Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Confucius

By Akindman


Like most folks, Confucius Says has always taken in a humorist vein and today after some research, find that we missing the real significance of what Confucius Says really should be about.

Confucius' principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and, according to later interpreters, of husbands by their wives), and the family as a basis for an ideal government. He expressed the well-known principle, "Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself", one of the earlier versions of the Golden Rule.

Although Confucianism is often followed in a religious manner by the Chinese, arguments continue over whether it is a religion. Confucianism discusses elements of the afterlife and views concerning Heaven, but it is relatively unconcerned with some spiritual matters often considered essential to religious thought, such as the nature of the soul.

One of the deepest teachings of Confucius may have been the superiority of personal exemplification over explicit rules of behavior. His moral teachings emphasized self-cultivation, emulation of moral exemplars, and the attainment of skilled judgment rather than knowledge of rules, Confucius's ethics may be considered a type of virtue ethics. His teachings rarely rely on reasoned argument, and ethical ideals and methods are conveyed more indirectly, through allusions, innuendo, and even tautology. This is why his teachings need to be examined and put into proper context in order to be understood.

A good example is found in this famous anecdote: When the stables were burnt down, on returning from court, Confucius said, 'Was anyone hurt?' He did not ask about the horses.

The passage conveys the lesson that by not asking about the horses, Confucius demonstrated that a sage values human beings over property; readers of this lesson are led to reflect on whether their response would follow Confucius's, and to pursue ethical self-improvement if it would not. Confucius, an exemplar of human excellence, serves as the ultimate model, rather than a deity or a universally true set of abstract principles. For these reasons, according to many Eastern and Western commentators, Confucius's teaching may be considered a Chinese example of humanism.

One of his most famous teaching was the Golden Rule (in the positive form) and Silver Rule (in the negative form):

"What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others."

"Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?"

The Master replied: "How about 'shu' [reciprocity]: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?"

Confucius' political thought is based upon his ethical thought. He argues that the best government is one that rules through "rites" (lǐ) and people's natural morality, rather than by using bribery and coercion. He explained that this is one of the most important analects: "If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of the shame, and moreover will become good."

(Found this information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucius - excellent gathering of data and a good read for those who are interested.)


For the fans who are looking for the jokes ‘Confucius Says’ – please Google and you’ll find about six millions hits.  Enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. Hi sir,
    I really like your blog focus and the topics you wrote about. I would like to ask if you would be interested in visiting my website since I am working on a pioneer Confucian ethics project at this time. Thanks! My blog is: http://confucianethicsinstockton.blogspot.com/

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  2. Thank you CC. You might find the Native American 10 Commandments helpful as well. From an earlier post on our blog.

    THE TEN NATIVE AMERICAN COMMANDMENTS
    1. Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect.
    2. Remain close to the Great Spirit, in all that you do.
    3. Show great respect for your fellow beings.
    (Especially Respect yourself)
    4. Work together for the benefit of all Mankind.
    5. Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.
    6. Do what you know to be right.
    (But be careful not to fall into self-righteousness)
    7. Look after the well being of mind and body.
    8. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
    9. Be truthful and honest at all times.
    (Especially be truthful and honest with your self)
    10. Take full responsibility for your actions

    ReplyDelete