Ritual (禮/lǐ) is a flexible term that describes the loosely connected web of formal religious, political, and cultural ceremonies and unwritten rules of behavior that govern smooth interactions between people and ensure social stability. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on ritual
Confucius said: “A person who lacks goodness cannot endure adversity or enjoy happiness for long. A person who possesses goodness finds contentment in it; a wise person profits from it.”
How to keep going when you’re on the point of giving up because the odds are stacked against you? How to maintain your zest for life when all the bright and sparkling objects you’ve accumulated as a result of your success and wealth have lost their shine? In other words, how do you stay balanced when you’re being buffeted by powerful winds from all sides?
Filial devotion (孝/xiào) is one of the best known of the values taught by Confucius, not least because it was so heavily promoted by a succession of imperial dynasties starting with the Han who drew a direct link between obedience to parents and obedience to the ruler. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on filial devotion
Confucius never provides a single unified definition of what he means by goodness (仁/rén) – the supreme value that he believed everyone should work towards – in the Analects. Instead, he explores its many different facets throughout the text, either with simple statements or in response to questions from his followers and contemporaries. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on goodness
Although this may come as a surprise to people who have experienced or even just heard about the rigors of China’s so-called “Confucian” education system, Confucius himself believed that learning should involve much more than simply imbibing and regurgitating the ancient classics. Rather, it should be focused on the practical application of the timeless principles found in the texts to your daily life so that you can make a positive contribution to your family, your community, and ultimately the whole society you live in. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on learning
Leadership wasn’t a theoretical concept to Confucius. It was rather a set of qualities and behaviors that you as a leader (君子/jūnzǐ) should cultivate in order to guide your thoughts and actions. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on leadership qualities
Confucius said: “It’s beautiful to live in a neighborhood that’s filled with goodness. How can someone be wise if they choose to live in a place that lacks goodness?” (1)
Think carefully before choosing which organization to work for. While reputation, salary package, and future prospects are important, the key factor in your decision should be its culture. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: filled with goodness
Read this new English translation of the Analects of Confucius Book 3 to learn more about the teachings of China’s most famous philosopher. Its main themes include ritual, music, and leadership. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 3: New English Translation
Confucius said: “How can I bear to even contemplate someone who lacks tolerance when in high office, reverence when performing ritual, and grief when in mourning?”
How do you make the most of your day? Are you warm and friendly towards the people you work with or do you only talk with them about business? Are you fully “present” when you’re at meeting or are you distracted? Do you react calmly when things go wrong or do you explode in anger? Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: making the most of every moment
Confucius described Shao music as being perfectly beautiful and perfectly good and Wu music of as being perfectly beautiful but not perfectly good.
Is there a moral component to deciding whether someone or something has attained perfection? Confucius certainly thought so. That’s why he gives Shao music the edge over Wu music in this passage. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: considering the moral component