Confucian Texts

The Lun-yĆ¼ (Analects) are the most revered sacred scripture in the Confucian tradition. It was probably compiled by the second generation of Confucius' disciples. Based primarily on the Master's sayings, preserved in both oral and written transmissions, it captures the Confucian spirit in the same way that the Platonic dialogues embody Socratic teachings.

The Confucian Canon achieved its present form in the Sung dynasty under the direction of Chu Hsi (1130-1200). It consists of the Five Classics and the Four Books.

The Five Classics are:

  1. Shu Ching (Classic of History) - collection of documents and speeches dating from the Later Han Dynasty (23-220 CE)
  2. Shih Ching (Classic of Odes) - collection of 300 poems and songs from the early Chou Dynasty (1027-402 BC)
  3. I Ching (Classic of Changes) - collection of texts on divination based on a set of 64 hexagrams that reflect the relationship between Yin and Yang in nature and society
  4. Ch'un Ching (Spring and Autumn Annals) - extracts from the history of the state of Lu 722-484, said to be compiled by Confucius
  5. Li Ching (Classic of Rites) - consists of three books on the Li (Rites of Propriety)

The Four Books are:

  1. Lun Yu (Analects) of Confucius
  2. Chung Yung (Doctrine of the Mean)
  3. Ta Hsueh (Great Learning)
  4. Meng Tzu (Mencius)