Monday, January 12, 2009

Confucius and Confucianism

Confucius (551-479 B.C.) sought to impose an integrated socio-ethical order in an attempt to secure the peace among warring states in China.

“There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute.”

Confucius thought the foundation of social order is to be based on the jen or “human-heartedness” of the chün tzu or “superior man.” The path to jen, the highest virtue, is reached through the practice of li, the principles of social order. The ruler is an ideal man or superior man, a chün tzu, who governs by jen.

Confucius’ ideas gained influence through successive generations of his students and were finally adopted during the Han dynasty six centuries later.

Several talented and influential disciples adopted Confucius’ philosophy during his time, but apparently Confucius, himself, never obtained the opportunity to apply his cultural changes
from high office.

“I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not understood:—The men of talents and virtue go beyond it, and the worthless do not come up to it.”

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