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Indian and Chinese Philosophy

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Adrián Slavkovský

This textbook offers a brief overview of the main philosophical schools of the two most significant cultures in ancient Asia, from where these thoughts have spread widely – it concerns ancient India and China. Most important philosophical concepts of that region like holistic or ceremonial approach to reality, openness to transcendence, pluralism of opinions, behaviour leading by a sense of harmony are somehow complementary to our prevailing contemporary Western thought. Therefore they can be enriching and balancing for us and our culture.
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8. Confucius and Confucianists

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Keywords: tradition, study, humanity, rituality, human nature

8.1 Main Pillars of Confucius’ Teachings

One of the best-known and most influential Chinese philosophers is without question Confucius. The name is the Latin form of a Chinese name with a polite title: Kong Fuzi meaning Mister Kong. He lived in 551 – 479 B.C. and came from a small state, Lu, in the present-day Shandong province. He was a member of the middle class. He was concerned about political life; he became the Minister of Justice. When he was about fifty, he gave up his political career, because he did not want to make compromises. He was wandering through principalities and offered his services to the rulers. He was known as the one who seeks what he knows seems impossible and yet he did so. He spent the last years back in Lu teaching pupils.← 79 | 80 →

Confucius’s philosophy does not concern the transcendent basis of reality; it is socially and ethically oriented. He had a dual approach to the religious traditions of the past: on one hand he criticised some practices like divination, shamanism, belief in ghosts and exorcisms, but on the other hand, he was deeply devoted to Heaven. He does not refer to any religious revelation, but to the wisdom of previous generations and he asks in respect for the will of Heaven for the renewal of external state establishment, but also for internal structure of each man. It shall be done...

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