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Ethics in Asia: The Confucian Way of Life. Sessions 21 and 22. I. Introduction:. II. Confucius: A Brief Traditional History.

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Ethics in Asia:

The Confucian Way of Life

Sessions 21 and 22



II. Confucius:A Brief Traditional History

  • Confucius was born in China in approximately 551 B.C. to a formerly noble but poor family. His father died when he was three and his mother (who raised him) died when he was 23.


II. Confucius:A Brief Traditional History

  • Confucius was born in China in approximately 551 B.C. to a formerly noble but poor family. His father died when he was three and his mother (who raised him) died when he was 23.

  • He lived during a period where China was having many tribal conflicts and wars.


II. Confucius:A Brief Traditional History

  • He married, had two children, and became the Justice Minister of the Lu province before embarking on an itinerate teaching ministry.


II. Confucius:A Brief Traditional History

  • He married, had two children, and became the Justice Minister of the Lu province before embarking on an itinerate teaching ministry.

  • He founded the Ru school of Chinese thought and left a number of followers behind by the time of his death at age 72 or 73.


II. Confucius:A Brief Traditional History

  • Important Developments in Confucianism after Confucius:

    • Mencius (4th Century BC)


II. Confucius:A Brief Traditional History

  • Important Developments in Confucianism after Confucius:

    • Mencius (4th Century BC)

    • Xun-zi (3rd Century BC)


II. Confucius:A Brief Traditional History

  • Important Developments in Confucianism after Confucius:

    • The Key Difference between the Two: The Basic Nature of Human Beings

      • Mencius taught that human beings are intrinsically good. Thus, moral training was an encouragement of what was already found within us.


II. Confucius:A Brief Traditional History

  • Important Developments in Confucianism after Confucius:

    • The Key Difference between the Two: The Basic Nature of Human Beings

      • Mencius taught that human beings are intrinsically good. Thus, moral training was an encouragement of what was already found within us.

      • Xun-zi taught that human beings are basically evil and must be consciously trained to be good, especially through regular rituals, constant self-improvement, and the upholding of tradition.


II. Confucius:A Brief Traditional History

  • Important Developments in Confucianism after Confucius:

    • The Han dynasty, which began in 206 BC, was the first to mandate widespread education in the Confucian way of life.


II. Confucius:A Brief Traditional History

  • Important Developments in Confucianism after Confucius:

    • The Han dynasty, which began in 206 BC, was the first to mandate widespread education in the Confucian way of life.

    • Ban Zhao (45-114 AD)


II. Confucius:A Brief Traditional History

  • Important Developments in Confucianism after Confucius:

    • The Han dynasty, which began in 206 BC, was the first to mandate widespread education in the Confucian way of life.

    • Ban Zhao (45-114 AD)

    • Through time, Confucianism also spread to Japan, Korea, and Vietnam


III. Five Constant Virtues

  • Rén: “Humanness” or “Goodness” or “Selflessness” Involving:

    • Courtesy in Private Life


III. Five Constant Virtues

  • Rén: “Humanness” or “Goodness” or “Selflessness” Involving:

    • Courtesy in Private Life

    • Diligence in Public Life


III. Five Constant Virtues

  • Rén: “Humanness” or “Goodness” or “Selflessness” Involving:

    • Courtesy in Private Life

    • Diligence in Public Life

    • Loyalty in Relationships


III. Five Constant Virtues

  • Lĭ: “Ritual” or “Ceremony” or “Rites” or “Courtesy”

    • Rituals are not necessarily regimented or arbitrary practices. They are the everyday routines that people often engage in (consciously and/or unconsciously), throughout the normal course of their lives.


III. Five Constant Virtues

  • Lĭ: “Ritual” or “Ceremony” or “Rites” or “Courtesy”

    • Ritual helps people know their proper place in society, minimizing unnecessary conflict and promoting social harmony.


III. Five Constant Virtues

  • Lĭ: “Ritual” or “Ceremony” or “Rites” or “Courtesy”

    • Ritual helps people know their proper place in society, minimizing unnecessary conflict and promoting social harmony.

    • Ritual performed sincerely powerfully cultivates personal goodness.


III. Five Constant Virtues

  • Yì: “Righteousness”

    • Reciprocity (versus Self-interest) in Relationships


III. Five Constant Virtues

  • Yì: “Righteousness”

    • Reciprocity (versus Self-interest) in Relationships

    • Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reason


III. Five Constant Virtues

  • Zhi: “Knowledge” or “Wisdom”


III. Five Constant Virtues

  • Zhi: “Knowledge” or “Wisdom”

  • Xin: “Integrity” or “Faithfulness”


IV. Other Important Teachings

  • The Principle of Reciprocity in Interpersonal Relationships

    • The Golden Rule (Positive): “What one recognizes as desirable for oneself, one ought to be willing to grant to others.”


IV. Other Important Teachings

  • The Principle of Reciprocity in Interpersonal Relationships

    • The Golden Rule (Positive): “What one recognizes as desirable for oneself, one ought to be willing to grant to others.”

    • The Silver Rule (Negative): “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.


IV. Other Important Teachings

  • The Doctrine of the Golden Mean


IV. Other Important Teachings

  • The Doctrine of the Golden Mean

  • Central Values

    • Loyalty


IV. Other Important Teachings

  • The Doctrine of the Golden Mean

  • Central Values

    • Loyalty

    • Filial Piety


IV. Other Important Teachings

  • The Doctrine of the Golden Mean

  • Central Values

    • Loyalty

    • Filial Piety

    • Social Harmony


IV. Other Important Teachings

  • The Doctrine of the Golden Mean

  • Central Values

    • Loyalty

    • Filial Piety

    • Social Harmony

    • Humanistic Secularity


V. Educational andPolitical Ideals

  • Moral Excellence in Education

    • Because virtue is not natural, it must be intentionally and thoughtfully inculcated within the person and the society.


V. Educational andPolitical Ideals

  • Moral Excellence in Education

    • Because virtue is not natural, it must be intentionally and thoughtfully inculcated within the person and the society.

    • Education was never an end in itself but was always intended to result in the person becoming more virtuous, wise, and socially astute.


V. Educational andPolitical Ideals

  • Moral Excellence in Education

    • The goal is to not violate, but rather follow the way (tao) so that you can become a person of increasing goodness, propriety, wisdom, and integrity.


V. Educational andPolitical Ideals

  • Moral Excellence in Education

    • The goal is to not violate, but rather follow the way (tao) so that you can become a person of increasing goodness, propriety, wisdom, and integrity.

    • The means to accomplish this involves not only information, but also poetry, music, and great literature.


V. Educational andPolitical Ideals

  • Good Governance

    • The best government is one that rules through “rites” (lǐ) and appeals to people’s natural morality, rather than using debased means of persuasion like bribery and coercion.


V. Educational andPolitical Ideals

  • Good Governance

    • The best government is one that rules through “rites” (lǐ) and appeals to people’s natural morality, rather than using debased means of persuasion like bribery and coercion.

    • Earned Virtuous Leadership versus a Leadership of Lineage.


V. Educational andPolitical Ideals

  • Good Governance

    • Social Relationships, Appropriate Virtue, and the Concept of Shame


V. Educational andPolitical Ideals

  • Good Governance

    • Social Relationships, Appropriate Virtue, and the Concept of Shame

    • The ruler is called first to be good before expecting his subjects to be good


V. Educational andPolitical Ideals

  • Good Governance

    • Social Relationships, Appropriate Virtue, and the Concept of Shame

    • The ruler is called first to be good before expecting his subjects to be good

    • The great overarching goal is to experience peace and harmony in each and every social relationship


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The gentleman is first and foremost loyal and faithful, unafraid to correct character flaws and personal mistakes. Thus, the main concern for the gentleman is self-improvement.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The Nine Cares of a Gentleman

      • To See Clearly


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The Nine Cares of a Gentleman

      • To See Clearly

      • To Hear Distinctly


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The Nine Cares of a Gentleman

      • To See Clearly

      • To Hear Distinctly

      • To Be Kind


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The Nine Cares of a Gentleman

      • To See Clearly

      • To Hear Distinctly

      • To Be Kind

      • To Be Respectful


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The Nine Cares of a Gentleman

      • To See Clearly

      • To Hear Distinctly

      • To Be Kind

      • To Be Respectful

      • To Be Sincere


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The Nine Cares of a Gentleman

      • To See Clearly

      • To Hear Distinctly

      • To Be Kind

      • To Be Respectful

      • To Be Sincere

      • To Be Diligent


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The Nine Cares of a Gentleman

      • To Get Help When Necessary


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The Nine Cares of a Gentleman

      • To Get Help When Necessary

      • To Carefully Weigh the Consequences When Angry


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The Nine Cares of a Gentleman

      • To Get Help When Necessary

      • To Carefully Weigh the Consequences When Angry

      • To Consider if Some Course of Action Is Right or Not When Given an Opportunity for Personal Gain


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • A gentleman is a superior (versus an inferior—literally, “small”) person.

      • The superior person sets his heart on virtue, the inferior person on comfort.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • A gentleman is a superior (versus an inferior—literally, “small”) person.

      • The superior person sets his heart on virtue, the inferior person on comfort.

      • The superior person is thoughtfully unbiased, the inferior person shows favoritism.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • A gentleman is a superior (versus an inferior—literally, “small”) person.

      • The superior person sets his heart on virtue, the inferior person on comfort.

      • The superior person is thoughtfully unbiased, the inferior person shows favoritism.

      • The superior person calls attention to the good points in others; the inferior person points out their defects.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • A gentleman is a superior (versus an inferior—literally, “small”) person.

      • The superior person makes demands on himself, while the inferior person makes them on others.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • A gentleman is a superior (versus an inferior—literally, “small”) person.

      • The superior person makes demands on himself, while the inferior person makes them on others.

      • The superior person can influence those above them, but the inferior only those below them.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • A gentleman is a superior (versus an inferior—literally, “small”) person.

      • The superior person makes demands on himself, while the inferior person makes them on others.

      • The superior person can influence those above them, but the inferior only those below them.

      • The superior person is calm and at ease, while the inferior person frets and is ill at ease.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • A gentleman is a superior (versus an inferior—literally, “small”) person.

      • The superior person is dignified but not proud; the inferior person is proud but not dignified.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The gentleman thinks of the way (tao) and its progress, not how he is going to make a living.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The gentleman thinks of the way (tao) and its progress, not how he is going to make a living.

    • A gentleman considers justice essential, practices propriety, and is modest.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • Zhun-zi: The Confucian “Gentleman”

    • The gentleman thinks of the way (tao) and its progress, not how he is going to make a living.

    • A gentleman considers justice essential, practices propriety, and is modest.

    • A gentleman acts before he speaks and then speaks according to his action with integrity.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • The “Perfect Man” combines the qualities of a saint, scholar, and gentleman.


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • The “Perfect Man” combines the qualities of a saint, scholar, and gentleman.

  • The Five Bonds

    • Ruler to Ruled


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • The “Perfect Man” combines the qualities of a saint, scholar, and gentleman.

  • The Five Bonds

    • Ruler to Ruled

    • Father to Son


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • The “Perfect Man” combines the qualities of a saint, scholar, and gentleman.

  • The Five Bonds

    • Ruler to Ruled

    • Father to Son

    • Husband to Wife


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • The “Perfect Man” combines the qualities of a saint, scholar, and gentleman.

  • The Five Bonds

    • Ruler to Ruled

    • Father to Son

    • Husband to Wife

    • Elder Brother to Younger Brother


VI. Relational andSocial Ideals

  • The “Perfect Man” combines the qualities of a saint, scholar, and gentleman.

  • The Five Bonds

    • Friend to Friend


VII. Application Workshop: Assessing Confucianism in the Light of Christianity


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