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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 Confucius.docx

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Vincent Shen

Confucius Classical Confucianism: 3 Phases • First phase: Confucius, one of the ru, taught largest number of students (3000) • Second Phase: From Zisi to Mencius • Third Phase: Xunzi Confucianism or Rujia 儒家 • Confucianism, in the West, means literally the school of thought and practice that was founded by Confucius. In Chinese, it is called Rujia 儒家, a term first used by the Grand Historian Sima Qian 司馬遷 Ru 儒 • Those who served in Spring and Autumn as middle range officers working in the areas of education and public rites. Later, they lost their office and earned their living as teacher of rites and ritual coordinator. They taught the six arts: ritual, music, arching, driving, writing and calculating. Confucius (551-479BCE) • Kong Qiu 孔丘.“Confucius” is the Latinized name for Kong Fuzi 孔夫子(Master Kong). Born in the state of Lu in a noble family that fled from the state of Sung, he was orphaned at the age of three. Confucius’s early life was humble, while he made great effort to learn • a “ru” 儒 and founder of the Ru Jia 儒家, or School of Ru • Confucius organized his teaching materials into six parts: Book of Poetry, Book of Documents, Books of Rites, Book of Changes, Book of Music, Annals of Spring and Autumn, later named the “Six Classics.” (Now only Five, Book of Music lost) • His philosophy laid the philosophical foundation of li. • “In the Book of Poetry there are three hundred poems. But the essence of them can be covered in the phrase ‘have no depraved thoughts.” The Analects (Lunyu 論語) • Compiled conversations of Confucius with disciples and visitors recorded by his disciples and their followers. • “Zizhang asked about proper conduct. The Master replied, “Make good your words, and be earnest and respectful in your deeds, …” …Zizhang wrote the words down on his sash.” Confucius on himself • When I was young, I was in humble circumstances, and therefore I acquired much ability to do the simple thing of humble folk. • At fifteen my mind was set on learning. At thirty I took my stand; at forty I came to be free from perplexities; at fifty, I realized the Mandate of Heaven; at sixty, my ears are at ease with whatever I heard; at seventy, I could follow my heart’s desires without overstepping the boundaries.(2.4) Focus: Self and Many Others • The Master said, “To learn, and at due times to practice what one has learned, is that not also a pleasure? To have classmates/friends (peng 朋) come from afar, is it not also a joy? To go unrecognized, yet without being embittered, is that not also to be a junzi?” (Analects 1.1) • The Master said, “ A young man is to be filial within his family and respectful outside. He is to be earnest and faithful, overflowing in his love for people and intimate with who are humane. If after such practice he has strength to spare, he may use it in the study of culture.(1.6) Filial Piety: • a virtue of “being good to one’s parents” (善於父母為孝) or those who have raised one up, so as to maintain a loving and respectful relation to them. Reciprocity of love as internal reason of filial piety • Zaiwo: If for three years the junzi doesn’t perform the rites and music, these will fall into neglect. The old grain will have been exhausted; the new grain will have sprung up. A year is enough. • Confucius: If you feel at ease, then do it. But a junzi in mourning feels no pleasure in eating, music and dwelling…Only when a child is three years old does it leave its parents’ arms.” External: social function of filial piety • You Zi said, “Among those who are filial and fraternal, rare are those inclined to offend against their superiors. Among those who are yet disinclined to offend against their superiors, never will any be inclined to create disorder. A Junzi (superior man) works on the beginning/root. When the beginning/root is established, the Way is rising. Indeed, filial piety and brotherly love are the root or humaneness!” Confucius as Educator 1. Focus on world of living, not dead “You are not yet able to serve people, how could you be able to serve ghosts and spirits? You do not yet understand life, how could you possible understand death?” 2. Reviving the Past “I transmit rather than innovate. I trust in and love the ancient ways” 3. Family‐centric values—ideas of filial piety, uprightness, loyalty “Among my people, those whom we consider upright are different from this: fathers cov er up for their sons, and sons cover up for their fathers 4. Rituals and Ritual Propriety (li 禮)—sincerity of emotion “The child cannot leave the arms of its parents until it is three years old. This is why mourning for three years is universally observed throughout the world.” 5. Moral cultivation of virtue (de 德): sub‐qualities of benevolence (ren 仁), righteousness (yi 義), and wisdom (zhi 智) “If you learn without thinking about what you have learned, you will be lost. If you think without learning, however, you will hall into danger” Laying the Philosophical Foundation of li • One of Confucius’ essential contributions to Chinese philosophy and culture was to have laid the philosophical foundation to the li 禮, already existing before Confucius appeared on the historical scene of China. 1. Three Meanings of li • Etymologically, the word 禮 is composed of both 示 and 豊. 示 means the enlightening, or signs coming from Heaven, to reveal as good or bad omen. 豊 represented two wine cups used in the ritual ceremony, mostly religious. • In pre-Confucian China, Zhouli (周禮) has three basic aspects: first, as sacrificial ceremonies; second, as institutionalized social/political order; third, as codes of behavior. These were declining in Confucius’ time. Kongzi’s attitude to Zhouli • Confucius admired the rich meaning/content of Zhouli (System of li in the Zhou Dynasty): “Zhouli looked on and surpassed the precedent two dynasties. How rich in cultural meaning is it! I prefer to follow Zhou.”(3.14) • Confucius inquired about every detail of the rites when he entered the Temple of the Duke of Zhou. (3.15) • His task: to re-vitalize the ritual and social order of Zhouli by laying its philosophical foundation. Li needs foundation • Confucius tried to revitalize li by laying it’s transcendental foundation • Confucius said, “ It’s li they say. It’s li they say. Are gems and silk all that were meant by li? It’s yue they say. It’s yue they say. Are bell and drums all that were meant by music?”( Analects) • In a dialogue with Zi Xia, Confucius said, “In matters such as painting, the white color is added later.” Zi Xia’s response to it was, “Then, li comes later too.” (Analects) The Foundation: ren 仁 • Confucius traced li to ren, humanness or humanity, the self-aware interconnectedness with and responsiveness to many others. • Is ren (humanity) far away? As soon as I want it, there it is right in me. (Analects) • Fan Chi asked about ren. Confucius answered,“ It is to love other humans.” • “A person of humanity, wishing to establish himself, also establish others; wishing to be prominent himself, also helps others to be prominent.” From ren 仁 to yi 義: • Confucius derives from ren the concept of yi, righteousness, the respect for and proper actions to others. “The superior person understands rightness; the inferior man profit.” (Analects) “The superior person regards righteousness as the substance; He practices it according to propriety. He brings it forth in modesty. And he carries it to conclusion with faithfulness.” • To act for non‐moral reasons is to act for “benefit, profit” (li 利): “The superior man comprehends yi; the small man comprehends li.” (Analects, 4) • While yi is the “oughtness” of a situation, ren is the essence for such behavior: “Humaneness consists in loving others.” (Analects, 12) • On our nature Confucius says: “Men are close to one another by nature. They diverge as a result of habituation.” (Analects, 17) • We are born with yi but it is our desires that lead us astray The superior person (junzi 君子) is concerned with virtue; the petty person is concerned with property. The superior person is concerned with sanctions; the petty person is concerned with personal favors.” • The superior person seeks the Dao and not a mere living...The superior person worries about the Dao and not about poverty.” • “If one wishes to establish one’s moral charac
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