Spirits, gods, and death

季路問事鬼神。子曰:「未能事人,焉能事鬼?」「敢問死?」曰:「未知生,焉知死?」
Zilu asked how to serve the spirits and gods. Confucius said: “If you are not yet able to serve men, how can you serve the spirits?” Zilu said: “May I ask about death?” Confucius said: “If you don’t know life yet, how can you know death?”

First things first: Confucius is focused on the here-and-now – not the ever-after. As he so succinctly puts it: “If you don’t know life yet, how can you know death?”

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