A Synopsis of the Ethics of Confucianism Essay

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A Synopsis of the Ethics of Confucianism In contrast to Western philosophy, Chinese thought views man as but a single, though vital part of the complexity of nature. The Chinese have aspired to attain harmony with nature as a source of spiritual satisfaction. Life is not a transitory phenomenon, but real, viewed and appreciated for its beauty and order. They, i.e. beauty and order, are esthetic entities and are to be cherished and savored in life. Man and nature are in a reciprocal relationship, thus affecting each other. Just as the forces of nature can bring bliss but also disaster, so can man upset the delicate balance by his misdeeds. Heaven (the supernatural world), Earth and man constitute a single and indivisible unity. No…show more content…
Tao! Its literal meaning is "a way," "a road," "the way of nature," "universal law." When integrated, the two (yang and yin) transcend their uniqueness or separateness and become the Universal. When resigning one's will, harmony, peace and enlightenment are found. Elaborated by a succession of scholars and sages, the way of Tao became Taoism. Confucianism is something of a derivative. As a matter of fact, Confucius insisted on close adherence to Tao. However, he was pragmatic and concerned with the existential problems of man, hence he deals less with generalities and more with the practical matters of daily and personal relationships. The essence of his system of relationships is fivefold, and fundamental to his social order: ruler and subject; father and son; husband and wife; older brother and younger brother; older friend and younger friend. The ideal of conduct, ordering all human relationships and resulting in an ideal social structure and harmony is: li. A famous Confucian maxim is: "Never do to others, what you would not like them to do to you." (Golden Rule ?) His disciples later on developed ten attitudes that are to govern the five relationships: love in father and filial piety in the son; gentility in the oldest brother and humility and respect in the younger; righteous behavior in the husband and obedience in the wife; humane consideration in elders and deference in juniors; benevolence in rulers and loyalty in subjects. Confucius did not claim

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