Transformation of Li

Essay by ymm600College, UndergraduateA, June 2014

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Transformation of Li in the context of zong fa feng jian(宗法 封建) system of Zhou(周)

Feng jian(封建) was the fundamental system of Zhou(周) which is based on blood ties. By this system, the land of one country was divided and each part was ruled by people from the same lineage. This feng jian system was supported and sustained by zong fa(宗法) which refers to organizational regulations of tribes living in Zhou. Zong means the house of the eldest son in the family which refers to the lineage of the head family. According to such systems, social positions of the people living in Zhou were stratified and social positions of fathers were bequeathed to their children.

The most important reasons why these systems were possible to maintained were virtues like li (禮:certain norms and regulations regarding relationship between higher and lower officials), ren(仁:benevolence), yi(義 : regulation regarding relations between nobles) and xiao(孝 : filial piety).

Especially, li was used to refer to overall system, culture and idea of Zhou. These values are can be seen as they are all interrelated. Confucius thought that li refers to both yi and moral spirit and he also thought xiao is the first step of practicing ren. According to such norms, people were required to help people of their zu and accomplish their duty as rulers, officials or ministers. However, this idea of li and zong fa feng jian system could only be effective when the concept of blood ties were solid. Since the fundamental base of the system of Zhou was blood relationship, the virtue of the country became confused when changes in feudal system occurred.

As the blood relationships of each family became more complicated, the important of the blood relation decreased and the feudal system began...