Confucius Teachings

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Confucius is arguably the one of the greatest ancient philosophers, his teachings have shaped Chinese society and his values have extended to societies around the world. Perhaps his most well known teaching is his response to his disciple, Tzu-kung’s question, “Is there one word which can serve as the guiding principle for conduct throughout life?” Confucius’ response was, “It is the word altruism (shu). Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.” (Chan) To follow this principle and other Confucian teachings of moral uprightness and virtue is attain the position of a superior man. Superior man in Confucian ideology refers to someone who is benevolent (jen) and has achieved learning and exhibits filial piety and honors his ancestors.…show more content…
A main focus of his teachings was filial piety. Filial piety centers around the idea that in order for children to love their parents, their parents must first love them. This learning of love is what enables children to honor and care for their parents later in life. There is a circular process that must be observed. A disciple of Confucius, Yu tzu, said, “Few of those who are filial sons and respectful brothers will show disrespect to superiors, and there has never been a man who is not disrespectful to superiors and yet creates disorder. A superior man is devoted to the fundamentals (the root). When the root is firmly established, the moral law (Tao) will grow. Filial piety and brotherly respect are the root of humanity (jen).” (Chan) In this statement he addresses why filial piety is so central to Confucian ideology: without proper love and respect for one’s family and elders, it cannot be extended outward to those with no familial connection. Therefore, filial piety is the root that centers the path to moral…show more content…
Confucius was the first in Chinese history to propose the idea that “in education there should be no class distinction.” (Chan) He took students from all backgrounds because in learning is the way to becoming a superior man. While filial piety may set a knowledge of humanity, “one who loves humanity but not learning will be obscured by ignorance.” (Chan) Learning is proposed as a way to channel humanity in order to serve others. The Confucian focus on learning is always for the sake of others. (Kodera) This follows with what is considered Confucius’s golden
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