The Temple of Yan Hui may not be as large and grandiose as the Temple of Confucius, but it has a tranquil beauty that makes it well worth a visit. The temple is a fifteen-minute walk from the exit of the Kong Mansion. You can stop off there before heading on to the Kong Forest. Continue reading Temple of Yan Hui
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.
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
Profit was a dirty word for Confucius. He strongly opposed the pursuit of personal gain or advantage, arguing that it tempted people into wrongdoing and led to social instability. Continue reading Analects Book 4: on profit
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
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
Goodness is such an ambiguous concept that even Confucius shied away from attaching an exact meaning to it. He found it much easier to describe the benefits that the cultivation of a strong internal sense of goodness can bring to people rather than defining its precise features. Continue reading Analects Book 4: on goodness
Confucius can certainly never be accused of sugarcoating the difficulties that any would-be student would face if he chose to follow his path. He promises no seven-step plan to guaranteed success or shortcut to fortune and fame. Continue reading Analects Book 4: on learning