Confucianism Essay

1599 words - 7 pages

Confucianism is a religion derived from Daoism by the great Chinese sage Confucius (551–478 B.C.E.). It began as philosophical and ethical thought and was conceived in a society undergoing social turmoil. Confucianism is a newer religion that came to be around the same time as Buddhism. Its values and morals have had an enormous impact on the culture of many countries in Eastern Asia. All of Confucius’ teachings are recorded in the Analects, one of the four main texts of Confucianism. China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are only a handful of the countries that have been influenced by Confucianism. Personally, I come from a culture who does not practice Confucianism. However, its ...view middle of the document...

The relationship between the young and the old was essential. The old must care for the young and teach them, for it is they the young who will go on to inherit the world. In turn, the young would respect the old and must be open to their teachings. This would create a society where all could be accounted for and that all must play their part for this to happen.
This idea is key in Confucius’ Five Great Relationships. The first is the relationship between parent and child. Like the young and old, parents must care for their children and their children in turn must take care of them when they are older. The second relationship is that between siblings. Older children must set an example for their younger siblings to aspire to and the younger siblings must respect and listen to their elder brothers and sisters. The third relationship is that between the husband and the wife. The husband must care for and protect his family, while the wife must be a good mother and take care of her family. The fourth relationship is the one between two friends. The two friends must help each other, and the more privileged of the two is responsible for the care of less fortunate friend. The final relationship is that between a ruler and his subjects. A strong ruler will treat his subjects as if they were his own children, and the subjects must respect a ruler like they would respect a parent. So all in all, a society must behave like a large family in order to function properly.
In addition to the Five Great Relationships, there are the Five Virtues of Confucianism. These virtues are meant to compliment the relationships. The first virtue is ren. It represents thoughtfulness and sympathy for others. The second virtue is li, which means represents proper human action. These first two virtues complement each other and are the main basis upon which Confucianism is formed. The third virtue is shu, which is similar to the age old saying “treat others how you want to be treated.” Xiao is the fourth virtue and stands for filial piety. People must respect all of their family and their ancestors. The fifth virtue is wen. It represents the importance of studying one’s own culture and appreciating the arts. Together, the Five Great Relationships and the Five Virtues are the foundation of Confucianism.
Ethics are extremely important in Confucianism. This religion existed as a discussion on ethics before it became a religion. The appeal of Confucianism is that nobody gets left behind and everything coexists in harmony together. In order to do this, we all must behave as a single family and care for each other equally. In this way, ren (or love for others) is probably the most essential aspect of Confucianism. The belief system of Confucianism is based on the idea that education will allow us to cultivate our virtues. By living with the Five Great Virtues in mind and understanding the Five Great Relationships, we can thus create a world of order that...

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