An Inquiry into the Doctrinal System of Confucius from the Lun-yü

Contemporary Chinese Thought 8 (1):57-76 (1976)
Abstract
"Now we have heard that, as for those sages before Confucius, if it had not been for Confucius, there would have been no way for them to be known, and as for those sages after Confucius, if not for him, there would have been no one for them to emulate. He is called the one who transmitted Yao and Shun as if they were his own ancestors, who took as his model Wen and Wu, patterned himself after the hundred kings, and served as the pattern to be imitated for ten thousand generations." This is an important passage of an edict issued in the eleventh year of the Ta-te Emperor of the Yuan dynasty which bestowed upon Confucius the exclusive title of Fully Perfected Great Sage [ta-ch'eng chih-sheng]. Obviously, in terms of human attainment, Confucius was truly a great person of great learning, character, and usefulness. For two thousand years, his doctrines and his behavior as a man have had a great role and influence in China's cultural and material systems, scholarly thought, social morality, and even her order or disorder, prosperity or decay. If we were to remove his role and influence, then could two thousand years of China's history and culture have developed as it has, with a tradition still present? This is a good question. From this it is clear that Confucius' relationship to Chinese culture was most important
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