian people. Part of this attitude may be explained by the stigma placed on many "religions" as being superstitious, illogical, or unable to deal with modernity. Many Buddhists state that Buddhism is not a religion, but a philosophy, and this is partially a reaction to negative popular views of religion. Similarly, Confucians maintain that Confucianism is not a religion, but rather a moral code or philosophic world view. Many "religions" practiced in East Asia such as Buddhism and Taoism can be considered as "not religions." There is a much more blurred line between religion and philosophy in non-Western thought. Most of the Western distinction is in fact a relatively recent phenomenon resulting from the Enlightenment period unique to Western Europe. Therefore, much of the confusion is primarily due to the conventional Western definition of religion centered around Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions. Most scholarly, comprehensive definitions of religion account for this cultural difference. Therefore, it could be said that while Confucianism is not a religion by Western standards (even according to Asian adherents), it is a religion in the East Asian sense of the word.
The question of whether Confucianism is a religion, or otherwise, is ultimately a definitional problem. If the definition used is worship of supernatural entities, the answer may be that Confucianism is not a religion. If, on the other hand, a religion is defined as (for example) a belief system that includes moral stances, guides for daily life, systematic views of humanity and its place in the universe, etc., then Confucianism most definitely qualifies. As with many such important concepts, the definition of religion is quite contentious. Herbert Fingarette's Confucius: The Secular as Sacred is a well-known treatment of this issue.
Names for ConfucianismSeveral names for Confucianism exist in Chinese.
- "School of the scholars" ()
- "Teaching of the scholars" ()
- "Study of the scholars" ()
- "Teaching of Confucius" ()
Three of these four use the Chinese character Rú, meaning "scholar". These names do not use the name "Confucius" at all, but instead center on the figure/ideal of the Confucian scholar. However, the suffixes of jiā, jiào, and xué carry different implications as to the nature of Confucianism itself.
Rújiā contains the character jiā, which literally means "house" or "family". In this context, it is more readily construed as meaning "school of thought", since it is also used to construct the names of philosophical schools contemporary to Confucianism: for example, the Chinese names for Legalism and Mohism end in jiā.
Rújiào and Kǒngjiào contain the Chinese character jiào, the noun "teach", used in such as terms as "education" or "educator". The term, however, is notably used to construct the names of religions in Chinese: the terms for Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Shintō and other religions in Chinese all end with jiào.
Rúxué contains xué, meaning literally "study". The term is parallel to "-ology" in English, being used to construct the names of academic fields: the Chinese names of fields such as physics, chemistry, biology, political science, economics, and sociology all end in xué.
- The Master said, "I have been the whole day without eating, and the whole night without sleeping — occupied with thinking. It was of no use. The better plan is to learn." (Analects XV. 30. tr. Legge)
- Zilu (an impetuous disciple of Confucius) asked how one should serve ghosts and spirits. The Master said, "Til you have learnt to serve men, how can you serve ghosts?" Zilu then ventured upon a question about the dead. The Master said, "Till you know about the living, how are you to know about the dead?" (Analects XI. 11. tr. Waley)
- "Show respect to the spirits and deities, then keep away from them." (Confucius is said to have refused to discuss the subject of magic, devils, hell, and Heaven).
- The Master said, "For a man to sacrifice to a spirit which does not belong to him is flattery." (Analects II. 24.)
- He [Confucius] hastened forward, with his arms like the wings of a bird.
- When he entered the palace gate, he seemed to bend his body, as if it were not sufficient to admit him.
- He ascended the reception hall, holding up his robe with both his hands, and his body bent; holding in his breath also, as if he dared not breathe.
- When he was carrying the scepter of his ruler, he seemed to bend his body, as if he were not able to bear its weight. He did not hold it higher than the position of the hands in making a bow, nor lower than their position in giving anything to another. His countenance seemed to change, and look apprehensive, and he dragged his feet along as if they were held by something to the ground.
- The superior man did not use a deep purple, or a puce color, in the ornaments of his dress.
- He did not eat meat which was not cut properly, nor what was served without its proper sauce.
- He did not partake of wine and dried meat bought in the market.
- When eating, he did not converse. When in bed, he did not speak.
Taoist addition within the Analects
- The Master said, "The Fang bird does not come; the river sends forth no map: it is all over with me! (Analects IX. 8.)
- Confucianism and Confucian texts
- The Analects of Confucius in Chinese with English translations of James Legge and D.C. Lau
- The Analects and Mencius in Chinese with English translations.
- Confucianism on Reddit
Articles and books
- Creel, Herrlee G. Confucius and the Chinese Way. Reprint. New York: Harper Torchbooks. (Originally published under the title Confucius -- the Man and the Myth.)
- Fingarette, Herbert. Confucius: The Secular as Sacred ISBN 1-57766-010-2.
- Ivanhoe, Philip J. Confucian Moral Self Cultivation. 2nd rev. ed., Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.
- Nivison, David S. The Ways of Confucianism. Chicago: Open Court Press.
- Max Weber, The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism
- Yao, Xinzhong. (2000) An Introduction to Confucianism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Twitchett, D., The Birth of the Chinese Meritocracy (China Society, London, 1974)
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Confucianism in Simple English: Confucianism
Confucianism in Slovak: Konfucianizmus
Confucianism in Slovenian: Konfucionizem
Confucianism in Serbian: Конфучијанизам
Confucianism in Finnish: Kungfutselaisuus
Confucianism in Swedish: Konfucianism
Confucianism in Tagalog: Confucianismo
Confucianism in Thai: ลัทธิขงจื๊อ
Confucianism in Vietnamese: Nho giáo
Confucianism in Turkish: Konfüçyüsçülük
Confucianism in Ukrainian: Конфуціанство
Confucianism in Contenese: 儒家學說
Confucianism in Samogitian: Konfocenėzmos
Confucianism in Chinese: 儒家