Book of Rites

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  • Chinese/Japanese: 礼記 (Lǐjì, Raiki)

The Book of Rites is one of the Confucian classics, covering topics of ritual and etiquette, and providing the basis (along with the Analects of Confucius and other key classics) for Confucian beliefs about proper behavior, correct action, and the idea that if all in society behaved correctly in accordance with and in fulfillment of their societal roles, then all of society would fall into a great cosmic balance and prosperity would result.

Edited versions of the Book of Rites are credited to Han dynasty scholars Dai De and his nephew Dai Sheng (both 1st c. BCE).

In the Neo-Confucianism pioneered by Song dynasty philosopher Zhu Xi in the 12th c. CE, several chapters excerpted from the Book of Rites came to be counted among the Four Books which formed the core of his Neo-Confucian philosophy.[1] The Book of Rites is also included among the Five Classics.[2]


  1. Valerie Hansen, The Open Empire, New York: W.W. Norton & Company (2000), 357.
  2. Arai Hakuseki, Joyce Ackroyd (trans.), Told Round a Brushwood Fire, University of Tokyo Press (1979), 282-283n65.