The main aspects of the early «classical» stage of the formation of the Confucian doctrine of traditional China


  • V. A. Lyzohub Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University , Ukraine



Confucianism, legism (fa jia), Lunyu, Tao, Where, Zi Xi, Zhong yun, Da Xue, hao xue (learning through veneration of antiquity), Meng tzu (Meng Ke), Mo tzu, Xun tzu (Xun Kuan ), fa (law), v chan (5 steel), ren (humanity), and (justice), li (benevolence), zhi (wisdom), xin (heart-mind, loyalty), liang (noble orientation), liang neng (traditional morality, well-being), liang xin (good thinking, perfection of the heart), jing xin (exhaustion of the heart-mind), da ren (great man), xiao ren (small man), shan (good; positive essence of a person), shi (w) (educated people, scribes)


The article is devoted to a comprehensive analysis of the main sources, works that developed and supplemented the main elements of Confucian doctrine that appeared during the lifetime of Confucius.

The main data on the life and work of thinkers who developed and supplemented the teachings of the Great Teacher of antiquity, the main options for translating and interpreting the names of treatises and basic terminology are outlined.

It outlines the main provisions and ideas of the treatise "Zhong Yun" written by Confucius 'direct students, which is of fundamental importance for the process of historical evolution of Confucian doctrine, and clarifies, details and deepens the theses of Confucius' main book "Lun Yu". Against the background of the basic traditional Chinese picture, one of the key principles of Confucianism is pointed out – the principle of the "golden mean", the critical importance of personal virtue of rulers, and the main approaches to determining the formula of human nature. It is determined that the subject of interest "Zhong Yun", broader than the basic treatise "Lun Yu" and denotes cosmogonic and moral properties of the spirit, more richly interprets the inner content of the fundamental category of humanity ("Ren") constructs an integral system of categories, the sources of which are in the depths of ancient Chinese mythology.

The main concepts and meanings of the work "Da Xue" ("great teaching") are established, one of the most fundamental traditional categories of which is the concept of "where" – personal "grace", "achievement, acquisition", and the uniqueness and special place of a person in the universe is the ability to follow "due justice". The quintessence of the DA Xue worldview system is the presumption of immanent virtue of human nature, which should radiate from those in power in the form of "humanity"; the basic thesis of the treatise is the attitude according to which the ruler who "does not show" virtue is deprived of his right to rule.

It is stated that the work named after the outstanding thinker of traditional China, Meng Tzu, was of fundamental importance for the long evolution of Confucianism. (Meng Ke), who not only expanded the leading principles of Confucius, but also improved the teachings of the great teacher by actualizing and considering new issues. This approach transformed the teachings of Kun Tzu into a harmonious construction of judgments, which later turned into the official government ideology and worldview system of the Great Chinese society, which has existed for thousands of years. It is to Meng Tzu that the orientation to consider human nature moral goes back, one of his most original ideas is the concept of the heart-mind, which is provided on the one hand by an innate, intuitive ability, moral instinct, and on the other by benevolence.

On the contrary, the approaches of another thinker, Sun Tzu, were completely antagonistic to Meng Tzu's ideas and proved the conclusion that human nature is evil. Sun Tzu's concept is located exactly on the border between Confucianism and legalism, but the Thinker (unlike the legists) believed that it was not punishments and rewards that should curb the evil nature of a person, but moral improvement and high literature, that is, culture. Sun Tzu was the first in Confucianism and proved the concept of an enlightened monarchy based on the principle of both traditional morality and the authority and power of the law.

Against the background of the study of significant monographic literature, conclusions are drawn about the almost instantaneous beginning of the complex deepening, improvement and development of teaching, already by the first students of Confucius. Confucianism was formed as a method of interpreting the ancient Chinese system of symbols and concepts, categories laid down in mythological form in an active, active spirit. The development of Confucian doctrine was due to the incorporation of elements of other teachings. Confucianism essentially developed through finding common ground with other Chinese doctrines.  The key idea that emerged in the development of Confucianism is the statement that everything in a person, including his inner world, is just a reflection of the natural world, and the restoration of perfect social institutions will not mechanically restore perfect order in the Middle Kingdom. The core of the DA Xue ideological system is the assumption of the inner virtue (de) of human nature, which must be shown by those in power. In the course of its long evolution, Confucian traditional thought put certain fundamental problems and categories on the agenda much earlier than European thinkers did, of course, at the ancient, traditional level synchronous with that distant century


Author Biography

V. A. Lyzohub , Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University

PhD in Law, Associate Professor, Associate Professor of Department of History of State and Law of Ukraine and Foreign Countries


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