Meaning of SSU SHU in English

( (Chinese: Four Books), ) Pinyin Si Shu, four ancient Confucian texts that were used as official subject matter for civil service examinations in China from 1313 to 1905 and usually serve to introduce Chinese students to Confucian literature. Students later turn to the more extensive and, generally speaking, more difficult Wu Ching (Five Classics). The publication of these four texts as a unit in 1190 with commentaries by Chu Hsi, a great Neo-Confucian philosopher, helped to revitalize Confucianism in China. From 1415 onward knowledge of Chu's (and like-minded) commentaries was as indispensable to success in civil service examinations as the texts themselves. Even with its commentaries, the Ssu shu is a modest volume, the four parts of which have no consistent order. The first, /a>Ta hseh (q.v.), is a short ethico-political treatise linking humane government with the personal integrity of rulers. The second, /a>Chung yung (q.v.), is somewhat longer than Ta hseh and more abstract than the other three books. It speaks of such things as the Way of Heaven, motion, spiritual beings, and religious sacrifices. For each of these two books (both direct excerpts from Li chi, one of the Five Classics), Chu Hsi wrote an individual preface. The third book, /a>Lun y (q.v.), reputedly contains direct quotations from the ancient sage Confucius (551479 BC) as recorded by his disciples, especially Tseng-tzu (q.v.). It is considered the most reliable source of the Master's teachings. /a>Mencius (q.v.), the fourth and longest of the Ssu shu, contains the teachings of Mencius (371289 BC), the most revered of all Confucian scholars.

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