CONFUCIANISM AND THE CHINESE SOCIETY
WHAT I DO NOT WISH OTHERS TO DO TO ME , THAT ALSO I WISH NOT TO DO TO THEM .
The above mentioned stanza is that of CONFUCIUS , a great CHINESE Thinker , Philosopher and Politician . He was born on September-28 , 551 BC in the CHINESE province of LU and die on April-11 , 479 BC at his native place LU . He was almost contemporary to the INDIAN Saint and Philosopher LORD BUDDHA . His original name was KONG QUI . The name CONFUCIUS was the Latinized version of his CHINESE name KONG FUZI and was given by the JESUIT MISSIONARIES TO CHIINA in the late 16th century . His father , KONG HE was an elderly commandant of the local LU garrison who died when CONFUCIUS was of only three years old . Now it was the liability of his mother YAN ZHENGZAI to raise him which she did . She died when CONFUCIUS was only 23 years old and he became so socked that he mourned for his mother death completely for three years . And later he propounded a theory that the death of ancestors should be mourned for three years . He was married at the age of 19 with QUIGUAN SHI and after one year the couple had a son whose name was KONG LI . Later they had two daughters also , one of them died in the early age while the name of his second daughter was KONG JIAO . He studied at the school of the commoners where he learnt Six Arts : 1. RITES ; 2. MUSIC ; 3. ARCHERY ; 4. CHARIOTRY ; 5. CALLIGRAPHY ; and 6. MATHEMATICS .
The most important writings of CONFUCIUS was called Five Classics which had a sizable impact on the CHINESE society at large . Out of five , the first four were said to have been compiled by CONFUCIUS from the CHINESE traditions , while the fifth one was his own work . These Five Classics were as follows : 1. THE BOOK OF CHANGES ; 2. THE BOOK OF HISTORY ; 3. THE BOOK OF POETRY ; 4. THE BOOK OF RITES ; and 5. THE SPRING AND AUTUMN ANNALS . The Five Classics were later added with the ANALECTS OF CONFUCIUS by his followers and MENCIUS, a later CHINESE Philosopher . It is said that he , in his childhood , set up sacrificial vessels to intimate ceremonial gestures . The history shows that CONFUCIUS was from the impoverished aristocratic family , so he had to work for a time as store-keeper . He had little money and his earlier struggles gave him a sympathy with common people that affected his teaching to a considerable extent . He made a serious study of tradition and ritual , politics and policies , thoughts and philosophy , though till his times the reputed ancient CHINESE CLASSICS were not yet written . After that he dedicated his time for teaching and he gathered around 3000 disciples . His disciples were quite devoted to him . CONFUCIUS spent about thirteen years wandering to small states of CHINA with a small group of faithful disciples who supposedly recorded some of his sermons in black and white to a considerable extent .
As per ancient CHINESE Inscriptions , he was appointed as a Magistrate and Minister of Crime after his age crossing 50 years . And he was so successful in enhancing public honesty that even the lost substance were not even picked up from streets of LU as such . He also reinstituted ‘the good old ceremonies for the remembrance and worship of the dead’ . The teachings of CONFUCIUS was not religious or philosophical but social . He gave emphasis on virtue , propriety and ritual . His phrase , ‘ Only the virtuous are competent to love or hate men ‘, got currency the world over after his death . He like SOCRATES was, of the opinion, that only virtue could keep society intact from disintegration as such . So , he used to say , ‘He who heard the truth in the morning might die content in the evening .’ His ANALECTS were full of wisdom but revolutionary in character as he held that Minister should be chosen by their ability and virtue and not on the basis of their noble birth . He also emphasized on moral excellence and goodness that could give the neighbourhood its beauty . CONFUCIUS felt the importance of ‘ finial piety for the stability of the society .’ As I have written in my blog above that he preached that the children should spend three years in morning for their departed parents . And he revived the ritual of ‘worship of the dead ‘. He was of the firm belief that the duty of the parents was to give birth to their children and , in turn , children’s duty was to ensure burial of his father and mother after their death so that they would be happy in the next life and would not create trouble for the surviving family as a ghost . To CONFUCIUS , the dead person was believed to go down to the YELLOW SPRINGS like the GREEK STYX , and his son was supposed to go to a stream to offer wine and money for the journey . We in INDIA also have faith and belief that the dead person has to cross a spiritual river called VAITARINI*to reach his last destination . So , tradition is to give as a gift like a strong she-calf to the priest at the time of the last rituals of the dead person , so that he could cross the said heavenly VAITARINI river catching the tail of that she-calf without any trouble as such . However , CONFUCIUS refrained himself from raising fundamental religious issues . And he took only childlike pleasure in religious rituals as such .
NOTE : THE SOURCES OF THE BLOG ARE TEXT BOOKS AND OTHER WRITTEN MATERIALS ON THE SUBJECT .
* VAITARINI , AS PER HINDU MYTHOLOGY, IS A HEAVENLY RIVER , THE DEAD PERSON IS SUPPOSED TO CROSS THAT RIVER TO REACH HIS DESTINATION AS SUCH .
TO BE CONTINUED ……..