preview

The Relationship between Form and Substance in Confucian Thought

Decent Essays
Confucius is The Great Master of philosophy. He established new school based on principles of benevolence and named Confucianism. Confucius dedicated all his life to the teaching and sharing knowledge and ideas. He talked about fundamental elements of achieving harmony. Important concepts of his learning are li, ren, junzi and tao and observation of them make man fully literate. Rites or li allow men to develop goodness, understand the Way. Confucius says that the purpose of the rites is to give one place to stand, to provide solid ground like a body to fill out. Through the proper practice of li man extends himself into ren. And The Master is a leader, who step by step guides followers through the rites to the highest stair - Knowledge…show more content…
This situation is very controversial because he was very insistent on proper performance of the rites. Confucius wanted students to absorb teachings and follow established customs though he valued his students’ independence. Let us come back to our mutton, specifically, to form and substance. As I understood from The Analects, Confucius did not think that form and substance could be the same thing. He found it as an addition to each other, which did not exist separately. Of course, there are a lot interpretations of his statements because most of them was not so long that gave a chance to finish it at will. The Master said, “The gentleman is no vessel.” (The Analects bk II, c12) This is not complete phrase with only one right conception. He might considered that the gentleman is not empty vessel but complete formation or, even though, it could not have some forms or limits because the process of getting knowledge and benevolence has no boarders. We cannot say that form is more important than substance because existence of one without another is useless. The Master said, ‘If one learns from others but does not think, one will be bewildered. If, on the other hand, one thinks but does not learn from others, one will be in peril.’ (The Analects bk II, c15) Learning without understanding of things is waste of time, and, on the other hand, just thinking is
Get Access