Main article: Great Learning
The Great Learning (traditional Chinese: 大學; pinyin: Dàxué) was originally one chapter in Li Ji (the Records of Rites). It consists of a short main text attributed to Confucius and nine commentary chapters by Zeng Zi, one of Confucius's disciples. Its importance is illustrated by Zeng Zi's foreword that this is the gateway of learning.
It is significant because it expresses many themes of Chinese philosophy and political thinking, and has therefore been extremely influential both in classical and modern Chinese thought.
Main article: Doctrine of the Mean
The Doctrine of the Mean (traditional Chinese: 中庸; pinyin: Zhōngyōng) was also one chapter in Li Ji. By tradition, the Doctrine of the Mean is attributed to Confucius' grandson Zisi.
Main article: Analects of Confucius
The Analects of Confucius (traditional Chinese: 論語; simplified Chinese: 论语; pinyin: Lúnyǔ) is a record of speeches by Confucius and his disciples, as well as the discussions they held.
Since Confucius's time, the Analects has heavily influenced the philosophy and moral values of China and later other East Asian countries as well. The imperial examination, started in the Jin Dynasty and eventually abolished with the founding of the Republic of China, emphasized Confucian studies and expected candidates to quote and apply the words of Confucius in their essays.
Main article: Mencius
The Mencius (Chinese: 孟子; pinyin: mèng zĭ) is a collections of conversations of the scholar Mencius with kings of his time. In contrast to the sayings of Confucius, which are short and self-contained, the Mencius consists of long dialogues with extensive prose.
These four books are both in English and in Chinese.
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