Tag Archives: Confucius

Analects Book 4: Resources

Book 4 provides some interesting insights into Confucius’s thinking about goodness – an ambiguous concept that even he was unable (or perhaps unwilling) to clearly define. In addition to plenty of advice on learning and the practice of filial piety, the book also features for the first time in the Analects examples of the sage’s condemnation of the profit motive – which, according to some commentators at least, not held back China’s economic development for two thousand years but also made the nation ill-prepared to fight off the invasions of the Western imperialist powers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Continue reading Analects Book 4: Resources

Analects Book 4: on filial piety

FilialPiety

Filial piety didn’t require blind obedience to your parents – at least not the version of it that Confucius taught. In Chapter XVIII of Book 4, he says that you may “gently remonstrate” with your mother and father if you think that they are not conducting themselves in the right manner. He does go on to caution, however, that if they choose to ignore your advice, you should “remain respectful” and not let “your efforts turn to resentment.” In the final analysis, maintaining harmony within the family is more important than being right. Continue reading Analects Book 4: on filial piety

Analects Book 4: virtue never stands alone

Virtue

Confucius made regular use of the device of comparing the lofty values of a leader with the base instincts of a small-minded man. In Chapter XI of Book 4, for example, he comments that while the former “cherishes virtue” the latter only cares about the accumulation of material possessions. A leader thus focuses on improving himself in order to better contribute to the common good of society, while a small-minded man is only concerned on extracting as many benefits as possible from it. Continue reading Analects Book 4: virtue never stands alone

Analects Book 4: Overview

Book 4 of the Analects begins with an exploration of the meaning of goodness. Only people who practice it constantly in their daily lives without a desire for personal profit are able to enjoy true satisfaction and contentment. “Small-minded men” who only pursue it for personal gain will never be truly fulfilled and happy. Continue reading Analects Book 4: Overview

Analects Book 3: fighting for the rites

Rites

Confucius never defines exactly what he means by the rites in Book 3 of the Analects. Instead, he spends most of his energy on criticizing others, most notably members of the Three Families, for their violations of the unwritten rules governing important ritual ceremonies that had presumably existed since at least the beginnings of the Zhou dynasty in the early 11th century and probably even before that. Continue reading Analects Book 3: fighting for the rites