December 22, 2006 1:19am CST
1 response
• India
22 Dec 06
Confucius - Confucius...
One of the deepest teachings of Confucius, one of the hardest to understand from a Western point of view, may have been the superiority of exemplification over explicit rules of behavior. His ethics may be considered one of the greatest virtue ethics. This kind of "indirect" way to achieve a goal is used widely in his teachings by way of allusions, innuendo, and even tautology. This is why his teachings need to be examined and put into context for access by Westerners. A good example is found in this famous anecdote:When the stables were burnt down, on returning from court, Confucius said, "Was anyone hurt?" He did not ask about the horses. The anecdote is not long, but it is of paramount importance. In his time horses were perhaps 10 times more expensive than stablemen. By not asking about the horses, Confucius demonstrated his greatest priority: human beings. Thus, according to many Eastern and Western commentators, Confucius' teaching can be considered a Chinese variant of humanism. Perhaps his most famous teaching was the Golden Rule:Adept Kung asked: "Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?"The Master replied: "How about 'shu': never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?"Confucius' teachings were later turned into a very elaborate set of rules and practices by his numerous disciples and followers.