Category Archives: Confucius

Kong Forest

Kong Forest, Qufu
Kong Forest, Qufu

The Kong Forest provides a much richer and more evocative symbol of the enduring prestige of the Kong family than the Kong Mansion. In addition to the graves of Confucius, his son, and grandson, it is home to the tombs, burial mounds, and memorial tablets and arches of over 3,000 other members of the family in beautiful wooded grounds that cover over 200 hectares. Continue reading Kong Forest

Qufu Temple of Confucius: the shrine to the sage’s wife

Shrine honoring the wife of Confucius, Temple of Confucius, Qufu
Shrine honoring the wife of Confucius, Temple of Confucius, Qufu

Tucked away towards the rear of the Temple of Confucius in Qufu is the Living Palace, which is home to a shrine honoring Qiguan Shi (亓官氏), the wife of Confucius, as a paragon of traditional Chinese womanhood. Continue reading Qufu Temple of Confucius: the shrine to the sage’s wife

Qufu Temple of Confucius

Lingxing Gate, Temple of Confucius, Qufu
Lingxing Gate, Temple of Confucius, Qufu

More by accident than design, I was lucky enough to finish off my travels this year with a weekend trip to Qufu, the hometown of Confucius and the site of the oldest and largest temple dedicated to the sage. The early winter weather was absolutely wonderful with its clear blue skies and sunshine, and the lack of tourists gave me the opportunity to explore the complex and other sites in the area virtually undisturbed. Continue reading Qufu Temple of 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