Merzliuk, D
Kitaêznavčì doslìdžennâ 2020, 2:153-159
Section: Translations of Chinese Literature
Language: Ukrainian

“The Great Learning” (“Daxue”, “大学”) is one of four classical texts included into “The Four Books” (“Sishu”, “四书”) of Confucianism. Among them this is the shortest text, only 1755 characters. “The Great Learning” originally was the 42th chapter of “The Book of Rites” (“Liji”, “礼记), later it was included in “Four Books” as separate text. “The Great Learning” was considered to be the part of “The Book of Rites” till the Song dynasty, but despite the fact it wasn’t considered as a separate text, many famous Confucian philosophers of Han and Tang dynasties, such as Dong Zhongshu, Zheng Xuan, Kong Yingda, Han Yu researched and commented on this text. The famous Chinese Confucian philosopher of the Song dynasty, Zhu Xi, considered the student of Confucius Zeng-zi to be the author of “The Great learning” / Zhu Xi was the one, who distinguished “The Great Learning” as well as “The Analects”, “The Mencius” and “The Doctrine of Mean” (“Zhongyong”) as the separate text and included it to “The Four Books”. The main ideas of the “Great Learning” consist of “three principles” (三纲领): learning of loving fairness, changing human values and striving for perfection; and “eight points”: learning nature of things, getting knowledge, honesty of thoughts, correcting desires, improvement of body, organizing the house, bringing order to the country and peace to the whole world. “The Great Learning” is an ethical and social-political text; its ideas summarize moral and ethic principles of the Confucianism. Moreover, it had a crucial influence on the further development of political and philosophic ideas in China. The concept of virtue “De” (德), which is a part of human nature, was the basis of the philosophic principles for “The Great Learning”. This morality should be displayed by the leaders of the country (as “benevolence” 仁) as well as by the civilians in the form of “righteousness” (义).

Keywords: Confucianism, Confucius, virtue, Zeng-zi, Zhu Xi, “The Four Books”

Full text (PDF)