In his book, Yao provides a detailed analysis of Confucianism. The author claims that it is hardly possible to give an account of all schools within this philosophical, religious, political and social phenomenon. The author focuses on Confucianism considering it as a religious and philosophical tradition.1 Yao does not take into account the political perspective.
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He stresses that it is quite inappropriate to consider political perspective as it changed in accordance with development of the societies and it tended to become quite different from the original tradition.2 Thus, the author focuses on major principles of Confucianism.
Notably, one of the classical texts, The Analects, can be regarded as evidence for what Yao revealed in his book as the text also provides major values and virtues.3 The readings helped me to obtain certain understanding of what Confucianism is and what the major principles of the tradition are.
In this paper, I will focus on Yao’s view on Confucianism and its representation in the human society and I will also consider the role of Confucian in the creation of Yi Jing. As has been mentioned above, Yao focuses on religious and literary perspectives when considering Confucianism. The author notes that these perspectives are the closest to the original texts as they have not been influenced by trends that existed at different periods.4
The author is against political perspective as he stresses that people often interpreted the text to fit their political goals. Yao notes that there were two major periods in the history of Confucianism, i.e. creative and interpretative periods. The latter has been associated with lots of changes which were often due to political changes in the society.
The author also notes that interpretation of ancient texts was free from bias when it came to religion and literature. People tried to remain as close to the texts as possible. They needed to make people aware of Confucian principles to make people virtuous, not to make them loyal to certain political agendas.
Therefore, the author focuses on religious tradition and its major principles. The author considers the three core principles of Confucianism, i.e. heaven, earth and humans. It is necessary to note that Confucianism is based on principles of harmony and respect. According to this tradition, young people should respect older people and obey them5.
People should obey laws not to escape from punishment but to seek for harmony with the universe. Yi Jing, also referred to as The Book of Changes, can be regarded as an example of the history of Confucianism. The book includes two parts. The first part is regarded as a primary source which was written by several sages.6 Confucius played a very special role in the creation of this book as he is thought to write the other part of the book.
This book is also a representation of the history of Confucianism and Yao’s idea of the two periods. To sum up, it is possible to note that Yao considers Confucianism from religious and literary perspectives as he claims they are free from bias.
The author is against political perspective as it led to interpretations which were aimed to fit certain political agendas. It is also necessary to note that The Analects and Yi Jing can be regarded as certain evidence of Yao’s assumptions as the former reveals core principles of the tradition and the latter reveals the core values and represents the very nature and history of Confucianism.
“Confucian Analects.” Academic Brooklyn CUNY. Web.
Yao, Xinzhong. An Introduction to Confucianism. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
1. Xinzhong Yao, An Introduction to Confucianism (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 11.
2. Ibid., 7.
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3. “Confucian Analects,” Academic Brooklyn CUNY.
4. Xinzhong Yao, An Introduction to Confucianism (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 5.
5. “Confucian Analects,” Academic Brooklyn CUNY.
6. Xinzhong Yao, An Introduction to Confucianism (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 59.