It’s a relief to have some time over the Tomb Sweeping holiday to review progress on my Leadership Lessons from Confucius project. When you attempt to hit a cadence of one post per day, it can be easy to start missing the wood from the trees.
So far, I’ve completed all the content covering Book 1 and Book 2 of the Analects. You can find the links to all these pieces on the following two pages: Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: tomb-sweeping holiday update
Confucius attracted quite a following during his lifetime as a result of his reputation as a great teacher. It is traditionally believed that he had as many as three thousand students, though only seventy-two were said to have truly mastered his teachings. In Sima Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian (史記/shǐjì) Confucius himself is quoted as saying that he had seventy-seven “scholars of extraordinary ability” who were able to understand his “instructions.” Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: young pretenders and old companions
Here is a list of resources covering Book 1 of the Analects of Confucius. You can click on the links below to learn more about the main themes of the book, as well as some of the more obscure topics that are mentioned in it. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: resources
Confucius never promised a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for people who followed his way. He regarded it as everyone’s duty to cultivate their learning and behavior in line with his teachings. It probably never occurred to him to offer them any encouragement or incentives to help them along this lonely and difficult path. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on motivation
Judging by his limited comments on economics, Confucius was a proponent of low government spending and limited state intervention. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on economics
Throughout the Analects, Confucius repeatedly raises his concerns about people who fail to back up their promises with meaningful actions and behave in superficial ways designed to impress their peers with their morality and kindness rather than out of any genuine desire to follow the principles that they purportedly ascribe to. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on affectation
Reverence (恭/gōng) is one of the smaller stars in Confucius’s moral firmament, and can also be translated as “respectfulness”, “solemnity”, “gravity”, or simply “manners”.
Reverence entails working hard at your studies and career and acting in a humble and serious manner when interacting with other people and attending ritual ceremonies. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on reverence
The sort of love (愛/ài) Confucius refers to in the Analects is driven by duty rather than emotion. When he advises in Chapter 5 of Book 1 that a ruler should “love your people”, he is essentially saying that the ruler has a responsibility to make sure that his subjects do not lack the basic necessities of life: nothing more and nothing less. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on love
Rightness (義/yì) means having the moral disposition to instinctively or spontaneously do the right thing or act in the right way in any given situation. Alternative translations include “righteousness”, “propriety”, “morality”, “appropriateness”, and “what is right”. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on rightness
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