5 Sayings of Confucius That Still Resonate Today

5 Sayings of Confucius That Still Resonate Today AdvertiseMent By: Dave Roos  | Apr 6, 2021 The man we call Confucius was actually named Kong fuzi or “Master Kong” and the impact of his teachings on ethical and moral philosophy — in short, the best way to live and treat others — have echoed across the […]

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5 Sayings of Confucius That Still Resonate Today

By: Dave Roos
 | 

The man we call Confucius w actually named Kong fuzi or “Mter Kong” and the impact of his teachings on ethical and moral philosophy — in short, the best way to live and treat others — have echoed across the millennia.

Confucius w born in 551 B.C.E. to the concubine of a man of moderate social status in the kingm of Lu (now the Shanng Peninsula of China). Confucius’ father, an important aide in a more powerful house, died when Confucius w just 3 years old, leaving his family in poverty. The turmoil of Confucius’ personal life w mirrored in the political and cultural changes in Lu, where the age-old traditions and norms of the ruling cls were being torn wn by power-hungry warlords.

a young man, Confucius gained a reputation for his mtery of the traditional rituals and ceremonies sociated with the once-flourishing Zhou culture. He began tutoring aristocratic young men in the importance of li, the ritual institutions of the Zhou that included everything from religious rites and court ceremonies, to personal etiquette and ethical behavior. It w only through li that a man could become a junzi, a truly benevolent and capable person, or a “gentleman.”

Confucius became an adviser to the Duke of Lu, but the leader failed to live up to Confucius’ high ethical standards, so Confucius and his small clutch of disciples left Lu in of an incorruptible ruler. For 15 years, Confucius traveled from state to state counseling different leaders, each of whom proved a disappointment, but provided ample opportunities for Confucius to further hone his ethical worldview.

Confucius eventually returned to Lu, where he gathered more disciples and edited the clsics of Zhou culture, including texts on ritual, music, history and poetry that became the bedrock of later Confucianism. Soon after Confucius’ death in 479 B.C.E, his followers committed his most cherished sayings to print in a series of dialogues called the Analects.

We spoke with Mark Csikszentmihalyi and Bryan Van Norden, two scholars of Chinese philosophy, to better understand the depth and resonance of Confucius’ philosophy recorded in the Analects. Here are five famous quotes to think .

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Zigong [a disciple] ked, “Is there a single saying that one may put into practice all one’s life?” The Mter [Confucius] said, “That would be ‘reciprocity’: That which you not desire, not to others.”

Western readers will recognize Confucius’ statement a version of the “Golden Rule,” which Confucius expresses elsewhere in the Analects not to others what you would not wish ne to you.”

When ked to choose a single maxim by which to live one’s life, Confucius answered with the Chinese word Shu, which can be translated “reciprocity” but also “understanding,” “athy,” and “loving kindness.” But Csikszentmihalyi warns against reducing Confucian philosophy to a single rule.

“Confucius wn’t a rule-bed philosopher; he w a virtue and ethics philosopher like Aristotle,” says Csikszentmihalyi, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and author of “Readings in Han Chinese Thought.” “Aristotle talked magnanimity and bravery, while Confucius talks benevolence, righteousness, and ritual and filial piety. The idea is to develop these character traits and not consult a rule.”

For Confucians, Shu is the bic requirement for developing Ren, which means “benevolence,” “humaneness” or “goodness” — the hallmarks of a virtuous life. The Golden Rule, in this ce, is a way of approaching the world that opens ors to the other virtues.

“To be compsionate to someone, you have to see them similar to you,” says Csikszentmihalyi. “When you want to be cruel to another person or group, you call them animals, you demean them and say, ‘You’re not the same we are.’ You have to understand, though, that benevolence only applies in certain situations, while in other situations ritual propriety is called for. Instead of obeying rules, Confucians must continually k themselves, ‘What would Confucius ?'”

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Zilu [another disciple] ked serving ghosts and spirits. The Mter said, “You are not yet able to serve people — how could you be able to serve ghosts and spirits?”

“May I inquire death?”

“You not yet understand life — how could you possibly understand death?”

Most Western and Etern religions are deeply concerned with the fate of the soul after death, whether it’s rewarded with eternal bliss, punished with eternal damnation or reborn in countless incarnations. But Confucianism, says Van Norden, is decidedly earthbound.

“Many philosophical and religious thinkers view the ideal life transcending the physical body and its attachments, where Confucius advocates making the most of your life here on Earth with other people,” says Van Norden, a professor at both Vsar College and Wuhan University (), and the creator of a wildly popular TED-Ed video about Confucius. “I like the Confucian idea that we can pire to be better people than we are now, and that the goal is to have a life rich in healthy relationships with other people.”

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Full quote: “Guide them with policies and align them with punishments and the people will evade them and have no shame. Guide them with virtue and align them with li and the people will have a sense of shame and fulfill their roles.”

This sage piece of advice relates to the best way to rule a people. In an early psage, Confucius says that a person who rules by virtue is “like the North Star” which stays in one place while all other stars “pay reverence to it.” Here he re-hizes the value of leading by example through virtue and ritual propriety.

Csikszentmihalyi says that centuries after Confucius, a “legalist” mindset pervaded where the people were kept in line with harsh punishments in order to create what Chinese leaders thought w a well-ordered society.

“Confucius rejects that approach,” says Csikszentmihalyi. “If you lead the people with this charismatic ritual authority, then they’ll develop their own sense of ‘shame.’ You n’t want people obeying the rules because they’re afraid of being punished. What you really want is for individuals to develop their own moral compses.”

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When Confucius began teaching young noblemen in Lu, the clsic texts of the former Zhou culture were collecting dust on the shelves. Confucius believed that these texts held the secrets to bringing order back to the world. Two of the most important clsical Zhou subjects for Confucius were history and poetry.

“Confucius thought that history teaches us how we should and shouldn’t behave by studying the great sages and villains of the pt,” says Van Norden. “And he thought that poetry could help to train our emotions by teaching us what healthy and decadent forms of love are, and what real courage is.”

Confucius dedicated much of his later life to editing and organizing the Zhou clsics, which together with his own writings became the foundations of Confucianism. A central tenet of Confucianism is the importance of traditional ritual and etiquette, both of which help to shape our attitudes others.

“Confucius thought that we could have a more kind and human and respectful society if we revived social conventions how we address one another and how we show respect or deference for others,” says Van Norden. “Confucius would look at contorary society, in which there’s been a breakwn in mutual respect, and say that one way of reestablishing mutual respect is through reminding ourselves proper etiquette for talking to other people and addressing our differences.”

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Full Quote: “To eat coarse greens, drink water, and crook one’s for a pillow — joy also lies therein. Wealth and high rank obtained by unrighteous means are to me like the floating clouds.”

Csikszentmihalyi says that there’s a real suspicion of wealth that runs through the Analects well a strong anti- message in psages like this. Perhaps Confucius foresaw the rampant that plagues modern .

h shifted away from strict Communist ideology toward more liberal economic policies, it’s left a “spiritual” gap, says Van Norden, that Chinese leaders like Xi Jinping are trying to fill with Confucianism, a religion once violently opposed by Communists during the Cultural Revolution.

“I think Xi recognizes that many people have lost faith in Communism and now is Communist in name only,” says Van Norden. “Xi hopes that people will fill the spiritual void with Confucianism and this will promote both good behavior on the part of citizens while being consis with Chinese nationalism, because Confucianism is a native Chinese movement.”

HowStuffWorks earns a small affiliate commission when you purche through links on our site.

Confucius is far from the only sage to be quoted in fortune cookies. According to Jennifer 8 Lee, author of “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food,” fortune cookie writers ran out of ancient Chinese material in the 1960s and started pulling tidbits of wism from “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” popular song lyrics and even Yoda.

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5 Sayings of Confucius That Still Resonate Today


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Happiness is for those who plan well and pursue. A profound among us have been proven those who have true dream to live for likely REALIZED IT. It is just simply the person working toward the DREAM days and night until accomplishment. There is a phrase of efficiency a head of you. Steps and obstacles at first seem tremendous. However, just with some times those difficult steps and challenges are so easy performance for you. There are also plenty of tools including VISUALIZATIONS and helps are around you.

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5 Sayings of Confucius That Still Resonate Today Advertisement By: Dave Roos  | Apr 6, 2021 The man we call Confucius was actually named Kong fuzi or “Master Kong” and the impact of his teachings on ethical and moRAl philosophy — in short, the best way to live and treat others — have echoed across the […]

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How To Really REALIZE DREAMS COME TRUE?

Happiness is for those who plan well and pursue. A profound among us have been proven those who have true dream to live for likely REALIZED IT. It is just simply the person working toward the DREAM days and night until accomplishment. There is a phrase of efficiency a head of you. Steps and obstacles at first seem tremendous. However, just with some times those difficult steps and challenges are so easy performance for you. There are also plenty of tools including VISUALIZATIONS and helps are around you.

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COVID-19 – Effective Tips For You!

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HOW TO DEFEAT DEADLY CORONAVIRUS EVERY TIME?

The Greatest Virus Surviving 10 Steps Guide

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Please Order If See Anything You Need? Mutual Reciprocal & Have Great Days!

 

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