Essay about Confucius Was Raised During The Fall Of The Zhou Dynasty

Essay about Confucius Was Raised During The Fall Of The Zhou Dynasty

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Confucius was raised during the initial fall of the Zhou dynasty. This time period featured a decline of a harmonious unified state and rather China found itself divided into separate states that often waged war against each other. Confucius resented this type of governance and contributed it to the decay of ethical behavior within society. As a result, Confucius emerged as one of the leaders of philosophical thought surrounding the question of the future of the Zhou dynasty. Confucius greatly admired the rulers of the early Zhou dynasty and viewed their form of governance as superior to others. Sources of Chinese Tradition states, “It is clear that by the middle of the sixth century the Zhou dynasty, whose founders he [Confucius] honored, was in an advanced state of decline, having lost much of its real power and authority…warfare was endemic…Uncertainty surrounded the future of those states, and, in the eyes of many, shrouded the fate of civilization itself” (De Barry 42). Due to witnessing this deterioration of society, Confucius envisioned a society that returned to its traditional roots. He believed people should change as a whole rather than just those who govern them. Therefore, he placed an emphasis on one’s morality and propriety.
The grass roots of Confucianism derive much of their beliefs from past traditions and past dynasties. Confucius stated that a virtuous individual was one who respected and valued these traditions. At the epicenter of his philosophy is refinement and self-cultivation. This philosophy revolves around the concept of “ren” or “compassion for others.” He suggests that one should disconnect from society in efforts to return to harmony in nature. Practicing this virtue involves depreciating oneself. H...

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... and are passed down through example. Again, he also believed filial relationships could have the same effect. One could argue that Confucius viewed virtuous behavior set by filial relationships as more important than the ruler setting an example. The basic concept surrounding Confucianism is the concept of “ren,” “li,” and “xiao.” These pillars, according to Confucius, are most effectively passed down to younger generations through creating strong relationships with senior family members and government officials who have already acquired virtue.

Works Cited
De Bary, Wm. Theodore. Sources of Chinese Tradition. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Columbia UP, 1999. Print.
Riegel, Jeffrey, "Confucius", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL .

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