Confucianism and Filial Piety in Chinese Culture Essay examples

2916 Words Mar 24th, 2011 12 Pages
Duc Hoang
Professor Sandra Lee
IQS 125
26 May 2008 Confucianism and Filial Piety in Chinese culture Western people might wonder why once upon a time in China, choosing a wife or husband for one’s life was not his or her decision but their parents’, or one must mourn for their deceased parents at least three years. The answer is about the definition of morality. Different conceptions of morality have guided different cultures in different directions regarding a central question of human existence: Does morality require filial piety (or filial obligation) of children toward their parents? Confucianism, which remains influential in Chinese culture, answers an emphatic "yes", while Western culture's response is ambiguous, to
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The concept may appear simple as parents loving their children, spouses and siblings getting along well, friends helping each other, children caring for their parents. Differently in the West, most social unrest is the result of the breakdown of family structure, violence caused by friends or spouses having a disagreement. The fourth basic principle of Confucian thought is Te, which has been translated to mean power. According to Confucius, only if a leader can set a moral example, can he be successfully followed by his subjects. The final principle of Confucian thought is Wen, which can be accurately described as the aesthetic and spiritual expressions which are necessary to sustain culture. In addition, Li refers Confucius' rules of propriety which has shape much of family values. In Confucianism, propriety is defined as the quality of being proper, of conforming to contemporary uses and customs. These rules practically extend to every aspect of ancient Chinese lives. There are expectations of proper conduct inherent not just in personal familial affairs but in their dealings with humanity as a whole. The same expectations that they have in their families are, in fact, present in practically all institutions and organizations. Li also mentions Confucius' conception of the "man of humanity" simply as an extension of his thoughts regarding propriety. The man of humanity varies in his behavior according to the
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