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In Finland, this book has been topical, as Jyrki Kallio translated it into Finnish in 2014, published by Gaudeamus.  with explanations. Picture from Helsinki Book Fair 2015


A book of songs  (source: Wikimedia Commons)


These are the basic works of neo-Confucianism

1. Great doctrine

2. The doctrine of the middle ground


Confucius students compiled by Confucius and his students  discussions, master sayings and opinions.

4. Mengtsen's book

Mengtse aka Mencius was the most notable disciple of Confucius. However, the book was not written until after his death. The book contains his philosophy, the central idea of which was that all people could be brought up to act morally right, as long as they were directed to realize that they had an innate tendency to do so.


Today, scholars do not consider it probable that Confucius itself supplied all these five classics. It is more likely that he knew the prototypes of these pre-existing works and used them in his own teaching.

1. A book of songs

305  Poems praised by the Zhou Dynasty. Folk songs had been collected from different parts of the kingdom  and the king knew what the people thought of his way of leading.

2. A book of history

Contains 17 centuries of Chinese history.


3. Book of Changes

A prediction book in which predictions are based on interpretations of 64 possible combinations of six complete or incomplete rows.

4. The Book of Rituals

Contains rules for rituals and ceremonies.

5. Spring and autumn

The surviving parts of the work deal with events that took place in the Lu State (the home state of Confucius) during the years 722-481 BC in different seasons.

EXTRACTS  CONFLICT  ABOUT THE WORK  DISCUSSIONS  (Translated from Chinese by Toivo Koskikallio WSOY 2002)

"Isn't studying and continuing to have fun?"

"Study as if you haven't achieved anything yet. Always be as if you're afraid of losing what you've learned."

"Isn't a person perfectly noble who doesn't get angry that people don't notice him?"

"Loyalty and trustworthiness come first in life."

"Let you have no friends who are not at least as good as you."

"If you have mistakes, then don't be ashamed to correct them."

"Studying without thinking is useless. Thinking without studying is dangerous."

"Let the ruler be precious in approaching the people, and the people will respect him. Let the ruler be an example in the respect of parents and in merciful love, so the people will be faithful to him.

"What to do in good ways with a person who is devoid of human love."

"What you don't want, don't do it to others."

"A noble man never quarrels. Can a quarrel be avoided in racing shooting too? There, too, he bows to his rival and politely gives way when he gets on the race stage. When he comes down, he offers a drinking cup to his opponent. He retains his nobility even in the race."

"A man of value does not side with anyone in the world and does not answer anyone. He only follows what is right."

"He who thinks in his actions only for his own benefit receives a great deal of anger."

"A noble man stays firm in distress, a small soul becomes violent in distress."

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