Saturday, September 29, 2012

Confucius Say Day

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By Terry Orr

Confucius (551–479 BCE) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. His followers competed successfully with many other schools during the Hundred Schools of Thought era only to be suppressed in favor of the Legalists during the Qin Dynasty. Following the victory of Han over Chu after the collapse of Qin, Confucius's thoughts received official sanction and were further developed into a system known as Confucianism. (Wikipedia)
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Better known in China as “Master Kong” (Chinese: Kongzi), Confucius was a fifth-century BCE Chinese thinker whose influence upon East Asian intellectual and social history is immeasurable. As a culturally symbolic figure, he has been alternately idealized, deified, dismissed, vilified, and rehabilitated over the millennia by both Asian and non-Asian thinkers and regimes. Given his extraordinary impact on Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese thought, it is ironic that so little can be known about Confucius. (IEP)
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The Top 10 Wise Confucius Quotes:
  1. “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”
  2. “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”
  3. “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
  4. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” 
  5. “The Superior Man is aware of Righteousness, the inferior man is aware of advantage.”
  6. “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”
  7. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”
  8. “He who learns but does not think, is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”
  9. “He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.”
  10. “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?”

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In closing this article – it seems appropriate to include this paragraph from last year’s article in the mist of our upcoming elections.  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."

The tomb of Confucius in China.
Photo by Rolf Müller

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