Welcome to the course studying the most important educator in Chinese history---Confucius and his Analects. This course studies 61 selected chapters from Analects--- the most important work of Confucius. Study of Confucianism is quintessential for understanding Chinese culture and Chinese society shaped by it through centuries. So don't miss the course.
In learning the course, print out the PDF of Analects text in the introduction chapter, and with it in hand, study the selected chapters in the following lectures (because there is no subtitle of the text in the video). For each lecture, I will explain word by word the meaning of the classical Chinese text, first in English, then in modern Chinese (Don't worry! modern Chinese is not so far from classical Chinese, it is very often simply that monosyllabic word in classical Chinese turn into bi-syllabic phrase in modern Chinese), and then I will explain to you the philosophical implication of these texts, often comparing it with other schools of Chinese philosophies. Finally I will lead you to read the text twice so that you can recite and memorize them. Indeed, such canonical status has Confucianism arrived in shaping Chinese government, society and culture, and even people's daily behavior codes and talk, that the texts have almost proverbial memorability and quotability.
Confucius lived in the time of Spring and Autumn Period. Analects is the collection of his talk with various disciples. Under the succeeding of Han and Tang Dynasty, Confucian ideas gained widespread prominence. The works of Confucius were made the official imperial philosophy and required reading for civic service examination in 140 BC which was continued nearly unbroken until the end of 19th century. Civic service exam is the major channel of selecting scholar-officials through thousands of years in China. After brief suppression under Communist rule, Confucian study was resurrected nation-wide as well as world-wide. Thousands of Confucius Institutes were established all over the world as epitome of Chinese language and cultural study in contemporary world.
The central value in Confucianism are benevolence, righteousness and ritual. His moral teachings emphasized self-cultivation and emulation of moral exemplars rather than explicit rules. Ren is the virtue of is the virtue of perfectly fulfilling one's responsibility towards others, often translated as "benevolence" or "humanness." Once Confucius explains it as "克己复礼以为仁“ meaning restraining one's desire to follow the ritual. Also, ”己所不欲，勿施于人", meaning "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."
Yi can be translated as righteousness, suggesting a life based upon following a path designed to enhance the greater good. "见利思义，见危授命。” It means, when you see the profits, remember righteousness, when you encounter danger, do not be afraid of giving your life for noble cause.
Li is based on three important aspects: ceremonies associated with sacrifice to ancestors and deities of various types; social and political institutions; the etiquette of daily behavior. Confucius stressed the development of li through the actions of sage leaders in human history.
Confucius presents himself as a "transmitter who invented nothing". He puts the greatest emphasis on the importance of study. Because "人之初，性本善”， meaning human natures are innately good, but it is the later study and influence that make people different.
He also said: “At fifteen my heart was set on learning; at thirty I stood firm; at forty I had no more doubts; at fifty I knew the mandate of heaven; at sixty my ear was obedient; at seventy I could follow my heart's desire without transgressing the norm.”
Confucius's political thought is based upon his ethical thought. He argued that the best government is one that rules through rituals and people's natural morality, through education and the king's moral example, and not by coercion and order.
Confucianism is the most important Chinese philosophy that shaped Chinese government, society and culture, and the moral codes of scholar-officials and ordinary people through thousands of years, and is active even today in China and in the whole world . Its language is musical and concise, many expressions have become idioms and proverbs that people from all stratum of society frequently quote. Learning this course will lead you into the portal of Chinese culture as well as enhance your Chinese language in the canonical, idiommatical sense as well as make your Chinese language graceful and elegant, and allow you to communicate with Chinese culturally as much as linguistically.