It has developed over more than two millennia from the work attributed to the philosopher Kongfuzi, "Master K'ong"孔夫子(551-479 BC. AD), known in the West under the name of latinisé Confucius. After being confronted with competing schools of thought during the Period of Warring States Period and violently fought during the reign of Qin Shi Huang, founder of the first empire, it was imposed by the Emperor Wu of Han emperor (-156 ~ -87) as doctrine of State and remained until the founding of the Republic of China (1911). His influence on China as well as Japan, Korea and Vietnam is such that one can compare to those of Socrates and Jesus in the West. Nevertheless, Confucius is not the founder of a religion. He created with his disciples on the basis of the thought of his time, whose universisme, a ritual completed and a doctrine of both moral and social, capable of remedying according to him the spiritual decadence of China 's time. From the mid-ninth century have emerged different currents: néoconfucianisme (Lǐxué理学, Dàoxué道学, Xīnxué心学, Hànxué汉学), and finally the twentieth century the new Confucianism.

Before the empire
The relationship between Confucius and Confucianism itself is tenuous. Confucius is often regarded as a wise man and a renowned Chinese philosopher whose teachings have profoundly influenced East Asia for 20 centuries. Nevertheless, the ideas of Confucius were not accepted during his life and he often lamented the fact that there was no master to serve.

As with many other major historical figures (Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, Muhammad ...), there are no direct traces ideas of Confucius. Do we have reached up to that literary disciples bringing together the words and thoughts of their master. Regarding Confucius, the problem is compounded by the wave eradication discordant thoughts during the Qin Dynasty, more than two centuries after the death of Confucius. At best, the writings and thoughts of Confucius reached until we are therefore uncertain.

However, it is possible to sketch the ideas of Confucius through the fragments that remain. Confucius was a man of letters, which was concern about unrest time he was living. He went from place to place trying to spread his political ideas and influence the many kingdoms battling for dominance of China. The weakening of the Zhou Dynasty created a vacuum filled by many small states struggling for power. Deeply convinced he had a mission on Earth, Confucius tirelessly promoted the virtues of old illustrious former kings, such as the Duke of Zhou (周公). Confucius tried to obtain political power and founded a new dynasty, accepting an invitation from a rebel to "create a Zhou dynasty in the East". In this context we consider that his thoughts are primarily political. Nevertheless, although it is commonplace to say that Confucius was a "king without a crown", he never had the opportunity to apply his ideas, was expelled many times and finally returned to his native land to spend the last Part of his life to teach.

The Analects, the work closest to the source of his thoughts, recount discussions with his disciples. Because this book is a compilation of conversations, questions and answers or parts of the life of Confucius, there is not a description of a coherent system of thought. N'utilisant not deductive reasoning and the law of non-contradiction as many Western philosophers, it resorts to tautologies and analogies to explain his ideas. As a result, Western readers may think that his philosophy is confused and unclear, or that Confucius had no clear objective. But he also said "I'm looking for a unit to infiltrate everything".

If the first drafts of a true system have been carried out by followers or disciples of disciples, the first of them is Zi Si (子思), small-son of Confucius. During the period philosophically fertile Hundred Schools of Thoughts, many important figures of Confucianism as Mencius (孟子) and Xun Zi (荀子) (not to be confused with Sun Zi孙子) developed Confucianism and have expanded as that ethical and political doctrine. Both scholars of the fight against contemporary ideas and win the confidence of leaders using the argument and reasoning. Mencius especially Confucianism gave a much fuller explanation of human nature, what a good government ...

Some disciples of Xun Zi, as Han Fei Zi (韩非子), became examiners (法家) (a totalitarianism based on a very strict penal system, diametrically opposed to Confucianism, which is based on morality) and helped Qin Shi Huang to unify China under strict control human activities. Thus, the dream of Confucius in a peaceful and unified China was produced under a school of thought, legalism, which is diametrically opposed to its foundation based on the rites and virtue.

Official recognition
Confucianism survives its ban during the Qin dynasty, thanks to scholars who have memorized the texts and to rediscovered, the most notorious is the treasure of Classics found in the walls of the ancestral home of Confucius. The emperors of the Han Dynasty agree with the doctrine and support literate. Seeking probably break with the influence of clan huanglao (黄老) dominated by his grandmother the empress dowager Dou, finding useful policy Confucian doctrine, perhaps influenced by scholars such as Dong Zhongshu (董仲舒), Emperor Wu of Han (汉武帝) (-156 ~ -87), in fact, the philosophy of State official, without giving real power to the scholars who, disappointed, support the usurpation of Wang Mang (王莽) (-45 ~ 23). In any event, the study of Confucian Classics became the basis of recruitment examinations or certification officials, making Confucianism the core of Chinese education system - though the full regime mandarinaux contest begins that the seventh century under the Sui. Inculqué deeply into the thoughts of Chinese and their politicians, this philosophy becomes the mode of thought political mainstream, and will rarely threatened in this position until the arrival of Maoism in the twentieth century.

Evolution from Han
When the Confucian doctrine becomes official under the previous Han, it is already possible to distinguish different currents. Thereafter, two thousand years of ratings, renewals, interpretations and returns to the successive sources continue to complicate the picture. However, according to the philosophers of the twentieth century Xu Fuguan (徐复观) and Mou Zongsan (牟宗三), the different streams have always kept constant as the importance of social and ethical dimension in their thinking. Both experts believe that a Confucian does not make things with a detached attitude, but still concerned. It may propose to distinguish six periods in the history of Confucian course:

* Classic period of training until the Qin Dynasty (-221)
* Han Dynasty (-206 - 220): recovery of lost texts and writing reviews themselves become the subject of philosophical studies. While that's simple vectors of transmission of ancient texts, the literati of the time have left a strong impression.
* From the second to the eighth century: the emergence of xuanxue (玄学) attached to Taoism, but some authors (Wang Bi王弼eg.) See themselves as Confucian; development of a Chinese Buddhist philosophy, some of which are very common for a the court (Tiantai, Huayan ...).
* From the ninth century until the end of the Ming dynasty (mid-seventeenth century): the emergence of thinkers and currents influenced by Taoism and Buddhism, while often seeking them out - Han Yu (韩愈), Li Ao (李翱), Liu Zongyuan (柳宗元) (late Tang), néoconfucianisme Song in particular Cheng Hao (程颢), Cheng Yi (程颐) and Zhu Xi (朱熹), School the Spirit of Wang Yangming (王阳明) (end of the fifteenth century). The classical canon of Zhu Xi Yuan becomes under the referral program imperial examinations. The néoconfucianisme spread to Korea and Japan, where he acquired great importance (T'oelgye Yi, Yi Yulgok, Kaibara Ekken).
* Qing Dynasty, from the late seventeenth century: development of Hanxue (汉学), "Han studies," current which advocates a return to the original texts (ie their version restored under the dynasty Han), and its thinkers accuse the philosophers of previous centuries did not have enough removed from the original Confucianism.
* From the beginning of the twentieth century: development of new Confucianism under the impact of Western philosophy.

The Confucian morality
Confucius is convinced that reform of the community is only possible through one of the family and the individual. The men of antiquity, "he said," who wanted to organize the state, settled their family circle; those who wanted to settle their family circle, aimed first of all to develop their own personality and those who wanted to develop their own personality made first of all their noble heart, those who wanted to ennoble their heart made their first thought worthy of faith and those who wanted to make their thoughts reliable perfectionnaient first know ".

According to Confucius, virtue is an inner wealth that any man can acquire, given that human nature is neither good nor bad, so every man he can become a sage, or to behave like a fool. The Chinese artist Fang Lijun (born 1963) illustrates this world view comment when his paintings which represent hybrid oversized men, mostly razed, having lost their individuality, which we do not know if they laugh or cry "These men are like marbles rolling immediately and change direction when they meet any obstacle, or they are like marbles immobile who are beginning to run at the slightest inclination. The men are neither cruel nor good; their behavior still depends on the circumstances under which they operate. Confucius, in society, men divided into three groups. Men perfect (shèngrén圣人), or wise men, represent the model to be followed once it has reached the level of the highest perfection, as was the case, for example, emperors of ancient China . Then come the nobles, or men above (jūnzi君子). Finally men are the common people. The purpose of Confucian morality is the spiritual nobility: what is expected of a noble, a man superior, it is the li (礼).

This term refers to a very complex concept that can be defined as the harmony between man and the general order of the world in all aspects of life, from observing religious rites and family until the government rules of conduct of life in society.

The li, therefore, guide man in his duties as well against other men (respect, tolerance, forgiveness, loyalty, dedication, confidence, self-control) than to higher spiritual beings (worship the gods and ancestors).

The other main theme of this humanist philosophy, with the power authorising what the li, is the ren (仁humanity, goodness), if one wants to say is a caring man must show against his fellow, but according to a hierarchy of political ties and family very precise. The meeting is the perfect virtue, the mother of all other.

In addition, Confucius has given a very important role to the music, synonymous with order and harmony, and expression of noble sentiments and bred. The Confucian classical music, with its instruments still exists today in Asia, mainly in Korea.

"Temples of literature" and classical texts canonical
Since that time, where, under the Han (206 BC approx. AD, 220 AD. AD); Confucianism became a state ideology in China, each city was a center 'hotel had a temple dedicated to Confucius, where government officials were regularly organize ceremonies in his honour. The rooms in which Confucius and his disciples were venerated bore the name of wénmiào (文庙"temples of literature") in these buildings were simply a table in front of which the official in question was his ritual genuflections. These temples were often flanked by a library, where "officials of the literature" discussed the classical texts.

Confucianism is essentially based on a thorough study of a number of canonical books, including the Five Classics (Shi Jing "诗经" Shu Jing "书经," Li Ji "礼记," Chun Qiu "春秋" and Yi Jing "易经") and the Four Books (Lun Yu "论语" Da Xue "大学" Zhong Yong "中庸", and Mencius "孟子").

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